One of the biggest names in smartphones over the last decade has been BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB). It is easy to forget that the Canadian company owned the smartphone market little more than a few years ago. Before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) came along and conquered the smartphone market with its iPhone, at one time BlackBerry controlled more than 75 percent of the mobile marketplace with its critically acclaimed and much loved handsets.
But things changed. Rapidly. Over the last five years, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has stumbled from one disaster to another as other smartphone manufacturers, particularly Apple and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), have established themselves as the big players in the marketplace. BlackBerry, meanwhile, has found itself in a perilous financial position, having lost $4.4 billion for the quarter which ended in November, with many analysts believing that its entire business model will have to change if it is to survive as a company.
A revamped BlackBerry
However, don’t write the infamous smartphone manufacturer off just yet. BlackBerry has been concentrating on revamping its portfolio of products, with a new CEO promising that the company will break even by the end of the year. Whether or not this is achievable remains to be seen, but BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) was certainly very active at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, announcing several new product lines.
And there is more potential good news on the horizon for BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) as well. Huge corporations such as Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) are contemplating switching allegiance from their existing Microsoft Windows in-car technology to embrace BlackBerry’s more corporate focused technology. It is said that Ford is carefully considering whether to make the switch to BlackBerry for the company’s next generation Sync System. On the back of this potentially good news, the company’s stock has increased significantly over the last month:
Many analysts are betting that the stock could rise still further in the coming months, as the company’s plans come to fruition.
It is within the operating system market that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) may just rediscover its mojo. It is clear than new CEO John Chen has big plans for the company in the operating system field, and its future direction will be greatly dependent on how well its new BlackBerry 10 operating system fares.
BlackBerry’s security focus
It seems that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is aiming to be something of a pioneer in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) field. This may be a completely new concept to many readers, but it essentially involves workers being able to access company information via their own smartphone while at work. Thus, in an attempt to carve out a significant niche in the mobile space, BlackBerry is placing the emphasis in its future direction on security, not devices.
This may be a very wise move given that numerous other smartphone manufacturers, most obviously Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), release mind blowing new devices every year that look and operate spectacularly. Yet BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has identified a market area that not only hasn’t really been exploited yet, but which is also something of a cultural zeitgeist at present. Many companies would love to implement BYOD, yet have security and privacy concerns. If BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) could address these concerns and deliver something slick then they could corner the market and become the ‘go to’ mobile for corporate clients.
Perhaps there is life in the old dog yet.