10-26-13 12:39 AM
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  1. Omnitech's Avatar
    Hopefully he is not as nuts as he was near the end before

    Neither has he been "uninvolved" for very long, maybe a year or so?

    Blackberry fans are simply desperate for anything that seems like a savior to come along at this point.

    Honestly I think Thorsten was doing a fine job in many respects, given what he had to work with. Do not forget that most of the punditocracy was convinced the company would be completely dead by now. He's the whipping-boy now because he happens to be at the helm when their resources ran out.

    While I like the idea of Mike's experience and perspective and loyalty to the company he built, I'm not sure he's the magic savior either.

    Neither do I think retreating to the enterprise market is necessarily a successful strategy either. They need to establish product traction in the consumer market in order to be competitive in the commercial market, and they need economy of scale if they are planning to still build handsets. Given that their manufacturing partners are grumbling about abandoning them at this point, the hardware aspect is not looking too good right now.

    That leaves them with software and enterprise (ie MDM management) products. On the BlackBerry (non-QNX side), they have a really crappy track record of poor product quality, poor support, and poor marketing. Not to mention, it's not clear to me that their MDM product is competitive at all. I don't know much about the cloud thing they just announced.

    Honestly I think their last best hope was to gain some traction in the retail/consumer space and leverage off of that. Sadly, we have just recently started to see a bit more traction in the app area.

    So given the "turnaround" plans I keep reading about, to be honest, I think if they go in one of those directions they are going to drive themselves right out of business.
    10-11-13 03:37 AM
  2. mset's Avatar
    Honestly I think Thorsten was doing a fine job in many respects, given what he had to work with.
    You might find one or two folks around here who disagree with you on that one, Omni.

    Inasmuch as he was in charge of the Z10 project, I would have to disagree as well. Maybe you'd counter with 'the Z10 train had already left the station by the time he got the gig'. If that's true, I stand corrected.

    If not, I think it's pretty clear at this point that there were some decisions made which were, in hindsight, sub-optimal. Yep, easy for me to say, but these are the guys that are supposed to be able to figure things out in advance. That's why they get the $5MM/year + options.
    Last edited by mset; 10-11-13 at 04:29 AM.
    10-11-13 03:51 AM
  3. bradu1's Avatar
    You know, I haven't really had a problem with Thor. We all knew we were in for some rough waters and he's been the guy doing the things that no one wants to do. At the last call, the one they actually had, he told us this would be a bad quarter, told us how they would be slimming down, basically laid everything out for bus, that we are seeing now. Of course the situation now is worse than I suspect he even thought it was going to be. My problem with him is fairly recent. We just haven't seen him. I don't blame them for not having the earnings call, with the situation as it is, and with a possible offer on the table, I don't think it would have had one either. But what's bothering me in with the BBM fiasco (yes, in called it fiasco, because if I called it something polite I'd probably get called out for that) and with the obvious misinterpretation of 'prosumer' by everyone out there, including I'm sure me, he should really show his face. If for no other reason than to tell us what he meant by prosumer. I have my own definition of what I think they meant and as a BlackBerry loving consumer, I don't think it means in won't be able to buy a BlackBerry (as long as they're producing handsets) but I know I'm in the minority. I just hope I'm right. And I wish he'd step out in to the daylight and tell us who actually is right.

    One major plus for him and one major negative:

    Major plus: I love his nickname on the boards. Thor is awesome.

    Major negative: he is too frigging big. When he holds the Z10 and Q10 in photos, they look TINY!!!

    Posted via CB10
    10-11-13 04:03 AM
  4. Omnitech's Avatar
    You might find one or two folks around here who disagree with you on that one, Omni.

    TH inherited a seriously problematic organization that had nowhere near the resources that its top 3 competitors had and have.

    What he did right was recognize the importance of the consumer market to their success. He did a far FAR better job of interfacing with the press than his predecessors did. He did a fabulous job of conserving resources and keeping the company viable and out of debt, which MOST people in the industry and the finance world were convinced was impossible. BlackBerry still has nearly $3 Billion in cash.

