It seems we may be nearing the end of a long and tortuous death march by Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry. After attempting to beat Apple and its own game, then talking about doing a Dell and going private, BlackBerry is now putting out the “For Sale” sign.

Underlining its latest move, BlackBerry’s biggest investor resigned from the company’s board. However, with a market share hovering near 0 percent, will the smartphone maker attract a buyer?…

In a Monday statement, the Waterloo, Canada-based company announced it has formed a special committee to investigate its options. Those options include an outright sale, a joint venture, partnership, or something completely different.

“Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives,” BlackBerry board member Timothy Dattels said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Translated, the statement indicates BlackBerry knows it can’t compete with either Apple or Android and wants to put itself on the auction block while its BBM technology is still worth something.

It is interesting that Dattels is heading the exploratory committee. A senior partner in the private equity firm (read: private buyout experts) TPG Capital and a former top executive at RBC Capital Markets, Dattels caused a bit of a flurry among investors when he joined the board in 2012.

The worry – that Dattels might sell BlackBerry – seemed just a bit too early.

Too late was BlackBerry’s Z10, which attempts to compete with the iPad but without much success. The other problem was BlackBerry was caught flat-footed by Apple and Android, turning a lead in smartphone mindshare into a continual drain of customers. In response to shrinking revenue, BlackBerry has slashed its costs, performing a rather public lobotomy on its organization.

Will a buy-out of some sort help BlackBerry?

Short-term, yes.

The company’s shares rose 9.4 percent in early trading, Reuters reported Monday. However, analysts don’t expect talk of a new owner to help BlackBerry’s long-term prospects.

Take BMO analyst Tim Long told

While a change in structure could result in a higher stock price in the near term, we do not envision any changes that would help BlackBerry reverse the significant smartphone share loss or rapid decline in service revenues.

What might help is if BlackBerry found a winner.

A potential advantage might be its BlackBerry 10 software. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has mentioned BlackBerry 10 as the bright spot in the company’s portfolio.

We are seeing BlackBerry shift more towards a software and services provider. The company has recently announced plans to offer its BlackBerry Messaging service as an app for iOS and Android. Secure Work Space for iOS and Android was also unveiled.

Let’s face it: BlackBerry just doesn’t get touch screens – the present and future of smartphones. But as Google has found, hardware is only half of a successful handset. This isn’t the first time a manufacturer has cut its hardware ties to focus on software and services.

We’ve seen it with IBM and other PC makers battered by the plummeting market for hardware. BlackBerry still can produce innovative smartphone software, and that – not its out-of-step hardware – will be what the company offers a new buyer.

  • mnm221988

    And in other news, Apple buys RIM for 2 dollars.

  • Damian W

    You wrote … z10 competes with iPad? Not iPhone?

    • Gorgonphone

      its dead

    • Matthew Cleveland

      I thought it was strange as well. I thought Z10 was more of a phone and not a tablet.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Too bad, bye BBRY. Better sell off the titanic.

  • Mounir Toumi

    let’s face it, everyone had known this since iPhone

  • Liam Mulcahy

    suck a fat one blackberry

  • Boss

    Google should have purchase Blackberry instead of Motorola

    • Falk M.

      What for? Google bought Moto for patents. Quite a lot of them and quite big ones.

      Blackberry might have patents as well, but not nearly as significant ones as Motorola.

  • Patrick


  • Rowan09

    Well I’ve been saying this since 2007 Blackberry didn’t take the iPhone seriously and then allowed Android to take its spot as well. I think Apple should buy them if the price is right, to improve security, IOS features, and email.

  • Huntz

    They are about a year or two too late with this business plan.

  • Eric

    Funny how the “Big Dogs” like BB and even I’ll throw in Microsoft in on this are failing due to their “old ways”.

    Does anyone remember when Apple was on the brink of failure, just about a decade ago their stock shares fell below $10/share!

    Everyone was expecting Apple to fail since their market share was dwindling, and Microsoft was a GIANT in the industry.

    Black Berry (RIM) was really starting to dominate the mobile phone market – especially with large corporate clients – remember the term “crack-berry”?

    So, should BB sell themselves and give up? Or, should they dig deep and reinvent themselves by bringing in “fresh perspectives” like Apple did with bringing back Steve.

    • Gorgonphone

      yup thats when steve came back and saved them…. who will save apple this time?

      • Ive

      • Gorgonphone

        nah he makes funny looking UIs.. eh sucks.. needs to stick to hardware

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        he does hardware too

      • Eric

        Maybe the United States Taxpayers – as Apple is “too big to fail”…

    • mrgerbik

      most people here wouldn’t remember because most people here are under 18 – easy to tell by the reading the comments

  • Taf Khan

    Will any of RIM’s patents be thrown into the mix… Could be worth more than the OS itself..

  • Gorgonphone

    i would consider letting it die..

  • jocastro

    just get ride of it

  • Kamrul

    Finally, hate BB phones

  • Sokrates

    Apple should really consider buying Blackberry and beefing up their security. Especially as they’re trading incredibly cheap now. This could be a huge leap towards business customers.

  • Benben

    Why is there a video of a battery tutorial?..

  • User

    Why don’t blackberry just put android on their phones? It might help them.

    • Gil

      Because BlackBerry fingerprint it is the OS, if they throwaway BlackBerry OS and replace it with android then they become a hardware producer instead of a software developer … that’s barney style for those who can’t understand the existence of BlackBerry… forget the hardware, think of the OS features and security aspects… those are the selling points for BlackBerry.

  • Ted Forbes

    To little to late BB. I hate to see the death of another giant, but its just to bad. Even though I owned a few the device and functions always felt awkward to me, what I mean is it I didn’t feel comfortable using it, so I never use it. Otherwise I would have been glad to help save the BB.

  • JH

    Duhh…. OLD School Phone Maker still alive??? I thought Bold 9900 was their last product!