1. tickerguy's Avatar
    Feel free to spam this to people at either FairFax or in Waterloo itself. Maybe -- just maybe -- someone's awake up there.

    BlackBerry: I Already Know You'll Ignore Me, But... in [Market-Ticker]

    Excerpt:

    ....
    Might this strategy fail? Sure.

    But I'm very sure there are 100 million customers out there who give a damn about security, and I'm willing to bet I can market to them and own them, where the other guys cannot.

    And that part of the strategy has zero cost to the company, or damn close to it.

    Further, that 100 million customers make the company not only viable but extremely profitable -- and that's before I destroy the "tablet" craze and own that segment of the market too.

    Come and get it BlackBerry.
    mjdimer likes this.
    09-24-13 02:51 PM
  2. ddlax22's Avatar
    for those of you who do not want to click here is the article. i have no part in this just helping out



    BlackBerry: I Already Know You'll Ignore Me, But...

    ... you shouldn't.

    See, the market says that FairFax's "bid" is crap. In fact, it doesn't believe the "PUT" that was allegedly written, with your stock trading ~5% below the bid price.

    I happen to believe the PUT is real, simply because I looked at FairFax's financials. But that's me.

    So let's play assumption for a few minutes. Let's assume that Thor Baby either has a remaining pair of neurons in his head and/or that The Board has two firing neurons somewhere between their members, and further that they are not spending their time blowing Thor (no, that nodding is not approval, it's bobbing, you see.)

    Or, let's say the board did something really drastic -- they fired Thor Baby and called me, telling me that they wanted me to run the joint.

    What would I do, given that I had a limited amount of time to either "do it or die"?

    Well, first, I'd take the job. And I'd only ask for stock options -- at the current price, but with a conversion to P/E equity if the buyout goes. After all, I want to get paid if I win even if FairFax owns the company.

    Then what?

    Here's the prescription:

    There are 1 billion smartphone users in the world today, more or less. I will assume that 10% of them give a damn about security to some degree. This is defined as "the market I intend to own 100% of."

    The first day I announce that the crypto code in the BB10 devices is free of spyware and back doors, including NSA and other government back doors. I then publish the source code to the crypto modules along with cryptographic checksums of the binaries. This allows anyone to verify that the source is in fact the binary and has not been tampered with. If there are holes found by that public review, we fix them -- immediately and publicly. Zero cost.

    I immediately push out an update for BB10 that enables S/MIME email for all users, not just BES10 users. Now BB10 devices are the only ones in the market with end-to-end secure email out of the box. Period. This is a zero-effort and cost update since the code is already in the handsets.

    I immediately push out an update for BB10 that enables Balance without BES10. Now people who want to separate work and personal use of their phones privately can do so. This is again a unique feature that nobody else has and again it's zero cost.

    Between these three changes I now have the only "non-interceptable" device for email out-of-the-box and the only one with the ability to have two distinct personal partitions on the market. That becomes my marketing message: "If you want security and choice, buy BlackBerry devices. If you don't care, buy our competitor's products." That becomes the formal (and not quiet either) message that the market receives about why you want BlackBerry.

    I immediately change the Android runtime so as to permit permissions to be toggled off and default them all off. When you load an Android app repackaged as a BAR file the system now brings up a screen with all the requested permissions off and you have to turn them on. Include very explicit warnings for the dangerous permissions at the same time and strongly recommend that the user not enable them.

    I go after the PlayStore and Android hard. The "fake" BBM applications are all that is necessary to drive a big fat 2x6 up Android's ***. Run an ad with a guy accidentally loading one of those fake apps as an administrator in a hospital and then watching as his patient database gets immediately uploaded to China. Bawhahahaa.. One 30 second ad and they're done. That would go viral instantly.

