BlackBerry Desperation Campaign Continues

RIM_I_Want_To_BelieveJust you wait, interim CEO and Executive Chairman John Chen is going to turn around BlackBerry just the way he turned around Sybase.

This according to Prem Watsa, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder and the latest company mouthpiece to sound off in a campaign to proclaim to the world its longevity in the face of what appears to be a fast dwindling lifespan.

In a Wednesday interview with Reuters, Watsa called Chen an outstanding leader, one who is certain to reinvigorate BlackBerry. With the $1 billion in financing that Watsa’s Fairfax Financial has provided it, the dilapidated smartphone pioneer’s turnaround is all but assured.

“[BlackBerry is] company that deserves to exist and with John Chen it will,” Watsa said. “It’s got lots of cash, it has a long runway for John to make sure that the company is successful.”

Watsa certainly sounds optimistic about BlackBerry’s chances under Chen. But remember, he was equally optimistic about Fairfax Financial’s chances of taking BlackBerry private in a deal worth about $4.7 billion. “We wouldn’t put our name to such a high-profile deal if we didn’t feel confident that at the end of the day that our due diligence would be fine and we’d be able to finance it,” he said back in September. But in the end Fairfax just couldn’t manage it.

Which brings us to where we are now, with the foundering BlackBerry desperately trying to stem the defections of big enterprise clients put off by its ill-starred attempt to sell itself, first with one open letter, then another, and now with Watsa out in the press talking up Chen and the “very significant changes” he’s already made in his one month at BlackBerry.

Coming as it does after a sad conga line of horrific announcements from BlackBerry — appalling financial results, massive layoffs and an abandoned bid to sell itself — it’s hard to read these proclamations of longevity and future success as anything but desperate attempts to stanch some very heavy bleeding.

Certainly, few seem to be taking BlackBerry or Watsa at their word on this matter.

“I think both BlackBerry and Mr. Watsa underestimated how much the company’s ‘For Sale’ sign would rattle IT managers and raise concerns about the future of the platform,” Wedge Partner analyst Brian Blair told AllThingsD. “Unfortunately, the damage will be hard to undo and reassurances from the top that BlackBerry isn’t going anywhere sound almost as hollow as Thorsten Heins enthusiastic exclamations about BlackBerry hardware earlier this year.”

Perhaps Chen really is a miracle worker and he’ll turn the company around. You just need to take “the long-term view,” like Watsa.

16 comments
nathanh16
nathanh16

The articles on this site about BlackBerry seem to be quite negative. What about a review of BBM or the Z30? BlackBerry marketing sucks, but at least they got someone in that realizes that and fired the CMO.

I still see a lot of BlackBerries in the wild and some are the new versions. I have seen Z10s and Q10s, but not yet any Z30s. That phone has some pretty good features, but I already have a Z10 and can wait to upgrade as it is doing the trick for now. The Z30 has a cellular antenna that is supposed to get signals in places other phones cannot, as well as reduce power usage in other places. Also NFC and I think wireless charging. Once you go BlackBerry...

johnestromjr
johnestromjr

Apple's iPhones passed NSA's tests for being "secure".  I don't think many of the Androids have.  It was Obama who insisted he wanted to keep his CrackBerry and not go to another device.   That said, James Clapper [Crapper] and his NSA/NRO spies can access ALL of them anyway - including CrackBerry - so don't think your calls are secure.  Your government is watching you......

ShawnBurk
ShawnBurk

Another site turning a positive BlackBerry Story into a negative. Shock shock. I'm mean really?  Watsa shows some confidence in his new CEO and you have to make a big eye catching headline out of it. Pathetic.  

jwarren2001
jwarren2001

This has just gotten embarrassing at this point.

johnestromjr
johnestromjr

Sell another to Barack Obama - he's sold on CrackBerry. 

dreyfus2
dreyfus2

Reminds me of...

"Fox Mulder: No government agency has jurisdiction over the chicken. The chicken is out there, Scully, and we will find it.

Dana Scully: There is a logical, scientific explanation for the chicken crossing the road. We need more evidence."

JoeJones1
JoeJones1

BlackBerry is] a company that deserves to exist and with John Chen it will,” Watsa said. “It’s got lots of cash, 

---------------------------------

Then why did it need an emergency 1b dollar loan just to survive?  

br14
br14

"But in the end Fairfax couldn’t finance it."

Fairfax could certainly have financed a buyout. He was persuaded it was not the best option. 

Watsa has billions of cash and no doubt plenty of banks willing to lend him more. He could easily have taken BlackBerry private, but evidently decided leveraging the company wasn't the best option for its long term survival.

This is all a matter of public record.

So exactly what is your agenda? 

broblk
broblk

As long as the CEO's are given million dollar bonuses when fired ( oh retired, sabbatical, etc)  where is the incentive to make the company better? ... they are in a win win situation .. so all they do is talk up business while the consumer ignores the product... 

Take all bonuses, retirement packages of all the executives  and give the dollars to the workers who are laid off due to incompetence when the company fails... otherwise it will continue on and on ...Rich executives laughing all the way to the bank... and laughing at the workers in the food lines across the street..


br14
br14

@johnestromjr On the contrary. I'm sure he'd rather have an iPhone.

He's just not allowed to have one because they're so insecure.

What do the White House know the rest of us don't?

ShawnBurk
ShawnBurk

@JoeJones1 who ever said they  needed it? Rumor has it,  Mr Chen said he wouldn't join if he didn't have the extra money for his long term plans. Doesn't sound like an emergency, but rather a request. 

sk8er_tor
sk8er_tor

@JoeJones1 It didn't "need" it. They already have about $3 billion in cash even before this deal. The extra cash allows Watsa to have more say in the company.

jwarren2001
jwarren2001

@br14 Good god...are you STILL shilling for this dead-tech failure of a company? Pathetic. Long past time for you to find a new hobby, pal.

sk8er_tor
sk8er_tor

@br14 Exactly. This entire article was fiction and only the author's opinion. I guess slow day for John.

JoeJones1
JoeJones1

@sk8er_tor @JoeJones1  absolute garbarge.  Of course they needed it.  Nobody borrow a billion dollars with all the costs unless it is needed.


in fact borrowing a billion dollars if they didn't need it, at the terms given, would be a slam dunk of a lawsuit.

br14
br14

@JoeJones1 @sk8er_tor It's a borrowing facility. They haven't drawn from it yet. 

Sell enough stuff and they won't need it. But burn cash at the current rate and they'd have needed it to continue operating by the end of 2014.

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