What BlackBerry MUST DO, FAST to Survive
On the back of Blackberry's quarterly results, it is now clear that the company is in dire trouble. Its last hope of a revival, BlackBerry 10, has thus far failed to gain enough traction with only approximately 2.7 million devices sold. BlackBerry's overall user-base continues to slide, and its traditional sources of revenue are drying up.
$3.2 billion in the bank will keep them safe for now, but such an amount is quickly eaten up, especially with planned increases in expenditure and further losses predicted next quarter.
As a BlackBerry fan, I hoped for a different story. But to be honest (and I'm sure many others here will feel the same) I wasn't that surprised.
Over the past year I have noticed an ever increasing number of strange strategic decisions, embarrassing PR incidents and missed revenue opportunities.
I don't know whether I'll stick with BlackBerry or not. But regardless, here is my bullet point guide to what's gone wrong, and what BlackBerry must do NOW to reverse their slide into obscurity:
1) LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS.
In order to retain a loyal customer base, this is absolutely vital. BlackBerry simply haven't been doing this enough (if at all).
Examples - huge amounts of complaints about 90 day limits on email. Do business people need this? OF COURSE they do! The number of times I have to revert back to emails from 2012, 2011, even 2010... a lot of business is done long-term. It's such an obvious requirement, particularly for a smartphone provider with a loyal business user-base, that it simply defies all logic to try to argue this away. Simply - failing to do so is losing BlackBerry customers it can't afford to lose.
Random reboots - Again, vast quantities of complaints on this one. Fixed for some, not for others. It's still ongoing, 6 months in.
BB10 Playbook. The argument on whether BB10 on PlayBook was plausible, technically viable is beside the point. BlackBerry PROMISED it. A large number of customers bought the device based on this news. Those same users asked questions when news of the update dried up. First the answers were vague, then BlackBerry suffered an apparent 90 day memory-loss and forgot the device existed, refusing to even use the word 'PlayBook', babbling about evaluating their strategy. That was a kick in the teeth for large numbers of BlackBerry faithful, and a PR disaster. Even if BB10 wasn't coming, BlackBerry would have been far better off telling it straight, with a full explanation, months and months ago.
When your user-base tells you, on mass, that they need something, you'd better listen. Because if you don't, they'll be gone before you know it.
2) UPDATE BB10 FASTER. MUCH, MUCH FASTER:
This was mentioned to some extent in the CrackBerry webcast today. BB10 has the makings of a good OS, but there is still a large number of outstanding bugs. While some are (slowly) being fixed, others are being introduced. The user experience hasn't improved enough, or quickly enough, since launch. BB10 is competing with more mature OS's from Google and Apple, and that means BlackBerry have to work faster than both of those to make up ground. BlackBerry aren't doing this - on the contrary, they're falling further behind.
Example 1 - multiple alarms. Planned in 10.2... which is at least 3 months away. That's 3/4 of a year to deliver something most decent coders could sort out in a couple of days. And the BB10 faithful have been demanding it since day 1. Not good enough, pure and simple.
BlackBerry needs to put everything it has into improving BB10, not to the point where it's 'almost' or 'about' as good as Android or iOS, but to the point where it's better.
3) DITCH BBOS.
Talked about in the webcast so I won't go on about it too long. Announcing that you're abandoning an update to BB10 of a dual-core, already QNX touch device while announcing yet another legacy BBOS7 product is just... demented. It sends out a confusing message. B10 is just an OS - one which we're lead to believe is highly scalable with less refined hardware. So push BB10 100%! God, how can BlackBerry not see this?! It defies belief. Which leads me to...
4) MORE COMPETITIVE PRICE POINTS, ALL PRICE POINTS COVERED
There's a Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphone on the market that has a quick dual-core CPU, a nice screen, a decent camera, a silky smooth OS and good battery life. It costs about £120 new. The Q5 costs THREE TIMES MORE, and its build quality appears to be worse. Who's BlackBerry kidding other than themselves? The Q5 needs to be cheaper - a LOT cheaper, or it won't gain any traction. That or they need another, really good device lined up in this price bracket.
5) ADVERTISE LIKE MAD
Yes, BlackBerry are advertising, and yes I've seen BlackBerry commercials. But it's nowhere near enough to give BB10 the exposure it needs. Quite simply, BlackBerry should be aiming for absolute commercial saturation - ads EVERYWHERE. And good ones. Because Apple, Google, Samsung, Nokia - they're doing just as much, and at present they're a heck of a lot better at it.
