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BlackBerry CEO forgets the push for emerging markets, says there won't be any budget BlackBerry handsets

Posted: , by Michael H.

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BlackBerry CEO forgets the push for emerging markets, says there won't be any budget BlackBerry handsets
There has been a trend recently for companies that are pretty low in the market share race to abandon low-end devices in favor of catering to the "premium" handset market. We've seen HTC do it, and heard rumors that Sony may as well, but neither of those companies has a strategy built on emerging markets. BlackBerry does, so Thorsten Heins' comments that there won't be any budget BlackBerry 10 handsets comes off very strange to us.

Let's try to follow the logic for a bit: BlackBerry has taken a dive in the market. The only places where the platform still has traction is in emerging markets like south-east Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Emerging markets tend to focus quite a bit on cost, and users in India are already somewhat angry at BlackBerry over the cost of the Z10. And now, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has been quoted as saying:
Understand where you are playing and resist being talked into segments that you know will not serve your purpose and will not result in shareholder value. You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry.
Heins did go on to say that, "You will see new products being launched this year based on BlackBerry 10, all fully LTE-capable, the whole 10 yards, that are more geared towards those price bands where people need to be."

So, what are we to believe? Are we to believe Heins saying that there will be devices "geared towards those price bands where people need to be", or do we believe Heins in saying the company will not be "getting into the $50... phone segment"? Maybe a better question is: does it matter?

BlackBerry has fallen a huge amount. The platform's relaunch with BB10 has yet to hit the US, but it has been released in Europe and other regions, and the success of the new device is unclear, but at the very least it is not the clear-cut hit that the company needed in order to make a real comeback. The company said that it would be focusing on emerging markets to build up the platform's market share, but will not be offering budget handsets that would appeal to those markets. 

It almost feels like BlackBerry really isn't trying to succeed, but rather to focus on "shareholder value", which sounds a bit like code for "selling the company." The strategy that BlackBerry has put forward is unclear and contradictory; the hardware is okay, but not great; and, the software has some good ideas, but seems to lack the execution and polish needed. Thorsten Heins has done an admirable job of trying to right the sinking ship, but it doesn't look like he's on track to succeed, and we may ultimately see the company sold, at least in part, just as we've heard rumored so many times.

source: Bloomberg

20 Comments
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posted on 08 Mar 2013, 12:36 6

1. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5075; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


That's too disappointing!

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 12:41 7

4. tusshharish (Posts: 341; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


bb is following apple.............

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 13:02 4

6. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5075; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


I hope not...

posted on 10 Mar 2013, 14:04 1

24. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1730; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


And Apple wiil also follow BB by losing a considerable market share to Android & WP in the near future .

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 16:51 1

15. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


At this point, I think BlackBerry needs to focus on making a phone that people in the first world will buy instead of trying to stretch themselves into making a good phone for emerging markets. Does it need to happen at some point? Sure. But BlackBerry is on its last leg. Focus on giving us a great product and making sure everyone knows about it. When you do that well, then think about a cheaper smartphone. But right now, play it as though you have no plans to do it...

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 12:39 3

2. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Uphill battle in established markets and zero presence in emerging markets? There is a saying from the 1980's that comes to mind: Smooth move Ex-Lax!

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 12:41 11

3. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)


Blackberry seems to have forgotten the deeds of the asian market that helped them to stay alive. Their phones which are highly popular in Indonesia, South Africa, India and so on is all due to the availability of budget models and BBM.

I dont like to see any company fail unlike some tyrants here asking Nokia and BB to die, but Blackberry might be shooting themselves in their foot with this reckless decision.

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 12:43 4

5. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 271; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)


Blackberry is one the few companies that people have looked at for reliable low cost handset, im surprised and confused by this. Nokia figured it out, why doesn't Blackberry?

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 13:19 1

8. jfuente11 (Posts: 29; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


Weird...

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 13:37 1

9. rustyimtiaz (Posts: 44; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)


the most successful BB was the curve 8520 and it was a budget BB and still ppl buy and use it!! Its popular in developing countries and in Middle East Teens!!! If they stop budget BB then they r losing almost 25%-40% users!!

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 15:12 1

11. apiskula (Posts: 548; Member since: 25 Jan 2013)


Thorsten your an idiot just like your product. I cannot wait until your company goes bankrupt and we never have to hear about blackberry again. It's a pure garbage platform that will die soon!

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 16:07

12. Stuntman (Posts: 711; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Did BB really rise to prominence by making phones costing around $50? My knowledge of smartphone history is pretty week before 2010. That seems to be a rather low price point to try to hit.

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 16:07

13. rusticguy (Posts: 2820; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


But they never had any 60 bucks (INR 3000) phone in India .. did they?

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 17:14 2

16. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Part of Samsung's rise was them offering more low end and mid range phones.

Moto thought it was a good move to do like black berry. BB needs to ask Moto how's that working....

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 19:02 2

17. etuoyo (Posts: 6; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


Cheapest Blackberry as far as I am aware is the Curve and that used to go for around £120. So not sure they really ever had any super budget phone. In fact for me their failure was in large part due to how overpriced their products are. You are doomed to failure if you are selling a Blackberry Bold at around same price as a high end Android phone when all the device is useful for is BB Messenger.

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 22:18 1

19. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 379; Member since: 24 May 2011)


cheapest blackberry phone was the curve. It was sold for around 6k Indian rupees. What 60$ phone are they talking about? In India most people put 10k or 200$ cap on their budget for a phone. They could introduce new phones in that segment.

posted on 08 Mar 2013, 22:44 1

20. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5075; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


The Curve is cheap, but it is still running BB 7 os.

posted on 09 Mar 2013, 01:43 1

21. platformwars (Posts: 65; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)


BB Curve in India sells under 10k($180) and is the best phone in that segment.. by best i dont mean it has the best features.. but it is the best at what it is capable off.. People are buying BB because at this price point all androids are laggy and unattractive.. WP and Nokia are yet to release a handset in this point in India(510 is there.. but we are looking for WP8 handsets).

So if BB wants to continue selling Curve and not release a newer model with the latest OS.. he will drive alot of people of BB for good.. and keep in mind.. BB just doesnt make money on selling phones but also services and plans that are exclusive to BB like BBM n other stuff..

So if they leave out this segment.. they dont only leave out the potential phone sales but also lose on alot of accounts..

I'm related to the Indian Smart Phone Industry so not commenting about other countries but it will be disaster for BB in India if they dont release a budget friendly phone with BB10.

posted on 09 Mar 2013, 04:08

22. taikucing (unregistered)


That's a very bad move from RIM.. Here in southeast Asia, BB is still the most popular phone than android & iphone.. But people here can only afford to buy a $150 - $300 range phone.

posted on 09 Mar 2013, 22:07 1

23. verty (Posts: 101; Member since: 07 May 2012)


I don't think people understand what the CEO said. He simply said we will not release 50 dollar phones. Come on guys has BB ever released a 50 dollar phone. So why are you guys so trgger happy and ready to crucify BB. Sometimes I think many guys on this forum don't think. A company with 80million subscribers should die you advocate!!!! Senseless moron!!! Will you feed the families that have employment with BB. What about the other numerous businesses that derive from BB. Also I want you to know that BB did a good job with the 10. I have it and i like it. Pls give some credit Micheal H and don't rubbish or downgrade the effort that went into this creative effort. Why must we be limited to a duopoly of ios and andriod. Why would you even suggest that these are the only good operating systems. It's crap and your attitude adequately describes bulls..it. Let's have more os's and more for people to enjoy and choose from. Not this highly polarized situation we are in. Sometimes it is so so annoying.

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