    Unfortunately, and once again I think this was largely down to resource constraints and decisions made in prior years, BB10 was feature incomplete and terribly buggy when it shipped, despite the release delays and promises of "perfecting" it. The hardware was fine but not competitive with "top flight cutting edge" devices, which once again, was mostly due to resource limitations.

    (Companies like Samsung, Apple and Google are really in a class by themselves there. All you need to do is look at examples like Nokia's downward spiral and HTC's struggles to see that it is simply VERY VERY difficult to attempt to compete head-to-head with those companies at the hardware level. Blackberry simply is not at that level of hardware competitiveness, and I doubt they ever were. They have always contracted out their product manufacturing and have certainly never had the kind of vertical integration a company like Samsung has, nor Google's massive market power all over the technology landscape, nor the power that Apple has as the world's more valuable company, and now the world's most valuable brand.)

    Then you have what must have been an extremely challenging environment where a huge percentage of the company's staff had been laid off over the past 2 years, and all the management and infrastructural turmoil that inevitably goes along with that. TH inherited a real hot potato, to put it very very lightly.

    As far as mistakes that were made, I don't know enough of the internal details to say with much confidence who or what was responsible, but I would list the following:

    1. Whoever decided (and it may well have been during Lazaridis and Balsillie's tenure) to lay off the legacy OS engineers and try to re-create lots of well-tuned functionality from scratch as if it was the first time the QNX engineers ever saw those technologies, should have their head examined. There was WAY too much re-inventing of things that did not need re-inventing in BB10.
    2. While TH is certainly a much better public face for BlackBerry than Lazaridis or Balsillie ever were, he is no Steve Jobs. BlackBerry really needed someone with vision, charisma, and mass market/pop culture savvy, to compete strategically in the consumer marketplace.
    3. Many people complained about Blackberry marketing, and while I think some complaints about advertisement quality were valid, I think the main problem here was once again - resource constraints. There is NO WAY that BlackBerry has been in a position the last couple of years to compete head-to-head with the advertising budget of companies like Google and Apple. Expecting otherwise is just childish wishful thinking.
    4. BlackBerry under TH might have hoped to leverage the social networking ecosystem to help a bit where their marketing was weak, but over the last year many in those communities turned bitterly against the company, partly because BlackBerry simply didn't have resources devoted to people who could effectively manage their image and placate those people, and due to repeated failures to execute on their product promises. (And guess what: lots of that is once again, down to resource constraints.)
    5. One might argue that they should have had someone at the top who gambled the majority of their cash pile on some kind of massive advertising or product push, but needless to say that's an extremely risky move and you only get ONE opportunity to get that right. TH and/or the board seems to prefer chopping away at the company and keeping it afloat rather than taking such massive risks, in many ways it's hard for me to blame them for that. Especially if they have a viable QNX business that is still competitive in its particular markets.
    bradu1, mset, danprown and 3 others like this.
    10-11-13 04:32 AM
  5. JasW's Avatar
    Fat chance this is going to happen. If people are skeptical of whether Fairfax and Prem Watsa can obtain financing for their proposal, how should they feel about the ability of The Guy Who Drove BlackBerry Into A Ditch to obtain financing? He's already been more or less brushed off by the Carlyle Group.
    anon1727506 likes this.
    10-11-13 05:55 AM
  6. fatkiid's Avatar
    I think the expression is throwing good money after bad.
    10-11-13 09:44 AM
  7. BB10Apps's Avatar
    how come some articles covering this story are saying he is looking to put a bid for "some or all of the company"???would mike really want to split BB ?
    10-11-13 10:55 AM
  8. mset's Avatar
    TH inherited a seriously problematic organization that had nowhere near the resources that its top 3 competitors had and have.

