Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 29th Aug 2013 03:50 UTC
QNX According to a Computerworld article, BlackBerry is exploring putting itself up for sale, as the company falls into 4th place in the mobile market. IDC statistics that show Android leads the mobile market with nearly 80%, iOS has 13.2%, Windows Phone 3.7%, and BlackBerry 2.9%. Gartner analyst Bill Menezes states that even new ownership is "not going to address how the company restores itself."

One key asset BlackBerry owns is QNX, the real-time based OS it bought in 2010. QNX is microkernel based, versus the monolithic kernel used by many OS's like Linux. BlackBerry bases its tablet and phone OS's on QNX, which also remains a popular commercial OS for embedded systems.
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Although we, the users, can second guess the strategy of an innovating company, it should not do so it-self.

Of course it should. What does that even mean? Any company which isn't actively thinking about its long term prospects will be dead in the long term.

BBRY is a chief example of how they had the advantage of hindsight (seeing Nokia wallow in MeeGo for years, seeing Palm crumble)and still did not adapt their strategy.

It was a bold move to go it alone, and would've been historic if they had achieved it. Ultimately, the CEO took a gamble and lost.

Partnering with Microsoft did not seem to fit. Microsoft needed a brand with high recognition in the hand-set consumers market and they got it with Nokia. Black Berry has traditionally been a brand aimed at the corporate market.

Microsoft taking a two pronged approach would have benefited both Windows Phone and BBRY. They get to diversify out of Nokia (who currently controls 80% of the market, which is Samsungesque and unhealthy) and BBRY gets a ready made ecosystem and support from Microsoft who basically prints money.

Black Berry did not rolled-out their current OS. They bought it (QNX). What they did was to adapt it to a mobile environment with touch interface and seeing this as a better solution than doing the same with their own in-house developed stuff which they had at the time.

Oh come on. QNX netted them the barebones. A full end to end mobile OS took a lot of work on their part which you admit. There is more engineering than just "a mobile touch screen". There's an entire platform and SDK, despite using ready made parts like Qt.

The tooling, documentation, and infrastructure to support all of it has to be in place ,and that isn't cheap. Then you need to go out and evangelize a platform which has 0 devices out there (a hard proposition even for Microsoft who has the advantage of infinite cash).

QNX is still a contender in the real-time OS arena. And now, much of the grunt work for a touch interface and mobile networking has been done.

QNX being used in cars is absolutely useless to BBRY's mobile prospects.

The PlayBook venture, albeit turning out to be a dead-end by it-self, has likely strengthened the BB10 user experience. The hardware design could be "recycled" as a front for interacting with a QNX run device.

That's nice, but so far that has been a fruitless venture. Where is a Playbook running BB10? Does BBRY have the cash, or fortitude to stick it out while their ecosystem grows? Obviously the answer is no.

BB10 and Android have the same conceptual root kernel - Unix via QNX on one hand and Linux on the other hand. Could a BB10/Android cross-development environment make things easier for Apps developers?

That already exists, and no it didn't make it easier. It flooded the app store with low quality bullshit which hurt discoverability and hurt the user experience for end users. The paradigms introduced by Android apps don't necessarily map to those of BB10.

There is the messaging service which generates revenues. There were rumours of development of Android and iOS Apps to connect to this service. Have these Apps materialized?

No. Not yet. They are just starting to even announce them. What's extraordinarily depressing is that BBRY's only shining star is that they might one day become a WhatsApp competitor.

Examining the sale of the whole or the parts is a tool which may lead to a better Black Berry with a higher probability of a long-term future.

BBRY can cut off the dead weight, but it would likely mean divesting from mobile devices and focusing on niche services to extract revenue. That's if they act fast.

For example, there was a report that enterprises in Australia where swapping out BBRY contracts for Windows Phones. That's dangerous for BBRY and could undermine future plans to play a role in the enterprise.

It's not yet over for the mobile ecosystem. However, BlackBerry should no longer dream of being the dominant one. Can being a niche player still be a profitable venture? We will find out soon enough.

I'm convinced they can be profitable, but I don't think it will be in mobile handsets. Maybe supplementing Android and iOS roll outs in the enterprise, secure messaging via BBM, etc might be their way forward.

This is sad. BBRY is/was burning but they never jumped off of the burning platform.

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