02-17-18 06:44 PM
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  1. conite's Avatar
    How much more would they need to spend compared to now? The OS still works wonderfully. The companion apps need touch up work for Windows 10. They were over the hump with having a mature OS that worked the way it should. The only feature people say they want is "dark hub," and that is an inside joke.

    Clearly, whatever they were spending on marketing was inefficient. The reporting at the time reflects a big ad buy when they launched. They didn't need to keep anything near that pace of advertising.

    Another quarter and they would be underwater? That is easily checkable. I think they were at least a year from running out of capital and that would be without cutting back -- which they would have done no matter what.

    One more all-touch device to succeed the Z30? One follow-up to the Classic? Updates so the companion apps would work on Windows 10? These steps would not have brought down the company in any respect. They might even be the same or less than what BB has spent on Android.
    Even after their 100 million dollar initial ad campaign, everyone says they never saw them.

    They would have had to spend maybe 10 times that to actually make an impact. Don't forget, they are trying to pull a snow job and successfully market a device that has no apps.
    02-06-17 09:50 PM
  2. markmall's Avatar
    Thorsten was still there when they did the billion dollar write down.
    You might be right but I thought he took a big one his first quarter.

    One another note, he did a big interview the The Globe and Mail in Feb. 2014. Here is some of what he said about devices. Most interesting is how he criticized Heins for not educating the market about BB10. He never fixed it!:

    "Frustrated BlackBerry devotees returned the new phones in droves and ordered older BlackBerrys instead. The handset business was already unprofitable; thanks to the BlackBerry 10 flop, now it had become the source of billions of dollars in writedowns. “We missed one step, which was to educate the market up front” about the changes, Chen says. “We [thought] that if we built it, everybody will love it.”

    The short-term answer to the handset problem is twofold: New BlackBerry phones will continue to use the BlackBerry 10 operating system, but “will have some of the features our power-users love,” says Chen. He doesn’t want to get into specifics, but company sources confirm that the belt of five function keys will start appearing on BlackBerry 10 phones this year."

    Chen didn't discuss Android at all, of course, and there were no Android questions. If he knew what he was going to do at this point he did a good job hiding it. He talked about using sales forces to sell to enterprise. I remember waiting to hear something about this big sales push, and it never happened so far as I could tell.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...5516/?page=all
    02-06-17 09:52 PM
  3. conite's Avatar
    You might be right but I thought he took a big one his first quarter.

    One another note, he did a big interview the The Globe and Mail in Feb. 2014. Here is some of what he said about devices. Most interesting is how he criticized Heins for not educating the market about BB10. He never fixed it!:

    "Frustrated BlackBerry devotees returned the new phones in droves and ordered older BlackBerrys instead. The handset business was already unprofitable; thanks to the BlackBerry 10 flop, now it had become the source of billions of dollars in writedowns. “We missed one step, which was to educate the market up front” about the changes, Chen says. “We [thought] that if we built it, everybody will love it.”

    The short-term answer to the handset problem is twofold: New BlackBerry phones will continue to use the BlackBerry 10 operating system, but “will have some of the features our power-users love,” says Chen. He doesn’t want to get into specifics, but company sources confirm that the belt of five function keys will start appearing on BlackBerry 10 phones this year."
    None of that contradicts the notion that BlackBerry and Chen felt BB10 was already dead.

    I've always maintained he had to say the right things to at least sell as many devices as possible, at minimal cost, during the transition.
    02-06-17 09:59 PM
  4. roleli's Avatar
    My Thoughts
    1 BB10 failed before it was released - the co-leaders failure to see the changing consumer needs and act in a timely manner.
    2. Wasted time with the playbook - killed developer interest, shook consumer confidence. How does a tablet from RIM get released with no email client?
    3. No simple upgrade path from BBOS to BB10
    4. BBM - delay in making cross platform - should have been cross platform with Blackberry phones having premium features a long time before they did it.
    5. Failure to show the best features of BB10.

    There is so much I love about BB10. Lack of app support especially good Social Media apps sealed BB10's fate.

    Posted via CB10
    Last edited by roleli; 02-12-17 at 02:25 PM.
    eshropshire likes this.
    02-06-17 10:12 PM
  5. markmall's Avatar
    None of that contradicts the notion that BlackBerry and Chen felt BB10 was already dead.

