10-08-13 02:47 PM
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  1. jay_men's Avatar
    It’s no secret that BlackBerry is facing challenging times amidst the ever-growing competition in the wild smartphone industry, and there are fears that the ill-effects of this saga would spill over into the Middle East.


    However, its top official in the region has a message: don’t worry; we’re doing fine here.

    “I think we’re doing great here [in the region]… we know for a fact that the BlackBerry brand is still strong here and that people continue to love it,” Nick Horton, BlackBerry’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

    “The news that are coming out of our [Waterloo, Ontario] headquarters on what’s going on in North America doesn’t reflect what’s happening in the Middle East… we’ve managed to maintain our share of the market here and we are going to do what we can to continue that.”

    Horton — who was previously based in Singapore handling South-east Asian markets — says that his BlackBerry team based in Dubai is “bright and strong”, and has managed to maintain the brand’s strength throughout the years.

    “I’ve got the right blend of professionals working here… and they know the market very well,” he said.

    Horton has figures to back it up; citing data from the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or TRA, BlackBerry has two smartphones in the TRA’s top-10 list. He also mentioned that a recent report from market research institute GfK showed that BlackBerry is the No. 3 and No. 2 best-selling smartphone brand in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

    So, what exactly is BlackBerry doing right and it has maintained its loyal base here in the Middle East?

    “I think it’s because of our fantastic relationship with operators and distribution partners here,” Horton said. “The BlackBerry brand is still a desirable brand and we continue to reinforce that.”

    We’re just bringing things that are really, really successful in the region and we continue to see that exist.”

    Horton says BlackBerry continues to have a strong portfolio, both on its hardware and software fronts. Sales of its recently-launched suite of OS 10-powered phones — the Z10, Q10, Q5 and most recently the Z30 — plus the OS 7-based 9720, have been doing well in the Middle East, especially in the UAE.

    “Sales just keep tugging away… and it’s consistent sales,” he said.

    He pointed out that BlackBerry — despite the competition — still has those edges that its users continue to patronise, such as Arabic-use adaptation, browsing and typing experience, and — most of all — its iconic BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM service.

    And speaking of BBM, Horton assured that with the service’s roll-out into rival platforms — Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android — he says that this cross-platform move will be a “pretty revolutionary engagement” for users of BBM.

    “We’re going to make sure that the user experience [of BBM on other platforms] will be the best as it can be,” he said. “We want to double the number of BBM users.”

    Apps, PlayBook

    One issue that is always being mentioned regarding BlackBerry is the lack of a wide range of apps, especially those that are vastly popular in other platforms. But this seems to have been addressed; a very recently, another BlackBerry Middle East official confirmed to Khaleej Times that the app count on the BlackBerry AppWorld has now shot up to 140,000.

    “I think we have an amazing app line-up,” Horton said, giving emphasis to local app developers that make localised content.

    He says that BlackBerry does “everything we can locally” to develop the app community here through engaging with them. He cited that holding events such as the BlackBerry Jam are a key driving force towards achieving this goal.

    With regards to the BlackBerry PlayBook — the company’s only tablet device which got a software update recently — he said that there is something in the works, although he declined to elaborate.

    “Our focus will be on our smartphones, so watch the space,” he quipped.

    Gitex

    Horton also said that BlackBerry will be having its biggest participation ever at the ongoing Gitex Shopper 2013, and for the first time the brand will have its own stand that promises to give a unique experience to visitors. As for Gitex Technology Week, which will take place from October 20 to 24, BlackBerry will be having a “massive stand”.

    “We’re putting in a huge participation and we will give a really great experience to our customers,” he said.

    Future

    Horton says that the Middle East continues to be a growth market for BlackBerry, and that the company wants to continue that success.

    “We’ve managed to build a brand in a proposition that really appeals to consumers and has durability to it,” he said. “Looking forward, we want to focus on our core strengths… and continue to evolve our hardware and software.”

    Next year, Horton says BlackBerry will embark on a mission to expand its existing customer base further and catch more of the market by offering new devices.