6) BETTER HARDWARE
Specs shouldn't matter - BlackBerry and BlackBerry faithful can claim it's all about the end-user experience, the flow, and not the hardware powering it. But that's simply a lie. People care about specs whether they really matter or not. People want the latest and greatest - it makes their purchase feel more special, more justified. The Z10 was mid-specced on release, and priced as a top-end product. Likewise the Q10. BlackBerry won't get away with that. They just won't. Profit margin on devices sold matters less than the long-term profit made from users buying into an ecosystem. So BlackBerry's current hardware strategy is utterly short-sighted, and needs to change now.
Do all of the above and then, maybe then, BlackBerry will stand a chance. Otherwise, BB10, BlackBerry's last great hope, will sink and take the company down with it.
Last edited by Deckard79; 06-28-13 at 05:33 PM.
- CrackBerry Genius of Geniuses
06-28-13, 04:51 PM #2
- 6,428 Posts
If there is one thing they need is their entire BB10 lineup ready to go ASAP. Six devices take up much more space in a store than a measly one or two and thus cannot be as easily missed. Additionally, right now they are spending hundreds of millions advertising each separate device as they roll them out... that's simply a waste. Think about a car dealer, they advertise the top-of-the-line or the budget model. Once you come into the store, maybe you realize you can't really go for the flagship model... Blackberry needs to be ready to offer a lower priced (but not lowest) model for those who hesitate on price. Similarly, you come in because your BB died but you think you can't spend much... and so are looking for the budget model. Right next to the budget model is the slightly better one and for just a few extra $, why not? and they make upsell. Instead of advertising BB10 for each device... they need to advertise BB10... for whatever your lifestyle/budget might be.
That's why Android has been able to penetrate and grow in such a seemingly easy fashion... because they cover every single price point while riding on the coat tails of flagship device marketing.
- CrackBerry Genius
06-28-13, 05:01 PM #4
- 1,695 Posts
- Available upon request.
The company is nowhere near it's death.
Large amount in the bank, no debt, and if you add in the unrecorded revenue from Venezuela ($72 million), the company only posted a $3 million loss.
BlackBerry 10 is still rolling out across the globe, it will need time to penetrate the market. That, along with BBM Channels not yet being monetized, leaves money on the table for BlackBerry to earn.
This company has a future, and death, is not their future.
BBM/Channels could be a success but I don't see that filling gaps left by a dwindling hardware base.
Though I do hope you are right.
- CrackBerry Genius
06-28-13, 05:14 PM #8
- 4,360 Posts
Armchair CEO - do you have to be, to see the bleeding obvious? I'd argue that BlackBerry may be doing better now if they'd taken heed and listened to the (probably loyal customers) posting those similar messages over the years.
- 06-28-13, 05:21 PM #10
So, OP, among other things you compare the official retail price of the Q5 to that of whichever Nokia you're comparing it too (btw, would be useful to know exactly which model you're talking about). How long has said Nokia been on the market? If it was released any earlier than a couple of weeks ago OF COURSE it's actually selling price will have come down from its original retail, as will the Q5's.
And what kind of spec does this phone have? Are we sure that we're comparing apples to apples here?
As well, the 90-day email thing is already taken care of, at least with Microsoft Exchange environments that most enterprise customers use (I have a "forever" option for my work email now).
And hardware IS competitive. Is it absolute bleeding-edge? No, but it's competitive. Roughly the same hardware as the Nokia 920 in the Z, and there's no reason to believe that as new models roll out that they won't have decent specs themselves.
- CrackBerry Genius
06-28-13, 05:22 PM #11
- 1,587 Posts
They need to rethink stuff no doubt about it no one is saying its right or wrong but damn at least see what you doing sucks and is not being felt.You will get better feedback from consumers people on the ground then having visions and concepts in some office talking to firms who are not BB users have no clue what BB is about.
I can bet you everyone here can do an ad recorded on their Z10 more effective than the artsy ads.IOH Sh!t make a BB ad using story maker oh look easy advert right there.
The email problem (90 day) may be partially taken care of (for MS Exchange email) - it certainly isn't for other accounts. Users are still complaining over this, and a number of email sync issues.
- CrackBerry Abuser
06-28-13, 05:40 PM #14
- 117 Posts
That's where the Marketing guys come in; demonstrate that it's an efficient device that will run longer, lighter and cooler while performing just as well as, or better than, the battery-sucking quad-core monsters that need a lot of power to run an inefficient design.