    What he did right was recognize the importance of the consumer market to their success. He did a far FAR better job of interfacing with the press than his predecessors did. He did a fabulous job of conserving resources and keeping the company viable and out of debt, which MOST people in the industry and the finance world were convinced was impossible. BlackBerry still has nearly $3 Billion in cash.

    Unfortunately, and once again I think this was largely down to resource constraints and decisions made in prior years, BB10 was feature incomplete and terribly buggy when it shipped, despite the release delays and promises of "perfecting" it. ....

    Then you have what must have been an extremely challenging environment where a huge percentage of the company's staff had been laid off over the past 2 years, and all the management and infrastructural turmoil that inevitably goes along with that. TH inherited a real hot potato, to put it very very lightly.

    Whoever decided (and it may well have been during Lazaridis and Balsillie's tenure) to lay off the legacy OS engineers and try to re-create lots of well-tuned functionality from scratch as if it was the first time the QNX engineers ever saw those technologies, should have their head examined.
    Seriously, post #79 is probably one of the best posts I've read here. I'm certainly going to link a few others to it.

    My own perception of the mistakes centred largely around the software design decisions and also the bugginess. I wasn't sure why these problems occurred but the Globe & Mail article hinted at it, suggesting that BB10 guys were physically separated from the what was left of the legacy teams.

    In any case, I agree that the right focus was/is the consumer market despite the protestations of many here. It was always going to be tough against GOOG and AAPL but I think they could have done it with the right people in place. If TH did the best he could, what about the CTO and CMO?
    danprown likes this.
    10-11-13 11:09 AM
  9. anon1727506's Avatar
    I hope Mike does investe his whole personal fortune into trying to save BB..... a captain should go down with his ship.


    Mike was a good engineer, he was not a good businessman. Unless he has some quantum processor in his back pocket, there isn't much he can do at this point to turn things around. BlackBerry need a BIG Partner with very DEEP Pockets that would be willing to put a lot of money and other resources into trying to rebuild the brand. Not some investor or investment group that can only scrounge up the bare minim required to buy the company and will be force to raise capital by selling off assets.
    10-11-13 11:13 AM
  10. OzarkaTexile's Avatar
    I hope Mike does investe his whole personal fortune into trying to save BB..... a captain should go down with his ship.
    Forbes estimates his net worth as less than $2B. He's going to need some financing, which means he's going to have to answer to investors.
    10-11-13 11:19 AM
  11. smoothrunnings's Avatar
    The Canadian Press reports BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis is looking at making a potential takeover bid for the smartphone maker together with Douglas Fregin, who helped launch the company, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis looking at potential takeover bid | CTV News
    They should give FairFax a run for their money, though there is suggestion that FairFax may not have the money to begin with.
    10-11-13 11:42 AM
  12. Anilu7's Avatar
    OK, question from someone that's never stepped foot in Canada. It sounds to me like from what u read here that Canada has a pretty nice handhold on business in that they want to keep Canadian business Canadian, a nationalistic policy on business perhaps? In don't know if I'm describing it right. I come from the US where we like to tax and fine our businesses until they're forced to leave the country.

    Anyway, my question, if there is now interest from Prem and Mike that sound like they want to keep BlackBerry going, what are the chances that Canada would step in and stop a Microsoft, Google, or Samsung purchase that would simply gut the company?

    Posted via CB10
    The Canadian government will be watching who is sniffing around for national security reasons as the government uses BlackBerrys heavily.

    Canadian law complicates potential Blackberry sale

    Security Trumping Investment Risks Canada BlackBerry Buyout (1) - Businessweek
    bradu1 likes this.
    10-11-13 12:16 PM
  13. Anilu7's Avatar
    Forbes estimates his net worth as less than $2B. He's going to need some financing, which means he's going to have to answer to investors.
    So why not Laziridis, Fregin and Watsa? That's 26% of the company there if the 16% figure is correct.
    10-11-13 12:23 PM
  14. undone's Avatar
    Mike throwing his hat in the ring might have a more 'BlackBerry is staying together effect' vs just FairFax. The mental difference between a founder and a fund company is big, this above all else is key. You need to remove the fear of dealing with or buying from BlackBerry. Its a death spiral, fear/uncertainty leads to doubt, doubts = less sales.