    Drawing comparisons to his previous area of assignment, he says that just like Asian consumers, people in the Middle East like to engage in tested and trusted brands such as BlackBerry.

    “What we can do here is continue the stuff that we’ve been doing really, really well… we want to continue our success,” he said.

    “We want to show that the BlackBerry brand is still successful and we will continue to maintain that… that shows how important the Middle East is for BlackBerry as a whole.”

    BlackBerry ‘doing great’
    10-07-13 01:59 PM
  2. raino's Avatar
    TBH, I would not believe any qualitative statements unless I see some sales numbers right by them.
    Mack Gans likes this.
    10-07-13 02:02 PM
  3. jay_men's Avatar
    Agreed, but regardless I thought it was a breath of fresh air considering the stench surrounding BlackBerry the last few months. At the end of the day, they have to do business somewhere. As some others have suggested, I think it would have been better to focus the discounted BB10 devices towards enterprise, and it may still happen, but at least someone is benefiting from it.
    hf199 likes this.
    10-07-13 02:22 PM
  4. Rickroller's Avatar
    "I think we have an amazing app line up"

    That was enough for me to stop reading. This person is clearly delusional or simply cheer leading, as the app situation is far from it..

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
    techvisor, mikeo007 and Etios like this.
    10-07-13 02:25 PM
  5. BBNation's Avatar
    "I think we have an amazing app line up"

    That was enough for me to stop reading. This person is clearly delusional or simply cheer leading, as the app situation is far from it..

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
    You are missing the point. and needs to consider the experience in UAE. the apps important to us here in North America may irrelevant there.. He is referring to local apps and local content.
    10-07-13 02:32 PM
  6. JasW's Avatar
    You are missing the point. and needs to consider the experience in UAE. the apps important to us here in North America may irrelevant there.. He is referring to local apps and local content.
    Perhaps. Interestingly, though, the Khaleej Times doesn't have an app for BB10.
    10-07-13 02:42 PM
  7. raino's Avatar
    Perhaps. Interestingly, though, the Khaleej Times doesn't have an app for BB10.
    Maybe they have a mobile website that's good enough for readers there? Apps needed by you and me aren't necessarily apps needed by Khaleej Times readers.
    gfondeur likes this.
    10-07-13 02:50 PM
  8. Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes's Avatar
    Even if 100% of the quarterly sales were in that region, things are still not "doing great"
    cgk and Blacklatino like this.
    10-07-13 02:54 PM
  9. jay_men's Avatar
    Perhaps. Interestingly, though, the Khaleej Times doesn't have an app for BB10.
    True. They do not have an for WP either. They do have apps for other platforms but it looks like they do not have a big mobile offering in general. Their apps were done by Polar Mobile and the last one was released in May 2012.

    Android June 10, 2011
    BBOS Apr 20th, 2012
    iOS May 03, 2012
    10-07-13 02:54 PM
  10. danprown's Avatar
    Yep -- all those city guides by S4BB Amazing line up. Coming soon to North America.

    Why is Thorsten Heins not doing these interviews here in North America, anywhere, for that matter, telling us where and how BBRY is doing fine, what is going on with BBM, etc. Instead, he is MIA, leaving his regional managers hung out to dry.




    You are missing the point. and needs to consider the experience in UAE. the apps important to us here in North America may irrelevant there.. He is referring to local apps and local content.
    Etios likes this.
    10-07-13 03:08 PM
  11. anon1727506's Avatar
    For me it was

    “I think we’re doing great here [in the region]… we know for a fact that the BlackBerry brand is still strong here and that people continue to love it,” Nick Horton, BlackBerry’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, told Khaleej Times in an interview.
    Either he knows or he doesn't. As a managing director, I would think that he should be in a position to provide some numbers to back up his "I think".

    He'd make a really good used car salesman...
    richardat likes this.
    10-07-13 03:10 PM
  12. fin2007's Avatar
    number does not lie.