    I go directly to the carriers and explain to them that I'm well-aware that they hate us -- their actions prove it. I also am well-aware that my competitors have managed to sucker them into penalty clauses for slow sales on my competition's products, which would be a problem for me even if they didn't hate us. All's fair in love, war and business, and this is business. Therefore the bottom line is that since I have FCC IDs for my devices and that's all I need, I'm going to sell direct and unlocked, and I'm also going to allow customers to load the newest firmware at their discretion off my servers without carrier interference. If and when the carriers would like to promote my devices and act like partners then I'm interested in discussing it on non-discriminatory terms. After all, in exchange for support and promotion they deserve a margin. But until they'll provide that and not undermine my product offerings I have exactly zero reason to give up one dollar of margin on the hardware to the carriers.

    In short I'm well-aware that perhaps the viewpoint that the carriers have based on prior behavior when there was only BlackBerry may be well-founded, but it wasn't BlackBerry that got them to sign agreements to sell "X" worth of "Y" branded phones or pay a penalty, and I'll be double-damned if they're going to damage my firm because they did something stupid. Nor am I going to provide them with a margin on hardware sales when they lie to customers, try to talk them into buying competitor's products and***** them off when it comes to support, all of which they have actively done for the last year. Further, I know full well what RICO is and if there is active interference with my sales and customer's use of devices on those carrier networks I'll use that law aggressively, including its criminal provisions and I won't be quiet about it either.

    If the carriers don't want to support the devices that's fine -- we will do it ourselves and we will market our devices as the secure alternative for those who are tired of carriers who roll over and play lapdog to governments demanding customer location and use information. And we'll keep all of the margin on the hardware, since we're doing all the work.

    Oh, and if you think that won't work, yes it will. All the carriers are being forced by the market into non-contract environments. The ability to force customers to pay subsidies via back-door pricing in the service plans is either gone or ending, and exposing that will be part of our marketing message too.

    We'll see what Verizon and AT&T think of having their own recently-announced attempt to compete with T-Mobile's "un-carrier" position turned against them. I bet they won't like it but there isn't anything they can do about it, never mind the fact that Virgin and Boost along with all the other MVNOs can use the handsets as well.

    I hire a group of 20 programmers -- all aces. Their task? Two-fold, and it's a million bucks each for them if they pull off the job which consists of:
    Porting LibreOffice to BB10.
    Decoupling the HDMI resolution from the screen resolution so the full resolution of an HDMI-connected display is available.

    I give them 30 days to show me a working device and 60 for releasable code. Two months, a million bucks each. Hell of a deal. By doing these two things I now have (1) a dockable tablet replacement (BB10 already handles Bluetooth keyboards and mice) and (2) wide-screen capability. Coupled with the existing secure remote file access I now have the first-on-market and very functional part of a full mobile device strategy. Apple will never do this because it will destroy their tablet market, and for the same reason the Android phone makers won't do it either. This is what the "Linuxphone" people wanted to build and I'm going to do it first.

    Now I have the only secure way to extend the corporate network anywhere with a device that does what the common worker's laptop or desktop machine does and has access to all of the corporate network, fits in your pocket, has an inexpensive, thin and small screen, keyboard and mouse available if you want one in your briefcase and which is secure at the same time.

    BlackBerry can own this market in a couple of months at minimal cost.

    The next step is to come up with a relatively-inexpensive WiFi -> HDMI box that will plug into any HDMI-capable device and feed both video and audio. Write the companion driver and release the specs on the receiver side. Now I have wireless video for when you don't want to use a cable. Can I get there on WiFi that's in the existing devices? Yes. 1920x1080 is 2 million pixels. I have ~65Mbps on 802.11n without MIMO. With modest compression this works handily (it also comports reasonably well with BlueRay video that has bitrates in the ~40Mbps area, incidentally, which is another potential market use for this device -- and a reason for companies to embed it in their displays.) Target this for release within six months. Very achievable and not very expensive.
    Might this strategy fail? Sure.

    But I'm very sure there are 100 million customers out there who give a damn about security, and I'm willing to bet I can market to them and own them, where the other guys cannot. And that part of the strategy has zero cost to the company, or damn close to it.

    Further, that 100 million customers make the company not only viable but extremely profitable -- and that's before I destroy the "tablet" craze and own that segment of the market too.

