Once it was clear that BlackBerry’s future as a consumer tech manufacturer was in doubt, there were several options open to the Waterloo based company. It could either struggle on and eventually die out with a whimper, re-focus strategy or sell out. Selling could obviously have been undertaken in a vast number of ways. One of those was to sell its valuable assets off piece-by-piece. And BlackBerry has plenty of them. As one of the early innovators in the world of smartphones, BBerry has a good number of patents useful to a whole load of other companies.
According to Reuters, BlackBerry’s board of directors rejected bids from companies like Apple, Microsoft and Lenovo (among others). These companies were each after some of its patents, some of which – I’m sure – would have been of great importance, even if its only use was to enable Apple – or whoever – to charge license fees for their use.
“A BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment on the board’s deliberations, and it is not known what specific proposals were rejected by directors during the company’s three-month-long review of strategic options. Microsoft, Apple and the other tech companies have all declined to comment on the matter.”
Until very recently, BlackBerry had looked certain to be sold off to investors. Rumors were that a Canadian insurance company, Fairfax, and even the company’s two founders were looking to raise money for a bid to buy the company out. Instead, BBerry shocked everyone when it turned around and stated that it had, instead, opted to take investment of around $1B from Fairfax Financial Holdings, Canso Investment Counsel, Mackenzie Financial, Markel Corp, Qatar Holding and Brookfield Asset Management.
From reading the report, it seems clear that rejecting these bids from Apple, Microsoft and others has been in order to secure its short-term future. As for the big picture, or long-term, BlackBerry’s fate is still uncertain. With large businesses, corporations and government bodies switching to iPhone and iPad, it’s hard to see how BlackBerry’s name can survive much longer, except if millions of people keep using the popular BBM app for iPhone and Android. If so, it’s a really sad tale: The former king of smartphones relegated to being a secure chat service.