If new BlackBerry has no buyers, does it exist?
Aiming for third place behind Apple and Android smartphones doesn't seem like a winning strategy.
The new Z10 smartphone was unveiled nearly two months ago and is just as much a technology upgrade as an operating system improvement. The new smartphone is supposed to be BlackBerry's answer to Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Google's (GOOG) Android phones. The company is vying for third place, meaning its direct competitor are phones that run the Windows 8 operating system.
That's all well and good, but BlackBerry is taking serious chances with this -- and it chooses to drop the phone so shortly after Samsung launches its Galaxy S4. The new Galaxy is direct competition for Apple and Google -- what was BlackBerry thinking?
OK, let's take a look at BlackBerry for a second. The company's stock closed Monday at $14.23, down almost 5%. There are rumors that "an established partner" just ordered 1 million BlackBerrys, and speculation says it's Brightstar, a company whose business is distributing smartphones to retailers.
But the market doesn't seem encouraged. Goldman Sachs downgraded the company on Monday to "neutral" from "buy," and set a price target of $17.
There is always the question as to whether BlackBerry has the chops to make a new operating system work. The company had the lion's share of the early (business) smartphone market -- but that was then.
The BlackBerry brand fell out of favor as more people turned toward touch screens and phones that act more like personal assistants than telephones, and that trend has only accelerated. Late last year, the company lost 1 million customers in just one quarter, prompting a 48% drop in revenue in its fiscal third quarter.
BlackBerry still has some standing in government agencies, but even that is on the decline. In August 2009, more than 77% of federal managers carried a BlackBerry. By September 2011, that figure had dipped to less than 50%. In May 2012, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program manager Stefan Leeb said his group was no longer buying BlackBerrys and that there was an intention in place for his agency to be off those systems by June 1. And NOAA isn't the only government agency with a change of heart.
In October, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement opted to provide agents with Apple's iPhone, saying: "The devices provide critical, mission support services for ICE personnel and provide modern communication and personal computing services. Examples are: call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling, caller ID, voice mail messaging, geospatial services, and picture/video capabilities."
Plus, with the launch of the BlackBerry Z10, the company is revamping its fees, allowing customers more flexibility in choosing which services they want -- but is the launch of a new product right after losing so many customers really the best idea?
It seems more likely that BlackBerry is clutching at straws.
The BlackBerry Z10 offers very little relative to the competition. The new smartphone weighs almost an ounce more than Apple's iPhone, and marginally more than the Samsung Galaxy S4 despite being smaller than the latter and only slightly bigger than the former. It has limited internal storage, at just 16 GB, and offers no greater speeds or resolution than its rivals. Even its icons are small -- which could make the phone less user-friendly.
Moreover, BlackBerry is already behind the curve in some ways. Its products do not offer some of the features that are rapidly becoming standard in the smartphone market -- meaning it is already out-of-date.
Take indoor mapping, for example. It likely will be the next big craze in mobile technology. Google currently offers the capability but only in some locations, such as airports, malls and sports venues. Apple only just entered the game. Apple recently paid around $20 million to acquire indoor-GPS company WifiSLAM, which could mean that an iPhone update is coming. If you are launching a new phone with a new operating system and you really need to make it work, wouldn't you try to offer a product that has features your competitors don't?
I really doubt the abilities of any company that aims for third place, even if there is a company out there willing to buy a million phones at once.
I say, get out now -- or at least soon. I highly doubt BlackBerry is even going to reach Goldman's $17 target. The company's stock has a 50-day moving average of $14.46. Anything over that, sell. There are better places to put your money.
At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
More from TheStreet.com
"There is always the question as to whether BlackBerry has the chops to make a new operating system work."
Umm ...hello?, it's already working, and has been working on PlayBook for two years. QNX has been working since 1982.
"is the launch of a new product right after losing so many customers really the best idea?"
Uh, no of course not - they should just roll over and die.
"it chooses to drop the phone so shortly after Samsung launches its Galaxy S4."
Actually the phone was "dropped" January 30th.
"The BlackBerry brand fell out of favor as more people turned toward touch screens and phones that act more like personal assistants than telephones"
"The [iphone] devices provide critical, mission support services for ICE personnel and provide modern communication and personal computing services. Examples are: call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling, caller ID, voice mail messaging, geospatial services, and picture/video capabilities."
All of which Blackberry excels at (t-e-l-e-p-h-o-n-e), especially secure communications.
"OK, let's take a look at BlackBerry for a second."
Yes, that is clearly about how long you've looked at it. ..psst.. (Blackberrys have touchscreens now and have worked as Personal Assistants long before the iPhone was a gleam in Steve Jobs *i* ) ...shhh!
"I really doubt the abilities of any company that aims for third place"
unless it's Windows 8? - everyone else should aim for first place, second place, fourth place or drop dead ... WTF?
"If the new Blackberry has no buyers, does it exist?"
As of yesterday, The new BlackBerry is the number one selling smartphone on Amazon . Check it out.
"It seems more likely that BlackBerry is clutching at straws."
It seems more likely the author is clutching at straws. Please don't write about something you know nothing about, just to express your bias and hate. At least do some research.
Geez....why did I read this inane dribble.
"It has limited internal storage, at just 16 GB, and offers no greater speeds or resolution than its rivals." lol. unbiased critic conveniently failed to mention that BB10 is expandable.
"Its products do not offer some of the features that are rapidly becoming standard in the smartphone market -- meaning it is already out-of-date." lol. maybe because BB10 runs on QNX which allows it to become the new standard of mobile computing, not just an evolutionary gadget smart phone.
"I say, get out now -- or at least soon. I highly doubt BlackBerry is even going to reach Goldman's $17 target." Let's hold him to his word, shall we?
.. what a joke.
On serious terms though, where did the original phone go? I thought phones were used for communication. Not for digital finger painting and digitally sending a check to your bank.... get off your lazy butts and go to the bank yourself!
But anyways, people really need to give blackberry a chance. The only reason it's not getting bought as often is because of articles like these with false information which reaches every gullible human being's ears who base all their information on biased critic reviews instead of PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I love blackberry and I will continue to buy them.
Literally the only thing I can complain about blackberry is that they do not have skype (but supposedly are working on it) and a few other necessary apps. But the silly stuff I can live without.
It points to limited storage, at 16GB, which also isn't true, it's expandable. The iPhone, and Nexus 4 (a popular phone) have the same storage capacity and no option to expand.
Indoor mapping? No one cares. I'm not even a Blackberry fanatic, nor an owner. Just someone who is up-to-date with technology. No one cares about indoor mapping. That was the only "standard feature" offered as an example of being behind the curve. And with the Z10's specs, it is not behind the curve.
This writer just sounds miserable.
Hahaha, love the title,
Good bye Blackberry, I hardly knew thy.
And old people please, I know the blackberry was a good friend in the early 2000's, but it does not hold up. That is not an insult against you, so please tame the rage you are now feeling. It does not mean you are obsolete, only your blackberry's
Go look at the comparison videos online, not only does the blackberry z10 lose every competition, it freezes up doing basic tasks in every video I have seen to date.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Only one of these troubled companies is worth owning, says Jim Cramer.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.