    I've always maintained he had to say the right things to at least sell as many devices as possible, at minimal cost, during the transition.
    If you read the interview, Chen plays up going directly to IT departments. I'm interested in whether he ever hired any -- like 5, 10, 50 -- sales people to go canvass enterprise users like he said he wanted to do. I distinctly remember questioning why we hadn't heard anything about these sales efforts. With the Sony hack and other well publicized data breaches, he had some good angles to work with enterprise.
    02-06-17 10:34 PM
  6. thurask's Avatar
    2. Wasted time with the playbook - killed developer interest, shook consumer confidence. How does a tablet from RIM get released with no email client?
    Emails and such with the PlayBook on 1.0 were great if you already had a BlackBerry. Management was still in Mike-Jim-Heins bubble of myopia.

    From Losing The Signal, ch. 15:

    ...RIM could have easily provided access to consumer e-mail services on PlayBook such as Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, but Lazaridis was so enamored of Bridge that RIM didn't bother to develop that capability in time for launch. Throughout RIM, the decision to launch PlayBook without native e-mail was greeted with disbelief. How could the company that popularized wireless e-mail do such a thing? Balsillie says he was "hugely disappointed" the PlayBook didn't have native e-mail, but backed his partner; Bridge "had my full support", Balsillie says. The idea of bridging also made some RIM executives nervous: how would carriers react to a device hitched onto a BlackBerry's wireless Internet access? This was a service carriers provided for $10 a month. Lazaridis instead spoke openly about how PlayBook users could avoid paying extra, which their big customers did not appreciate. RIM no longer seemed "constructively aligned" with them. "Mike was persuasive and thought PlayBook paired with a BlackBerry was a valid market proposition," says [David] Yach.
    roleli, DrBoomBotz and arkenoi like this.
    02-06-17 10:50 PM
  7. early2bed's Avatar
    The F1 sponsorship deal cost something like $12 million per year and that was huge bargain because they signed on with the dominant team for three years. Even that marketing you quickly forgot about cost $36 million so imagine what some real lasting consumer-awareness would have cost.

    What Wall Street wants may not be the best but, ultimately, investors call the shots and pick the CEO. I'm sure that Thorsten Heins was fully committed to the hardware business up until the day he was fired. If you owned BlackBerry instead of just being someone who like their smartphones then you could have kept the hardware program going.

    It amazes me how people think that BlackBerry can dabble in a smartphone platform as a side business when the competition has thousands of people and spends hundreds of millions on theirs. Either there must be some real magic going on at BlackBerry or a tremendous lack of talent and goofing off at Apple and Google to end up with the same kind of product.

    With the Sony hack and other well publicized data breaches, he had some good angles to work with enterprise.
    BlackBerry security would have prevented WikiLeaks, and the Sony and iCloud data breaches? That would be my first question of someone from BlackBerry brought up any examples like that. BlackBerry touts all this added security but do they have any concrete examples to back-up their value proposition?
    02-06-17 10:53 PM
  8. markmall's Avatar

    It amazes me how people think that BlackBerry can dabble in a smartphone platform as a side business when the competition has thousands of people and spends hundreds of millions on theirs. Either there must be some real magic going on at BlackBerry or a tremendous lack of talent and goofing off at Apple and Google to end up with the same kind of product.

    BlackBerry security would have prevented WikiLeaks, and the Sony and iCloud data breaches? That would be my first question of someone from BlackBerry brought up any examples like that. BlackBerry touts all this added security but do they have any concrete examples to back-up their value proposition?
    I think what they're doing now is dabbling. As far as security, Chen thinks enough of the theme to try to reposition the entire company around it. You might want to let him know it's not a big seller.

    Given the direction he has taken the company, having a real secure smartphone would seem sellable at least from his perspective.


    Posted via CB10
    02-06-17 11:41 PM
  9. eshropshire's Avatar
    They overreacted. Their cash situation was never that dire. I think you are presuming that without Chen there would have been no cuts and asset sales. Or convertible debt for that matter.

    They needed an exceptional CEO more than anything else. They didn't find him. Firing and selling assets is easy -- as I always say.

