This week, Research in Motion officially became known as BlackBerry Ltd. But will the name change really change anything for this struggling company? It’s hard to say.
BlackBerry’s woes have multiplied of late, with personnel changes, price cuts and stakeholder dissatisfaction making headlines. Just this month, two long-time board members announced they will be stepping down, while CEO Thorsten Heins continues to ask shareholders for patience as the company tries to reinvent itself and compete with its successful rivals.
On the smartphone market front, BlackBerry’s struggles continue. According to Gartner, BlackBerry's market share has dwindled from over 50 percent in 2009 to less than 3 percent. BlackBerry’s newest device, the Z10, has already lost its luster. US smartphone carriers including AT&T and Verizon have slashed prices from $199 to just $99, less than four months after the phone’s initial release. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy are doing one better, and selling the phones for as low as $49 under contract.
To make matters worse, speculation is that BlackBerry is also planning to cut more jobs, signaling to many that the company is a long way from rebounding. There is positive news, however. Believe it or not, BlackBerry revenue was up 15 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the previous quarter.
The company also recently announced it sold 18,000 iterations of its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 since its launch at the beginning of the year. More than 60 percent of US Fortune 500 companies have deployed BES 10 or are currently testing it, demonstrating the company has yet to relinquish its hold on the enterprise market. As you'll recall, the Z10 must be managed by the BES 10.
So, what’s next?
Only time will tell what the cards hold for BlackBerry and whether the organization will be able to bounce back and play a competitive role in the enterprise and consumer smartphone markets. Stay tuned!
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