    Come and get it BlackBerry.
    09-24-13 03:00 PM
  3. lcgoldman's Avatar
    I like it!
    09-24-13 03:00 PM
  4. anon1727506's Avatar
    And he'd fall flat on his face...
    Donvald and richardat like this.
    09-24-13 03:06 PM
  5. Branta's Avatar
    The ideas seem sound when viewed from the sidelines, BUT...
    1. The US buying public has been brainwashed into believing BlackBerry is a high risk toxic brand, ranking in evil second behind Al Qaida
    2. The networks can identify device manufacturers by IMEI. If they don't want your devices, the devices stop working.

    Sadly these two issues will probably force BlackBerry devices from the market regardless of any other factors in their favor.
    araskin likes this.
    09-24-13 03:15 PM
  6. milo53's Avatar
    for those of you who do not want to click here is the article. i have no part in this just helping out

    They should hire you! buy they won't, not enough Neurons.



    BlackBerry: I Already Know You'll Ignore Me, But...

    ... you shouldn't.

    See, the market says that FairFax's "bid" is crap. In fact, it doesn't believe the "PUT" that was allegedly written, with your stock trading ~5% below the bid price.

    I happen to believe the PUT is real, simply because I looked at FairFax's financials. But that's me.

    So let's play assumption for a few minutes. Let's assume that Thor Baby either has a remaining pair of neurons in his head and/or that The Board has two firing neurons somewhere between their members, and further that they are not spending their time blowing Thor (no, that nodding is not approval, it's bobbing, you see.)

    Or, let's say the board did something really drastic -- they fired Thor Baby and called me, telling me that they wanted me to run the joint.

    What would I do, given that I had a limited amount of time to either "do it or die"?

    Well, first, I'd take the job. And I'd only ask for stock options -- at the current price, but with a conversion to P/E equity if the buyout goes. After all, I want to get paid if I win even if FairFax owns the company.

    Then what?

    Here's the prescription:

    There are 1 billion smartphone users in the world today, more or less. I will assume that 10% of them give a damn about security to some degree. This is defined as "the market I intend to own 100% of."

    The first day I announce that the crypto code in the BB10 devices is free of spyware and back doors, including NSA and other government back doors. I then publish the source code to the crypto modules along with cryptographic checksums of the binaries. This allows anyone to verify that the source is in fact the binary and has not been tampered with. If there are holes found by that public review, we fix them -- immediately and publicly. Zero cost.

    I immediately push out an update for BB10 that enables S/MIME email for all users, not just BES10 users. Now BB10 devices are the only ones in the market with end-to-end secure email out of the box. Period. This is a zero-effort and cost update since the code is already in the handsets.

    I immediately push out an update for BB10 that enables Balance without BES10. Now people who want to separate work and personal use of their phones privately can do so. This is again a unique feature that nobody else has and again it's zero cost.

    Between these three changes I now have the only "non-interceptable" device for email out-of-the-box and the only one with the ability to have two distinct personal partitions on the market. That becomes my marketing message: "If you want security and choice, buy BlackBerry devices. If you don't care, buy our competitor's products." That becomes the formal (and not quiet either) message that the market receives about why you want BlackBerry.

    I immediately change the Android runtime so as to permit permissions to be toggled off and default them all off. When you load an Android app repackaged as a BAR file the system now brings up a screen with all the requested permissions off and you have to turn them on. Include very explicit warnings for the dangerous permissions at the same time and strongly recommend that the user not enable them.

    I go after the PlayStore and Android hard. The "fake" BBM applications are all that is necessary to drive a big fat 2x6 up Android's ***. Run an ad with a guy accidentally loading one of those fake apps as an administrator in a hospital and then watching as his patient database gets immediately uploaded to China. Bawhahahaa.. One 30 second ad and they're done. That would go viral instantly.

