BlackBerry Director expects to see the company sold off in parts in order to compete as niche player

BlackBerry Director expects to see the company sold off in parts in order to compete as niche player
BlackBerry director Bert Nordberg says that the Canadian OEM is not going to survive if it tries to challenge iOS and Android. Instead, he says that BlackBerry can survive as a niche player in the industry. Nordberg says that the board has "subsets within the company that it can get rid of," although he wouldn't list which parts of the business he has in mind.

Nordberg, a 57 year old Swede, joined BlackBerry's board in February along with former Verizon executive Richard Lynch. He states that the board understands the value that has been created in enterprise business, hardware functionality and secure communication, but needs to do a better job getting Wall Street to put a realistic value on the company. Admitting that battling the big guys like Apple, Samsung and Google is tough, Nordberg says that BlackBerry should decide to be a specialty player and stick to that decision.


The director says that the company is unique in the smartphone industry. "BlackBerry is strong on the enterprise business, its products are NSA-proof in the sense that you can't intercept their communication, its handsets' keyboards have many fans around the globe, and the company has a leading worldwide data network," and while he has attended only three board meetings, the special committee of the board talks weekly and Nordberg believes that they all share his view of BlackBerry.

There are many different things that the board could decide. It could sell off the enterprise business to a large computer company like IBM, sell off the handsets business to an upstart Chinese manufacturer like Lenovo, and possibly keep software. No matter how you slice it, BlackBerry will probably not look the same in 6 to 12 months. The board could decide to see how the 5 inch top-shelf BlackBerry Aristo fares when it is launched in November as expected, but why delay the obvious?

Nordberg has a history of turning around companies. He helped turn around Swedish networker Ericsson in the early 2000's in part by axing 60,000 jobs or more than half the payroll. As CEO of Sony Ericsson, he saw the handwriting on the wall and sold Ericsson's stake to the Japanese OEM. Last year, as CEO of Denmark's wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S, he had to oversee thousands of  job cuts to help right the ship.


If Nordberg's emergence makes BlackBerry employees nervous about their job security, its understandable. But sometimes jobs need to be eliminated to make a company stronger. "Sure, I've been involved in cutting many jobs in my career. But flipping the coin, I'd like to remind people that if a company like Ericsson hadn't been saved, thousands of jobs would have disappeared forever. Ericsson is now back being a company with over 100,000 employees."

source: WSJ

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22 Comments

1. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

When I read Nordberg, I think O. J. Simpson in The Naked Gun. I guess that's just the curse I'll have to live with...

16. snowgator

Posts: 3624; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Man, the OJ scene in the beginning of the first "Naked Gun" still makes me laugh .....

2. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

This is sad. I love Blackberry, but you have to change with the times guys. You rode that 3.2 mp camera and half gig of Ram for way longer than you should have. It's really gonna take a miracle to save them, and Blackberry OS 10 just ain't that miracle they're in need of.

3. Jurdiales

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

That makes me think that Blackberry planned its own death all this time, like someone from inside that doesn't want this company to survive...

4. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

makes sense. Stock markets have the ability to profit off shorting a company, basically predicting that their stock will dive. Definitely some heads profited off this company's decline, which was very real but much faster than it should have technically been, since despite declining sales, were financially strong and were still making profits for the most part.

20. Jurdiales

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

I'm still with the idea that Google can save Blackberry. Why? Because Blackberry is a good device manufacturer, they can make excellent devices with top spec hardware... if they wanted to do it, they're pioneers on keyboard-devices, for my opinion Motorola is the second-best, BB10 is good, but Blackberry is not on condition to risk all on their own OS, sure, BB10 can make it thru their time and be an excellent OS like iOS and Android, but Blackberry itself CAN'T afford time and money to make that possible, Nokia was on a similar situation like Blackberry now, but they had Micro$oft as their backer, that's because Nokia survived, they had plenty of capital and WP7/8 to survive, Blackberry is completely alone, why? because they wanted that way... it's like a suicide advise.

5. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

They have to keep out of the news when it's not related to new hardware/software IMO. In my eyes, these guys just drive the death nail in deeper by talking outside of the boardroom before clear direction has been decided upon.

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

What if no buyers show up for the parts? For example, why would anyone credible make an offer for the BB handset business? This is just digging a deeper hole. :-(

7. ronmendez

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 30, 2013

If blackberry wants to compete with other smart phones they better start by firing whoever approved the design of their phones. When I first used a blackberry phone it was still popular, but I knew from the start that it wouldn't last against iPhone and android phones.

8. Mr.Mr.Upgrade

Posts: 474; Member since: Aug 30, 2011

Apples next the same thing going too happen to them

9. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I won't say it won't ever happen to Apple, but to say they're next is absurd. I could see it happening to HTC or MAYBE Nokia, but this won't happen to Apple for a long time.

13. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I don't see Apple going next either but if they don't keep on their toes, I could see them become a niche player.

21. mcshank

Posts: 47; Member since: Apr 24, 2013

They are slowly becoming a Niche player. I dont see as many iphones today as I did 2-3 years ago. I see more samsung / android. I work with phones and I have more people stating they either 1. dislike apple, 2. Dislike iphones 3. Went to android due to Iphones not changing anything. VS going to iphone from android. And Windows phones, Well I dont see alot of them but damnit, I have not talked to 1 person who had one say they disliked them at all which is good for the OS since it is needing that loyalty to be built

17. snowgator

Posts: 3624; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I have said for two years, trying to compete in this climate doing both software and hardware is long term suicide. You just can't adjust to market demands or your competitors improvements quickly enough. Apple is apparently about to be the last company to continue to try and do both. They still have a HUGE user base and amazing ecosystem to stay competitive. But so did BlackBerry. Apple has shown a willingness to adjust. But I just can't see them as successful as they are now in three years if they do not show more flexibility to adjust to those market demands.

10. kindlefireowner

Posts: 504; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Apple next? You do realize that Apple is making billions of dollars in profit every month. Don't forget about the 150 billion dollars of cash Apple has banked.

11. TROLL

Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Where is Wendygarret, Nicolas Oliver, Apiskula, Extasy ™

12. Glim12808

Posts: 394; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

If the board is going to pin their hopes on the Z30/Aristo, then they're all delusional. That so-called premium phone is DOA against all the fabulous phones coming at year's end.

14. GeekMovement unregistered

Blackberry is so weak. Blackberry Q10 just arrived on Sprint and their old history bold 9930 is still $99 on contract. Ridiculous, overpricing is right.

15. ihatesmartphone unregistered

Bye bye Blackberry, I will miss you so much ;)

18. snowgator

Posts: 3624; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Sad, sad, sad. Using BB10 really made me happy. Gesture based, intuitive, and original. It was a distant cousin to WebOS, another OS that deserved better. I will admit to wishful thinking when I said I would consider a BB10 device if it was supported. I have always liked BB's hardware quality and secure systems. It was just the kind of OS that was different and fun. But, enterprise is BB best bet, and it is hard to see them coming back into the consumer market strong. It has been a half hearted effort all along. Sad, sad, sad.

19. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1253; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

So what I got from this is DONT buy a blackberry device right now!

22. profperez1

Posts: 76; Member since: May 08, 2012

I think Apple is listening to users and watching what is flying off the shelf. I think in 2014 you will see many different iOS options when you go shopping. Jobs told people what they wanted----without concern for the growing Android market. For myself I love the idea of Android---and open source----but this all falls short on a day to day basis----especially as the gadget ages. The resell prices on Android doesn't hold.

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