    In the end of the data, the Q2 ER told us Asian market unit shipped down 40%+. Yet the overall market is growing at 50%+ pace in the region.

    enough said.
    10-07-13 03:21 PM
  13. NotGoodIMO's Avatar
    "“I think it’s because of our fantastic relationship with operators and distribution partners here,” Horton said. “The BlackBerry brand is still a desirable brand and we continue to reinforce that.”

    That's the truth. American Media and carriers are killing Blackberry. It's paid bashing by CrApple. In my opinion, most users who dump Blackberry move to Apple. Apple has the most to lose if Blackberry survives. The other thing killing Blackberry is the exclusive deals Apple has with carriers. Carriers just can't support Blackberry becuase of the agreements they have with Apple. I won't be surprised if Rogers dumped Z30 because of some kind agreement with Apple for new iPhones. Rogers is one of the most hypocrite organization in Canada. It was interesting to see how they were beating patriotic drum when Verizon was going to enter Canada and yet when its CEO was asked whether they would like Blackberry to survive, the guy couldn't say 'yes' head on. He just said he wants best for its customers. Having said that, the biggest problem with Blackberry is its incompetent and corrupt top management.
    gfondeur, spyeagle, jafrul and 1 others like this.
    10-07-13 03:37 PM
  14. Thesmartmale's Avatar
    You are missing the point. and needs to consider the experience in UAE. the apps important to us here in North America may irrelevant there.. He is referring to local apps and local content.
    Actually we need the same apps you guys need like Instagram, snapchat and all those apps.

    Problem here in the middle east is that people think BlackBerry is only for BBM and I'm telling you as soon as BBM goes X-Platform, BlackBerry sales will go down like crazy.

    Now the point that will make it even worse for BlackBerry10 sales is the price, why would someone go buy a BlackBerry10 that costs $399 when they can buy an android for $159 and still use BBM, enjoy Instagram and every app out there.

    I know BlackBerry is more than just BBM but over here you need 2 things to sell a smartphone, Apps and no lags. Now we all agree that BlackBerry10 doesn't lag but when you take a look at BBM you see a lot of them, heck my BBM crashes almost daily, so yeah you get the point.

    Posted via CB10
    10-07-13 03:46 PM
  15. cgk's Avatar
    Well... we either have two choices - sales are really really good in the ME (as percentage of BB quarterly) and therefore virtually zero anywhere else or his idea of "really great" isn't the same as most people.
    10-07-13 03:47 PM
  16. nighthawks's Avatar
    come on this guy work for BB. he cant say negative things.
    10-07-13 03:54 PM
  17. jay_men's Avatar
    I know this MD is just doing lip service in an interview to ultimately sell a product but can we really expect anyone to say "We suck at this and at that, but hey, buy a phone from us?"
    Thesmartmale and jafrul like this.
    10-07-13 03:57 PM
  18. bilzomaniac's Avatar
    10-07-13 04:08 PM
  19. KoreyTM's Avatar
    So the most popular BB phones in the UAE aren't even BB10? Ok.
    app_Developer likes this.
    10-07-13 04:18 PM
  20. bilzomaniac's Avatar
    Are u kidding me? Where in the world is bb10 more popular than bbos7?
    10-07-13 04:36 PM
  21. jay_men's Avatar
    Nope, neither are WP8 or Android 4.3 phones. BB10 has only been out for 9 months and I think the majority of the world do not buy brand new devices at initial release. I do not see iPhone 5 either.

    Sent from my HTC One using CB Forums mobile app
    10-07-13 04:56 PM
  22. SEAWARRIOR's Avatar
    ............................

    10-07-13 05:00 PM
  23. RonBro66's Avatar
    This isn't from the U.S.A. & so who cares?
    10-07-13 05:00 PM
  24. kbz1960's Avatar
    So does BBM on BB10 use data? It doesn't on legacy, does it?
    10-07-13 05:16 PM
  25. raino's Avatar
    So does BBM on BB10 use data? It doesn't on legacy, does it?
    You don't need a data plan on BB10. Run it straight off of WiFi if you want.

    In the Middle East though, a lot of carriers make you get a BIS plan even for BB10. I don't know what the local WiFi-only policy is.
    10-07-13 05:31 PM
45 12

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