    Whether it works out or not is something everyone will debate until the close of this in November.
    10-11-13 12:54 PM
  15. RyanGermann's Avatar
    TH inherited a seriously problematic organization that had nowhere near the resources that its top 3 competitors had and have.
    I think the best thing that you can say about Thor is that he wasn't the right guy for the job. I think the right person could have done a much better job than he did, if you take on face value that his job was to make the company a success, not to downsize it and marginalize it into oblivion to make it an attractive takeover target.

    I would say that he did a great job at "making BlackBerry an attractive takeover target".

    EDIT: I have to take that back... if he did a "great" job, the per-share offer price would be significantly higher.
    Last edited by RyanGermann; 10-11-13 at 02:30 PM.
    10-11-13 02:14 PM
  16. Brutal Efficiency's Avatar
    I don't think it's silly at all. Some people are massively invested in their favorite football team. How often do people say 'it's just a game'. People are massively invested in their cars. Do people tell Jay Leno 'it's just a Chevy'. People are massively invested in their motorcycles, would you walk up to a Hells Angel and say 'it's just a bike'?

    I may watch a football game every now and then, my car is just my transportation, I don't ride a motorcycle because I'm a clutz and would die. But I'm on my phone every hour of the day. Read CB like it's a sports page in the newspaper. My phone is my hobby, yet I'm constantly reading 'it's just a phone'. Yes it is just a phone, but it's sonething I enjoy and care about. Just as much as someone cares about their fave team or the mode of transportation they've named after some girl. So if we're here on a Web page devoted to these phones, don't feel silly about it. Just know that some of these people that are telling us it's just phones are probably just waiting until they can start working on their scrapbook again.... and I find that silly.

    Posted via CB10
    I...love...you

    BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]
    bradu1 likes this.
    10-11-13 02:16 PM
  17. danprown's Avatar
    The Globe article suggested it wsa Mike L.'s decision, along the lines of some book which they cited. The articles said it built resentment overnight as the OS guys had the rug pulled out under them.

    Seriously, post #79 is probably one of the best posts I've read here. I'm certainly going to link a few others to it.

    My own perception of the mistakes centred largely around the software design decisions and also the bugginess. I wasn't sure why these problems occurred but the Globe & Mail article hinted at it, suggesting that BB10 guys were physically separated from the what was left of the legacy teams.

    In any case, I agree that the right focus was/is the consumer market despite the protestations of many here. It was always going to be tough against GOOG and AAPL but I think they could have done it with the right people in place. If TH did the best he could, what about the CTO and CMO?
    10-11-13 02:27 PM
  18. bradu1's Avatar
    I...love...you

    BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]
    Lmao! I don't know if that's sarcasm or if I should thank you. Lol

    Posted via CB10
    10-11-13 02:41 PM
  19. Brutal Efficiency's Avatar
    Lmao! I don't know if that's sarcasm or if I should thank you. Lol

    Posted via CB10
    I wasn't being sarcastic. Just the way you put it in those words, I can now see some sense to my addiction.

    BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]
    10-11-13 03:05 PM
  20. bradu1's Avatar
    I wasn't being sarcastic. Just the way you put it in those words, I can now see some sense to my addiction.

    BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]
    Spoken from someone that's been justifying his addiction for some time now. :-)

    Posted via CB10
    10-11-13 03:09 PM
  21. fin2007's Avatar
    TH inherited a seriously problematic organization that had nowhere near the resources that its top 3 competitors had and have.

    What he did right was recognize the importance of the consumer market to their success. He did a far FAR better job of interfacing with the press than his predecessors did. He did a fabulous job of conserving resources and keeping the company viable and out of debt, which MOST people in the industry and the finance world were convinced was impossible. BlackBerry still has nearly $3 Billion in cash.
    [/LIST]

    could not agree more with what the op said.