    I go directly to the carriers and explain to them that I'm well-aware that they hate us -- their actions prove it. I also am well-aware that my competitors have managed to sucker them into penalty clauses for slow sales on my competition's products, which would be a problem for me even if they didn't hate us. All's fair in love, war and business, and this is business. Therefore the bottom line is that since I have FCC IDs for my devices and that's all I need, I'm going to sell direct and unlocked, and I'm also going to allow customers to load the newest firmware at their discretion off my servers without carrier interference. If and when the carriers would like to promote my devices and act like partners then I'm interested in discussing it on non-discriminatory terms. After all, in exchange for support and promotion they deserve a margin. But until they'll provide that and not undermine my product offerings I have exactly zero reason to give up one dollar of margin on the hardware to the carriers.

    In short I'm well-aware that perhaps the viewpoint that the carriers have based on prior behavior when there was only BlackBerry may be well-founded, but it wasn't BlackBerry that got them to sign agreements to sell "X" worth of "Y" branded phones or pay a penalty, and I'll be double-damned if they're going to damage my firm because they did something stupid. Nor am I going to provide them with a margin on hardware sales when they lie to customers, try to talk them into buying competitor's products and***** them off when it comes to support, all of which they have actively done for the last year. Further, I know full well what RICO is and if there is active interference with my sales and customer's use of devices on those carrier networks I'll use that law aggressively, including its criminal provisions and I won't be quiet about it either.

    If the carriers don't want to support the devices that's fine -- we will do it ourselves and we will market our devices as the secure alternative for those who are tired of carriers who roll over and play lapdog to governments demanding customer location and use information. And we'll keep all of the margin on the hardware, since we're doing all the work.

    Oh, and if you think that won't work, yes it will. All the carriers are being forced by the market into non-contract environments. The ability to force customers to pay subsidies via back-door pricing in the service plans is either gone or ending, and exposing that will be part of our marketing message too.

    We'll see what Verizon and AT&T think of having their own recently-announced attempt to compete with T-Mobile's "un-carrier" position turned against them. I bet they won't like it but there isn't anything they can do about it, never mind the fact that Virgin and Boost along with all the other MVNOs can use the handsets as well.

    I hire a group of 20 programmers -- all aces. Their task? Two-fold, and it's a million bucks each for them if they pull off the job which consists of:
    Porting LibreOffice to BB10.
    Decoupling the HDMI resolution from the screen resolution so the full resolution of an HDMI-connected display is available.

    I give them 30 days to show me a working device and 60 for releasable code. Two months, a million bucks each. Hell of a deal. By doing these two things I now have (1) a dockable tablet replacement (BB10 already handles Bluetooth keyboards and mice) and (2) wide-screen capability. Coupled with the existing secure remote file access I now have the first-on-market and very functional part of a full mobile device strategy. Apple will never do this because it will destroy their tablet market, and for the same reason the Android phone makers won't do it either. This is what the "Linuxphone" people wanted to build and I'm going to do it first.

    Now I have the only secure way to extend the corporate network anywhere with a device that does what the common worker's laptop or desktop machine does and has access to all of the corporate network, fits in your pocket, has an inexpensive, thin and small screen, keyboard and mouse available if you want one in your briefcase and which is secure at the same time.

    BlackBerry can own this market in a couple of months at minimal cost.

    The next step is to come up with a relatively-inexpensive WiFi -> HDMI box that will plug into any HDMI-capable device and feed both video and audio. Write the companion driver and release the specs on the receiver side. Now I have wireless video for when you don't want to use a cable. Can I get there on WiFi that's in the existing devices? Yes. 1920x1080 is 2 million pixels. I have ~65Mbps on 802.11n without MIMO. With modest compression this works handily (it also comports reasonably well with BlueRay video that has bitrates in the ~40Mbps area, incidentally, which is another potential market use for this device -- and a reason for companies to embed it in their displays.) Target this for release within six months. Very achievable and not very expensive.
    Might this strategy fail? Sure.

    But I'm very sure there are 100 million customers out there who give a damn about security, and I'm willing to bet I can market to them and own them, where the other guys cannot. And that part of the strategy has zero cost to the company, or damn close to it.

