1. Nine54's Avatar
    Next Tuesday is BlackBerry's Annual General Meeting for Shareholders and I hope (actually, expect) the BlackBerry executive team and board to come prepared for a tough but engaging dialogue. While the quarterly results posted last week were disappointing for sure, the reaction from investors and analysts was abysmal. Yet, BlackBerry's silence afterwards was cricket-inducing. Why?

    Last year's General Meeting was a cluster, and some of the questions and comments were unfocused and unproductive. However, the annoyance demonstrated by the board at times was inappropriate and did not send the right message. BlackBerry's inability to control or even partake in the conversation around its challenges and future viability is dumbfounding.

    The General Meeting is a chance for BlackBerry to influence public sentiment, and I'm hoping the leadership team comes ready to talk and prepared to address the following three questions among others:

    1. With such small market share and comparatively low sales, BlackBerry 10 has been called "irrelevant" by some analysts. How is BlackBerry planning to drive sales and prevent BlackBerry 10 from becoming an also-ran in the mobile market?
    2. App developers have little incentive to focus on BB 10 with such low adoption, but users will be reluctant to adopt the platform until their favorite apps are available. How is BlackBerry addressing this Catch-22?
    3. The app, ecosystem, and market share advantages of iOS and Android can translate to other markets, such as the automotive space where QNX has had success. How does BlackBerry plan to compete with Apple, Android OEMs, and even Microsoft in this space? How will BlackBerry convince auto manufacturers to integrate QNX/BB 10 when the majority of their customers use iOS or Android devices?

    Also, while I know the CrackBerry team might be in attendance, I realize it's not their job to ask the above questions. However, it would be great if the team can work to influence the media dialogue around BlackBerry. I recognize that it's a fan site first, but a more journalistic angle might actually help the company it's a fan site for. While op-ed, tough-love "rants" might be needed from time to time to get a response from BlackBerry, I'm thinking more along the lines of actual reporting, such as on the following.

    • We hear that several large enterprises are evaluating BB 10. Why not try contacting these organizations to see how the evaluation and user acceptance testing are going? What's the enterprise take on the app gap? How does BES compare to competitive solutions, and what about claims that iOS and Android are "good enough" when it comes to security?
    • When an analyst releases a negative report--which often is posted by other tech sites--CrackBerry could try contacting that analyst with additional questions. Which metrics does the analyst focus on and what data trends or number thresholds does he or she want to see before releasing a positive report? What does the analyst think BlackBerry can do to close the app gap, remain viable, etc.?
    • Why not try contacting developers of key missing apps to find out what influences their decision on whether to develop for a particular platform? Is there a specific number of users or a market share percentage they wait for and what are those numbers? Are there other factors besides users and market share? How long does it generally take to develop their app for a new platform? Have they considered porting their Android app to BB 10 given how relatively easy it is?


    I just think it's time for BlackBerry to step up to the plate and swing at some fastballs. And not with "bunt"-like responses, but with line drives. And while I agree that kicking the company when it's down isn't constructive, the CrackBerry team and community can't act like ostriches with our heads in the ground while the negative press continues. Sure, CB isn't the AP, but it at least can have a voice in the media conversation. And when analysts write us off, we need to remind them why we like BlackBerry and what type of void would be left in the market without BlackBerry.

    What do you think?
    07-02-13 12:11 PM
  2. lorax1284's Avatar
    I agree. I believe what one calls "softball" questions is relative, but I think the shareholders deserve straight answers and only questions that reveal trade secrets should be kept aside.

    For example, I for one would like a clarification on "Support for the PlayBook" after the announcement on June 28th. I would like to hear them say they are "committed to continuing development on PlayBook OS" and list the features or the plan they have for it.

    As a shareholder this is important for me: I don't believe that BB acts in their long term interests to abandon a product in this manner, one that has so much potential ESPECIALLY as it can act as a forward looking validation of their "mobile computing" strategy as opposed to just a particular product and its own inate merits: "mobile computing" is about devices connected and communicating and so on, and to say that the PlayBook isn't going to participate in this future is to say that this future itself is in doubt.

    At any rate, yes, investors deserve to know if there IS a vision, a plan, behind the words, and confidence in such a plan took a blow (in my opinion) when the rug was pulled out from under the PlayBook... but in fact, it might not have been, but that's the conclusion we have drawn from the ambiguous statements made on June 28th.
    Nine54 likes this.
    07-02-13 12:21 PM
  3. cgk's Avatar
    Am I misremembering this or didn't one of the stockholders waste everyone's time asking where he could get a playbook keyboard?
    07-02-13 12:24 PM
  4. lorax1284's Avatar
    Am I misremembering this or didn't one of the stockholders waste everyone's time asking where he could get a playbook keyboard?
    Was that in response to the announced product that was for many many months not available anywhere?
    07-02-13 12:27 PM
  5. donnation's Avatar
    Agree with everything OP says, well written and I hope that some of those questions are addressed.
    Nine54 likes this.
    07-02-13 12:27 PM
  6. Nine54's Avatar
    Am I misremembering this or didn't one of the stockholders waste everyone's time asking where he could get a playbook keyboard?
    I remember that...and there was the incoherent and partially inaudible rant from another shareholder... Neither question was productive or constructive. I hope this time is different.
    07-02-13 12:37 PM
  7. Nine54's Avatar
    I agree. I believe what one calls "softball" questions is relative, but I think the shareholders deserve straight answers and only questions that reveal trade secrets should be kept aside.
    That's true, and BlackBerry can't exactly control what questions are asked. However, I don't think that means the meeting only has to be as good as the questions asked. BlackBerry can use any related question as an opportunity to get its message across and to address questions it knows exist regardless of whether they are asked by the relatively small group of people in attendance.
    As a shareholder this is important for me: I don't believe that BB acts in their long term interests to abandon a product in this manner, one that has so much potential ESPECIALLY as it can act as a forward looking validation of their "mobile computing" strategy as opposed to just a particular product and its own inate merits: "mobile computing" is about devices connected and communicating and so on, and to say that the PlayBook isn't going to participate in this future is to say that this future itself is in doubt.

    At any rate, yes, investors deserve to know if there IS a vision, a plan, behind the words, and confidence in such a plan took a blow (in my opinion) when the rug was pulled out from under the PlayBook... but in fact, it might not have been, but that's the conclusion we have drawn from the ambiguous statements made on June 28th.
    Agree. It's never a good look to go back on your word, but BlackBerry could have softened the blow by saying what it WILL do for the existing PlayBook and what its future plans are for the PlayBook line or other tablet devices. And this relates to a comment I saw in another thread about Thor's frequent messaging around "mobile computing." Right now it's a lot of conceptual, high-level talk: what is BlackBerry doing to deliver on its vision? Where's the beef?
    07-02-13 12:58 PM

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