    Posted via CB10
    Sorry, you don't understand BlackBerry's cash position in 2013. Yes they had cash, but the majority of the cash was committed to inventory and parts at BlackBerry suppliers. If BlackBerry had said in Dec. of 2013 they were done with Hardware, they would have been out of cash and stuck with a lot of useless parts and inventory. Chen needed the 1 billion dollars cash in fusion to have liquid cash to keep BlackBerry afloat. BlackBerry was losing money like crazy in 2013 and 2014.

    Go back and look deep at the numbers and you will see how bad the situation was at the end of 2013. The fact that BlackBerry is still in business at the start of 2017 is a fantastic business success story.

    I don't know why people can't get the basic fact that if the BoD wanted to keep going after the HW market they would have hired a CEO with HW experience. Chen's background is transforming enterprise software companies. The fact that the BoD has stayed with Chen for over 3+ shows they are still on board with this strategy.
    Last edited by eshropshire; 02-07-17 at 11:23 AM.
    02-07-17 09:53 AM
  10. eshropshire's Avatar
    BlackBerry security would have prevented WikiLeaks, and the Sony and iCloud data breaches? That would be my first question of someone from BlackBerry brought up any examples like that. BlackBerry touts all this added security but do they have any concrete examples to back-up their value proposition?
    Can you please explain how BlackBerry would have prevented WikiLeaks from internal breaches by employees with trusted access from downloading files from servers. How would BlackBerry prevented iCloud server access from PCs when people use passwords like 1234, AAAA etc...
    02-07-17 10:10 AM
  11. MrScotian's Avatar
    I don't know why people can't get the basic fact that if the BoD wanted to keep going after the HW market they would have hired a CEO with HW experience. Chen's how background is transforming enterprise software companies. The fact that the BoD has stayed with Chen for over 3+ shows they are still on board with this strategy.
    I agree with this.
    02-07-17 10:50 AM
  12. arkenoi's Avatar
    Can you elaborate? I blame him for not giving it a chance and recognizing its value.
    I already did I guess?
    02-07-17 03:43 PM
  13. Chuck Finley69's Avatar
    They overreacted. Their cash situation was never that dire. I think you are presuming that without Chen there would have been no cuts and asset sales. Or convertible debt for that matter.

    They needed an exceptional CEO more than anything else. They didn't find him. Firing and selling assets is easy -- as I always say.

    Posted via CB10
    Their cash situation was that dire, hence the reasons for everything they've done. Just look at Palm's strategy and results before and then after HP acquisition. After that debacle, PE and Value shops look a lot closer at EVERYTHING. That's what shows the job that Chen has done keeping the company alive is remarkable. Selling off non-performing assets, buying performing assets, while competitors in your remaining areas of marginal strength are waiting for you to slip up and pounce on your wounded status. Healthier companies with stronger balance sheets have failed in the position that BlackBerry was in.
    02-07-17 03:48 PM
  14. arkenoi's Avatar
    Not a smartphone?? That's the very first time the most revolutionary mobile phone in the history of the world has ever been called a "stupid phone" and "not a smartphone". This line of thinking is exactly why BB bit the dust - because their stakeholders thought the exact same thing you think. The iPhone 3G had just 128mb ram. Let that sink in. 128.....megabytes. And look what Apple managed to squeeze out of it.
    It was a dumbphone. But it had a huge success on dumbphone-dominated North America markets. Others followed. Smartphone users in Europe mostly ignored it at the time.
    02-07-17 03:52 PM
  15. app_Developer's Avatar
    Their cash situation was that dire, hence the reasons for everything they've done. Just look at Palm's strategy and results before and then after HP acquisition. After that debacle, PE and Value shops look a lot closer at EVERYTHING. That's what shows the job that Chen has done keeping the company alive is remarkable. Selling off non-performing assets, buying performing assets, while competitors in your remaining areas of marginal strength are waiting for you to slip up and pounce on your wounded status. Healthier companies with stronger balance sheets have failed in the position that BlackBerry was in.
    I totally agree that they were in a dire situation, and that's why I give Chen more credit than some other people do.