    Further, that 100 million customers make the company not only viable but extremely profitable -- and that's before I destroy the "tablet" craze and own that segment of the market too.

    Come and get it BlackBerry.
    09-24-13 03:18 PM
  7. tickerguy's Avatar
    The ideas seem sound when viewed from the sidelines, BUT...
    1. The US buying public has been brainwashed into believing BlackBerry is a high risk toxic brand, ranking in evil second behind Al Qaida
    2. The networks can identify device manufacturers by IMEI. If they don't want your devices, the devices stop working.

    Sadly these two issues will probably force BlackBerry devices from the market regardless of any other factors in their favor.
    No, as the original article pointed out, #2 leads to an immediate RICO filing, since we already know the devices are compatible.

    I have lots of experience playing hardball with telecomm CEOs..... used to do it as my day job, in fact, when I ran my ISP.
    09-24-13 05:13 PM
  8. anon1727506's Avatar
    The ideas seem sound when viewed from the sidelines, BUT...
    1. The US buying public has been brainwashed into believing BlackBerry is a high risk toxic brand, ranking in evil second behind Al Qaida
    2. The networks can identify device manufacturers by IMEI. If they don't want your devices, the devices stop working.

    Sadly these two issues will probably force BlackBerry devices from the market regardless of any other factors in their favor.
    1. The US is not the whole world, if they are then why are sales failing EVERYWHERE other than three or four small markets.

    2. BlackBerry is the one that has spent the last four years working very hard to enforce the perception that BlackBerry was an "out of data" device from a company that was going out of business. And at this point they ARE a high risk Brand.


    I just don't understand why so many still refuse to see that ALL of BlackBerry's problems can be traced back to BlackBerry.

    You can blame Apple and Google for creating better devices if you want... but the fact that BB couldn't keep up isn't their fault.
    09-25-13 07:33 AM
  9. deadcowboy's Avatar
    These are great ideas. And an NSA-free phone is something I have brought up a few times in regards to BB's retaking of the market. It seems so bloody obvious. Every celebrity would have one. Businesses. It would be great.

    Lots of other good ideas in the mix as well. This sort of a bold strategy is the only way to get people excited about the brand. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anyone with enough vision at that company to make it a reality. And no one with balls.
    09-25-13 09:20 AM
  10. allisos's Avatar
    These are great ideas. And an NSA-free phone is something I have brought up a few times in regards to BB's retaking of the market. It seems so bloody obvious. Every celebrity would have one. Businesses. It would be great.

    Lots of other good ideas in the mix as well. This sort of a bold strategy is the only way to get people excited about the brand. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anyone with enough vision at that company to make it a reality. And no one with balls.
    The only problem..... What if it isn't NSA proof?

    Echelon was a joint US-Canadian effort.... just sayin...
    09-25-13 09:34 AM
  11. tickerguy's Avatar
    Ah, but it almost-certainly is. In fact what's done nowdays is to weaken the random-number generator (on purpose) to make it possible to predict the session key -- without that you're screwed.

    The nice thing about mathematics is that there's nothing political about it. Something either is or isn't and it's subject to formal and public proof.

    The random-number generator is actually fairly easy to audit, and the best part of it is that anything with a radio in it has access to very high-quality random number seeds, as RF "white noise" (off-channel) is of quality very close to atomic decay as a random source. It really doesn't get much (if any) better than that.

    If you release the source you're going to find out fast if there's anything hinky in there.
    09-25-13 11:04 AM
  12. deadcowboy's Avatar
    To be fair, Blackberry has been wont to appease powers rather than consumers. How about their silly camera shutter sound that could not be disabled? And of course they had backdoors into their products like the rest of them, no?

    If they would put consumers first and play the rebellious trailblazer, then maybe they could be trustworthy and cool again.

    Right now, I don't really trust any tech company. I'd like to be able to trust one, and I feel a lot of people might like to as well.

