BlackBerry, as we all know, has been struggling over the past two years after being knocked down in the smartphone war by Samsung and Apple. However, BlackBerry India head Sunil Lalvani feels otherwise and believes the last two years have been “fantastic” for the Canadian company.
BlackBerry went back to its “roots”
Lalvani told Business Insider that, for the past two years, the company was working on its “roots,” which are the enterprise segment. Under this segment, the Canadian firm offers email and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) that “were available with the phone,” tells Lalvani, adding “Now that is Blackberry’s USP as we run a private network that connects up to about 500 carriers worldwide and gives an unmatched email experience.”
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Lalvani does admit that in the last few years, BlackBerry has lost a major portion of its market share, saying the Canadian firm was the most desirable smartphone firm from 2000 to 2010, and its QWERTY keyboard feature was loved by all. But with the influx of low-cost smartphones, BlackBerry started losing its market share. The executive further said that the company could not afford selling phones that are below the $100 level owing to manufacturing and supply chain restrictions.
However, Lalvani asserts that measuring performance on the basis of market share is not relevant for BlackBerry, as the company does not have an “entire product portfolio.” For BlackBerry, the benchmark is profitability and consumer base, states Lalvani. The executive further notes that though the job was challenging, the company’s strategy to focus o software has helped the Canadian firm better its global smartphone margins.
Separately, BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who has been working for the past 18 months to turn things around for the Canadian firm, is confident that the company’s smartphone unit will be profitable again. However, for that to happen, the first step is to build on the segments (privacy and the enterprise) in which the company is witnessing some success.
Though it’s a big ask, Chen has been in a similar situation before, and investors and critics are already seeing a ray of hope. During the recent earnings call, Chen declared that the “financial house is in order,” and the company’s “financial viability is no longer in question.”