BlackBerry share price tumbles to pre-BB10 levels

BlackBerry share price tumbles to pre-BB10 levelsIs this the beginning of the end for BlackBerry? That's what a lot of people are asking after the company's share price lost more than a quarter of its value on the back of Friday's grisly Q1 earnings report.

The BlackBerry share price on the NASDAQ closed at $10.46 on Friday, down 27.8% for the day, and is trading at the kind of levels last seen six months ago.

Problem is BlackBerry at that point hadn't released a meaningful new product in a year, and had just been through a major downsizing in a bid to reduce costs, whereas today there's little left to cut, and no shiny new OS on the way to springboard the company back to its former greatness.

That new OS is already here, and many investors clearly don't think it can get the job done.

The main criticism is that the new BlackBerry 10 handsets are simply too expensive. Sure, the Z10 and Q10 are premium devices, but when you're average Android phone maker can knock out quad-core handsets of an acceptable quality for half the price a BB10 device will set you back, you've got a problem.

But are the naysayers jumping the gun? After all, the figures cover the period from March to May (BlackBerry's internal Q1 2014 quarter), but the flagship Z10 was only available in certain markets for that whole period. As for the Q10, it only went on sale, again in selected markets, at the end of April, so will only have contributed a small number of the 2.72m BB10 handsets shipped over the quarter.

Then there's the more downmarket Q5, which is just appearing now to appeal to mid-range QWERTY lovers put off by the high price of the Q10, with a cheaper variation on the all-touch Z10 expected too in due course.

Factor all that in and things aren't looking that bad, even if they aren't entirely looking good either.

The bigger problem is how does BlackBerry match tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony (to name but a few) when it comes to the resources it can throw at marketing, R&D and developer incentives.

The quality of the BlackBerry 10 hardware and software isn't in dispute, and unlike with fellow “fallen giant” Nokia, very little criticism can be levelled at the man in charge, Thorsten Heins.

But success in the mobile industry is hard to come by right now unless you're Apple or Samsung, and for all the talk of a third ecosystem by Microsoft and BlackBerry, there's nothing guaranteeing success for either of them.

And for BlackBerry's part anyway, there aren't too many cards in the deck still to play.

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JanSt / MOD  Jul. 1, 2013 at 15:56

When I got the Z10, I was ready for 50 shades of compromise. I had owned various Bolds etc... and I had read numerous reviews. Had BB10 turned out to be BB7Plus - with extra finger-friendliness, I would have been okay.
But nope.
It is poor. How they can claim it was delayed by a year is beyond me. It feels as if they only spent a total of 2 months to clubber it together. WebOS 1.0 felt more finished, more consistent, and definitely more faster.
When Nokia tried to torpedo the iPhone with the N97, it was less of a let-down.
If BB had used all the money they pumped into hyping BB10 into app development and UI improvements, maybe they could have had something usable.

True story: a friend bought a Z10 thinking, hey, if I don't like it, I can resell it. So after 2 weeks he put it on various buy and sell sites. At 90% of what he had paid on PAYG. Nothing. No offer for 3 weeks. No offer when he went down to 60%... eventually he tried a pawnshop where (this is true) the russian clerk smiled and said, "BB10? Who on earth pays money for that stuff?" That is a shop that displays VHS recorders and 2nd-hand nosehair trimmers...
That is Blackberry's big hope!

BBDale  Jul. 1, 2013 at 17:30

I love my Q10. It's easy to use, great memory, and I like the fact I am supporting a Canadian company. Folks need to give Blackberry a solid period of time to regroup and re-position.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 1, 2013 at 17:47

I love my Q10. It's easy to use, great memory, and I like the fact I am supporting a Canadian company. Folks need to give Blackberry a solid period of time to regroup and re-position.
BB7 was delayed and it was supposed to be a solid update to the eco-system... BB10 was over a year late, and??? It's not like the iPhone and Android devices were launched last year, is it? Blackberry went through the Torches and Storms and Bold Touch. Blackeberry had an app store type of thing before iOS and Android! Where are they now?

BB10 has Twitter baked into the OS, but there is no Twitter client for BB10 that can compete with even basic free Symbian or MeeGo clients. No multiple accounts or no image upload (WTF?!) or both... The UI is part of the OS and after a year of delays and now 3 updates, it is still ludicrously inconsistent - swipe or no swipe? Minimise apps with a swipe but, ahem, kill them by hitting a small "x"... One by one, of course.

Nah, here's what we do: we include Android compatibility. And port some 2nd class apps! Yay. And we make the 4.3-in Z10 chunkier than the first 4.3-in devices that hit the market 2 1/2 years ago. And, pah...who needs Gorilla Glass? Z10 owners don't mind scratched screens.

Seriously. They had time. They had all the feedback they needed - from BB users and from 6 years of iOS and Android users. They had Nokia's failings to learn from. They had Palm's and HP's failings to learn from! They had their own ridiculous pricing policies to learn from...

A definition of madness is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome"!


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