    Basically once iphone was out in 2007, there was no way BBRY could hold on, Andriod basically rocket speed up the declining of bbry. All others were just noise, no matter how perfectly bbry executes in the last 6 years.

    Even the previous two CEOs they were 100% aware that iphone was a huge threat(forgot about the public talking, just marketing buzz talk), bbry just did not have the ability/talent to develop something like iOS in 3-5 years.

    Even for apple itself, Steve started the idea of combining iPod, mobile phone, iMac into one device really long time ago(I think it was in 2000 or 2001), basically what they did was to scale down Mac OS into a phone and it took them 5+ years.

    BBRY was never really a software company.

    iOS is based on Mac OS and Apple had 30+ years of experiences on that,
    Andriod is based on linux which have the most developers in the world and started in 2003, maybe same time as iOS.
    Last edited by fin2007; 10-11-13 at 03:40 PM.
    10-11-13 03:23 PM
  22. sentimentGX4's Avatar
    TH inherited a seriously problematic organization that had nowhere near the resources that its top 3 competitors had and have.
    Heins could not coordinate the global rollout of BB10. He was unable to competitively price his products. He grossly overestimated BB10 demand resulting in a 1 billion USD write down for the company. Etc. Etc.

    Could BBRY have ever been saved? Who knows. It still doesn't take away from the fact that Heins was a horrible, horrible CEO who exacerbated BBRY's problems and pushed the accelerator on its decline.

    Andriod is based on linux which have the most developers in the world and started in 2003, maybe same time as iOS.
    There were plenty of Linux based smartphone OSes that did not take off. Maemo was a consumer market product from Nokia before Android hit the scene. The amazing talent at Google/Silicon Valley should not be understated.

    I do agree that Blackberry simply wasn't there technology wish. In the tech industry, many software companies can find moderate success developing hardware but almost never the other way around.
    10-11-13 03:49 PM
  23. AluminiumRims's Avatar
    Unfortunately, and once again I think this was largely down to resource constraints and decisions made in prior years, BB10 was feature incomplete and terribly buggy when it shipped, despite the release delays and promises of "perfecting" it. The hardware was fine but not competitive with "top flight cutting edge" devices, which once again, was mostly due to resource limitations.
    BB10 is one of the best fresh operating systems I've seen. If you remember iOS and Android, they were very incomplete and simple in the beginning but more functionality has been added during time while improving stability. Windows Phone is just mediocre and the Microsoft engineers can't even understand fundamental things like separate media and ring volumes. BB10 was much better fresh out of the box than Windows Phone is now after 3 years!

    If BB10 is given some more time it will mature quickly and more functionality will be added. QNX is also a very rewarding OS to add functionality to since it is a microkernel.
    10-11-13 04:29 PM
  24. fin2007's Avatar
    Heins could not coordinate the global rollout of BB10. He was unable to competitively price his products. He grossly overestimated BB10 demand resulting in a 1 billion USD write down for the company. Etc. Etc.

    Could BBRY have ever been saved? Who knows. It still doesn't take away from the fact that Heins was a horrible, horrible CEO who exacerbated BBRY's problems and pushed the accelerator on its decline.

    There were plenty of Linux based smartphone OSes that did not take off. Maemo was a consumer market product from Nokia before Android hit the scene. The amazing talent at Google/Silicon Valley should not be understated.

    I do agree that Blackberry simply wasn't there technology wish. In the tech industry, many software companies can find moderate success developing hardware but almost never the other way around.
    LOL, I said that before, google just has the best talents in the world, but got bashed so hard here.
    10-11-13 05:30 PM
  25. Brutal Efficiency's Avatar
    Spoken from someone that's been justifying his addiction for some time now. :-)

    Posted via CB10
    Pin:2ADA18D9

    If you're not freaked out

    Can always do with more BBM friends

    BlackBerry Bold 9900; Q10; Z10 [BBM#6]
    10-11-13 06:00 PM
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