BlackBerry's motto: Never say die
Nearly dead in 2013, BlackBerry has fought back under its new CEO John Chen to regain some momentum--particularly in the enterprise market.
The disaster that was the Z10 smartphone almost crippled the company--which ended up writing off close to $1 billion in unsold Z10 inventory. This led to the layoff of thousands of employees.
Rumors also swirled that BlackBerry was up for sale, and suitors, such as its largest shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings, Chinese computer maker Lenovo, Cerberus Capital Management and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, filled the media.
But BlackBerry weathered the storm and has pushed ahead with a renewed focus on the enterprise. Just this week, BlackBerry announced the acquisition of German encryption firm Secusmart to beef up its enterprise mobile security offerings.
In addition, BlackBerry announced plans to launch its Passport smartphone targeted for enterprise users in September. The Passport comes complete with a keyboard and trackpad. Larry Dignan with ZDNet calls the Passport an "odd creature" aimed at the enterprise and industrial user. "Once you get over a few seconds of shock you realize that this phablet may actually find an audience," he writes.
While Chen's decision might please enterprise customers, they haven't exactly set Wall Street on fire. BlackBerry's stock has been on a roller coaster ride this year. It started the year at $7.65 per share, jump to $10.78 in late January and then dropped sharply in April to $7.14. It has rebounded to $9.64 as of afternoon trading on Wednesday.
The jury is still out on whether BlackBerry can recover the devastating year of 2013. The company appears to be heading in the right direction, but it will never repeat its earlier enterprise mobility success when it went by the moniker Research in Motion. - Fred