    And Apple and Android aren't really what one would call cool anymore. Nokia is kind of cool, but they were bought. Blackberry could be cool and right for businesses at the same time if they weren't led by a moron.
    09-25-13 12:53 PM
  13. anon1727506's Avatar
    These are great ideas. And an NSA-free phone is something I have brought up a few times in regards to BB's retaking of the market. It seems so bloody obvious. Every celebrity would have one. Businesses. It would be great.

    Lots of other good ideas in the mix as well. This sort of a bold strategy is the only way to get people excited about the brand. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anyone with enough vision at that company to make it a reality. And no one with balls.
    There is a difference in having a device that the paparazzi can not hack, and one that the NAS can not hack (supposedly). But the question would be... can I play Candy Crush on it?
    09-25-13 01:17 PM
  14. deadcowboy's Avatar
    I'm pretty sure powerful people in the public eye would err on the side of caution in this case.

    Historically, celebrities have leaned toward blackberry for reasons of privacy.

    Just the prospect that a phone is so secure that not even the NSA have access to it would obviously be a point of sale.

    It seems to me that those in the NSA (and I'm sure other organizations of its ilk) have dossiers with all forms of contact. So say a celebrity sends a nude picture to someone, that photo is now a part of the dossier. An NSA employee has only to do a simple search to access that nude photo. That's the way Snowden made it seem.
    09-25-13 03:15 PM
  15. donnation's Avatar
    This guys advice is no different than you or I coming in here and saying we have ideas to change everything for Blackberry. Someone who thinks they have it all figured out when in reality they don't have any ideas that haven't been already explored. Blackberry does have management problems, but they also have some very bright people working for them. This guy is a loon.
    09-25-13 03:21 PM
  16. tickerguy's Avatar
    "This guy" (me) is a former Internet CEO.
    mjdimer likes this.
    09-25-13 04:47 PM
  17. black.rhino's Avatar
    Arrogance cost BlackBerry the market, how does an arrogant CEO win it back?

    BES10 is a money maker, why give its features away?

    I don't know why I even read the Armchair CEO anymore, I prefer the people who are just having fun rather than the ones who actually think they've got it right.

    Posted by Z10
    09-25-13 05:39 PM
  18. deadcowboy's Avatar
    I'd rather have the Blackberry that OP is imagining than what Thor has given us. On a purely selfish level, it sounds great for consumers.
    09-25-13 09:20 PM
  19. donnation's Avatar
    "This guy" (me) is a former Internet CEO.
    Your point is?
    09-25-13 09:53 PM
  20. tickerguy's Avatar
    Your point is?
    My point is that I've been there, done that, have the T-shirt, have beaten telecomm CEOs over the head and won, and have a pretty damn good handle on how to effectively position and market this firm.

    As for the argument that this would "undermine" BES, nope. BES is a management platform. Small business and individual users not only will never buy into it they have no reasonable means to buy into it. What makes BB10 unique is a feature set that if exploitable only by the Fortune 500 leaves you with a market that is too small to carry the company, which is why BlackBerry is in the mess it is today.

    BB10 is the hands-down best mobile OS on the market now. With a few minor things added to it it would be miles ahead of the competition, and that competition has to protect its own internal marketing and thus can't come after the firm were it to make these changes. Neither Apple or Android vendors will cannibalize their own tablet sales, for example, to build a unified remote infrastructure.

    Sucks to be them but that's an opportunity.
    09-25-13 10:14 PM
  21. clickitykeys's Avatar
    Ballsy ideas! If BlackBerry can make even two of these happen, we will be looking at a different company from the trainwreck that we have today.

    Just not sure if anyone at the company has the sort of bold attitude to take it into uncharted waters, and worried that its new owners may not have it either.

    BBQ10
    09-25-13 10:37 PM
  22. chopachain's Avatar
    This is the type of person that owns a BB. Someone with vision. Intelligent. Well done!
    But IMO I think there has been a plan running in the background for a while already.
    Such basic stuff that needed to be done and was ignored? Why????
    09-26-13 03:06 AM

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