Marketing still has to then effectively deliver the message to consumers that it doesn't matter, and get consumers to believe them.
...and this is made even more difficult where people are complaining about short useable battery life, and the handset getting hot.
To preempt any 'Apple fanboy troll' posts (there's bound to be one), I am a Z10 owner. I am simply using it as an example.
- 06-28-13, 05:57 PM #20
As much as I have been a long time BB user and would love to see this company really make it and survive, I think one of their first mistakes was the delay that it took to get this device out and in the hands of the AMERICAN consumers. I am not saying ignore your country of course, or any other country for that matter, but these other countries have always had a very strong BB user base where in the state we have not. If you want to prove something and gain some of those customers back, this I feel is something that was needed to be done.
I know many will state that this was more of a carrier problem then anything. BUT if you have strong marketing dept that is or was persistent enough, I believe you would have been able to make this happen. People in the US are the people that needed more convincing, and this was simply just something that was not executed well enough. The phone was already delayed by six months if not more from the get go.
I also feel they only should concentrate on several instead of many devices. Much easier to build apps for and much easier to diagnose problems one might encounter if everyone was running the same CARRIER released O/S and not having to run leaks. If many devices are introduced, have them polished and ready for distribution at the same time, which gives more choices. Saturate yourself and make your presence known everywhere, until BB is a house hold word.
Also, I think BB rested on it's laurels far to long. Back in the day when they once ruled the smart phone world, since the tide has turned from ignoring your faithful customers and long time users, we now have it that BB has to reach out to the people instead of the people reaching out to it. We have done our share of reaching out, only to be passed up on so many levels and occasions.
Focus on making things work correctly first, before adding new features to your O/S. I understand BB 10 is still relatively new and does take time to develop, but I feel each build should only enhance things that are already present in the O/S and not to FIX things that should work out of the box. Every platform has its share of problems, that I know, but it always seems that BB takes that much longer to address things and have fixes for them in a timely manner. Takes way to long to make things right on this platform.
I was seriously going to purchase one this weekend as I am up for contract renewal, but am very apprehensive and nervous at the same time, that support might just stop altogether, or things might just be rigged to make work or as a temporary fix and not a permanent enhancement. Think I am going to wait it out. Not a hater here as I said I am a long time user, but how much longer must one wait to get things right and listen to customers and potential customers and users.
I do agree that I think this is the best thing going right now, and up until today, I was really sure of myself with my mind made up. I did nothing but promote this phone and company to everyone at work, and today I was pretty much laughed at, with the quick turn of events.
I really want this company to stay around and had so much faith in them, but the amount left is starting to lessen.
- 06-28-13, 05:59 PM #21
In my opinion, the BlackBerry is doomed because no matter what they simply can't recover from years of loss. They are just too far behind. I've been all BlackBerry from first Nextel without even a color screen. Now I have a Z10 and Q10. I've been forced to use both iOS and Android for work phones and they can't touch BB10. BlackBerry now has superior products, but I just truly believe that all they will get is people upgrading from one BlackBerry to another. Its a shame that so many iOS users and even Android users won't even give BlackBerry any respect. BlackBerry simply cannot stick around without a combination of retained upgraded customers and new customer converts. I just don't see the converts giving up their beloved iPhones. Eventually, remaining BlackBerry users will be forced to shop elsewhere. I dread the day.
Posted with my Q10, the best damn phone on the planet
- 06-28-13, 06:04 PM #22
Want to alienate a maximum number of those folks and drive them to a different platform? Announce that you'll no longer support older OS platforms.
Witness the Windows 8 debacle for reference.
- CrackBerry Newbie
06-28-13, 06:05 PM #23
- 6 Posts
I understand from a friend at a company that Blackberry does business with, that Blackberry also is not writing the software so that BB10 phones can be managed with full security by older BES's - essentially forcing companies to upgrade to BES 10.1 if they want BB10 phones, obviously at great cost. If true, this is reminiscent of their old stance of not to play ball with MDM cross platform support under BES and alienating some companies big time.
Also, why can't this company commit to a definite timeline for rolling out BBM cross platform and why is it taking so long to do? Apparently they had indicated within the industry over a year ago that this was coming - long before they went public with it.
Can anyone corroborate this stuff?
To convince people to take the plunge, BlackBerry have to prove to consumers that their product is better.
That and actually make a superior product to back up their claims.
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