    I guess if one doesn't believe BB was in deep trouble, then it would follow that one wouldn't give Chen as much credit for the save.
    southlander likes this.
    02-07-17 07:26 PM
  16. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    I totally agree that they were in a dire situation, and that's why I give Chen more credit than some other people do.

    I guess if one doesn't believe BB was in deep trouble, then it would follow that one wouldn't give Chen as much credit for the save.
    This.

    I find it miraculous that BBRY is still afloat, and I think he/BoD deserve a bit of credit.
    02-08-17 02:55 AM
  17. thurask's Avatar
    This.

    I find it miraculous that BBRY is still afloat, and I think he/BoD deserve a bit of credit.
    But why should they be congratulated for not martyring the company? /s
    02-08-17 09:52 AM
  18. markmall's Avatar
    The patient is technically alive. Its heart is beating, but it's brain dead and there is no sign it will ever wake up. That is not a turnaround victory.

    If you want a good objective test, look at the share price. It's no higher than the months before Chen, correct? Is it even lower? This share price stagnation occurs at the same time the market has shot up. So how impressed is Wall Street with this incredible turnaround story? Wall Street has realized not to trust Chen. They see how he is unable to generate revenue. He cut the business down to nothing and has not been able to sell anything. All that is left are the small companies that Blackberry acquired.

    As far as Chen's selection, I think Watsa wanted a turnaround guy. He had to find one willing to do it. I don't think it was a software versus device decision although we see the impact of that experience.


    Posted via CB10
    02-08-17 12:13 PM
  19. conite's Avatar
    The share price was crashing hard ($17.61 CDN at BB10 release to 6.27 by Dec 6), and Chen stabilized it. It is now commensurate with the current size of the company.

    Dec 6, 2013 the stock was $6.27 CDN. It is now $9.50 CDN. That's about a 15% annualized return.
    Last edited by conite; 02-08-17 at 12:38 PM.
    anon(9803228) likes this.
    02-08-17 12:28 PM
  20. Tre Lawrence's Avatar
    Fair point.
    02-08-17 01:07 PM
  21. markmall's Avatar
    Even after their 100 million dollar initial ad campaign, everyone says they never saw them.
    Not every ad spend or marketing strategy is as shrewd or effective as others. Apple's "I am a Mac" campaign was an example of good ad spending.
    02-08-17 01:47 PM
  22. conite's Avatar
    Not every ad spend or marketing strategy is as shrewd or effective as others. Apple's "I am a Mac" campaign was an example of good ad spending.
    Yes. But that campaign cost Apple half a billion dollars a year.
    02-08-17 01:56 PM
  23. markmall's Avatar
    The share price was crashing hard ($17.61 CDN at BB10 release to 6.27 by Dec 6), and Chen stabilized it. It is now commensurate with the current size of the company.

    Dec 6, 2013 the stock was $6.27 CDN. It is now $9.50 CDN. That's about a 15% annualized return.
    What was the price when he was announced and what is the price now? It looks to me like it has gone down from a 5 year chart. He started in early-November -- not December -- 2013. The price dipped to about $6.50 at some point after Fairfax didn't do a buyout but did the financing deal instead. As of two days ago it hovered at $7. It's had a good two days but the stock has returned nothng it looks to me.
    02-08-17 01:57 PM
  24. markmall's Avatar
    Looking more closely at a chart on Google that pinpoints the share price by date, $10 is a fairer benchmark. The daily fluctuations were huge when he was announced. $10 was the debt conversion price (for a reason) and the rough moving average if you discount the drama and uncertainty with Fairfax. It was at $10 before and went back up to $10 after the financing deal.
    Last edited by markmall; 02-08-17 at 02:19 PM.
    02-08-17 02:04 PM
  25. conite's Avatar
    What was the price when he was announced and what is the price now? It looks to me like it has gone down from a 5 year chart. He started in early-November -- not December -- 2013. The price dipped to about $6.50 at some point after Fairfax didn't do a buyout but did the financing deal instead. As of two days ago it hovered at $7. It's had a good two days but the stock has returned nothng it looks to me.
    When you bring in a new pitcher, the base runners are still on the previous guy. The price bottomed out a few weeks after he took over. Be fair, and at least give him that.
    app_Developer likes this.
    02-08-17 02:08 PM
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