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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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 29th Aug 2013 10:51 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

The biggest tragedy in all of this is how avoidable it all was. BBRY didn't have to roll their own OS, or try to bootstrap their own ecosystem.

Qt didn't save them, the hoards of Qt developers never materialized. Android compatibility for apps didn't save them as that just got them foreign feeling, badly performing apps. Certainly full multitasking wasn't the draw they hoped it was, or physical keyboards.

BBRY needed a strong partner with loads of cash, but they stubbornly and foolishly turned down Microsofts olive branch. Now they will die, Nokia will live, and the Canadian former powerhouse will be picked apart by the vultures.

The most valuable thing left there are the patents.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nelson
by lucas0 on Thu 29th Aug 2013 11:22 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
lucas0 Member since:
2012-04-20

How many Microsoft shares do you have?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 29th Aug 2013 11:29 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Zero. How many BBRY stock do you own? I hope the answer is the same, for reasoning I cite above.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Nelson
by dpJudas on Thu 29th Aug 2013 11:44 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

BBRY needed a strong partner with loads of cash, but they stubbornly and foolishly turned down Microsofts olive branch. Now they will die, Nokia will live, and the Canadian former powerhouse will be picked apart by the vultures.


Only Nelson could write something like this while keeping a straight face.

Reply Parent Score: 13

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 29th Aug 2013 12:08 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Nokia outsold BBRY and has been posting double digit gains for three consecutive quarters. If the trend continues, they'll crack the Top 5 OEMs before the year ends. All indicators suggest the trend will indeed continue into Q3.

Meanwhile BBRY will go the way of Palm. Inconvenient truth for you or not, but that's how things are going.

This is what Nokia would be going through had they stuck with MeeGo.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Soulbender on Thu 29th Aug 2013 15:11 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Uh, what? In hindsight there's no doubt RIM's future would have been much brighter by now if they had accepted MS offer. The harsh truth is that they missed the boat and no-one gives a shit about BBRY any more, not even the enterprise customers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by bassbeast on Thu 29th Aug 2013 20:57 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Why do you say that? Nokia has already gotten a couple of billion from MSFT in advertising, last i checked their sales have been going up for the past couple of quarters and MSFT has deep enough pockets to subsidize if not outright give Lumia phones to the carriers for free, all that is a great boon to Nokia.

Like it or not Nokia will live on if nothing else as the mobile hardware division of MSFT while RIM bleeds out with sales dropping and nothing really compelling on the horizon. With MSFT having a virtual lock on the enterprise market RIM was VERY stupid not to partner with MSFT but instead I have a feeling they'll go the way of Palm.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by nej_simon on Fri 30th Aug 2013 07:58 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
nej_simon Member since:
2011-02-11

BBRY needed a strong partner with loads of cash, but they stubbornly and foolishly turned down Microsofts olive branch. Now they will die, Nokia will live, and the Canadian former powerhouse will be picked apart by the vultures.


In that case they would be just another Microsoft OEM battling with Nokia over the little interest consumers have shown Windows Phone, while being dependant on cash from redmond. Microsoft on the other hand would assimilate blackberry technologies to improve their own services. I'm not sure that's so much better.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Fri 30th Aug 2013 13:51 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


In that case they would be just another Microsoft OEM battling with Nokia over the little interest consumers have shown Windows Phone, while being dependant on cash from redmond.


A possibility, but also a possibility is that they could've grown their own share apart from Nokia. The market is certainly big enough for both Nokia to sell and for BBRY to sell. Especially if they targeted different segments of the market.

Its impossible to know now things would've actually turned out, but I don't think it could've been much worse or tragic than this.



Microsoft on the other hand would assimilate blackberry technologies to improve their own services. I'm not sure that's so much better.


BBRY technologies like BES would almost certainly be phased out in favor of EAS. One could argue maybe BBM could've been integrated when it mattered, but I'm not really sure it does.

Those two things aside its unclear to me what BBRY could bring to the table, this would more than likely have been a greater benefit to BBRY than to MSFT.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 30th Aug 2013 17:26 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

BBRY needed a strong partner with loads of cash, but they stubbornly and foolishly turned down Microsofts olive branch.


I seem to remember that Palm tried a similar approach & it wasn't exactly a resounding sucess for them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treo_700wx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Treo_800w

Now they will die, Nokia will live, and the Canadian former powerhouse will be picked apart by the vultures.

The most valuable thing left there are the patents.


If it turns out anything like the Nortel aftermath, then you should be applauding - because there's a good chance that Microsoft will be one the vultures picking over RIM's corpse.

Reply Parent Score: 2

BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Although we, the users, can second guess the strategy of an innovating company, it should not do so it-self.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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. We will just have to wait and see what comes out of the exercise. The patent portfolio may/may not be a distinct saleable part depending on how much of QNX and BB10 are based on it.

I can't avoid comparing the current charts of size of mobile ecosystems to those of the desktop operating systems from the mid-1990s. Then, Windows was dominant with MacOS being a far second and many other ones (like AmigaOS) being on the verge of extinction and the next big ideas (like BeOS and NextStep) were just emerging.

We all know how the desktop ecosystem has evolved.

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

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.

Reply Parent Score: 2