BlackBerry Ltd Still Struggling To Return From The Grave

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BlackBerry may be having a tougher time getting back into the game than previously thought. A recent survey suggests many decision makers at major companies are opting to either pass on BlackBerry’s management system after trying it or even simply not try it out at all.

BlackBerry’s EZ Pass a failure?

Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette conducted the survey, which was covered by The Globe and Mail today. If the results really do indicate a broader trend across IT spending, BlackBerry could really be in trouble, particularly since its future hangs entirely on whether enterprise customers are willing to return to the fold.

Faucette surveyed 150 chief information officers in Europe and the U.S. and found a decline in the number of them who were willing just to evaluate BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Needless to say, this represents a huge problem for BlackBerry, as management has been touting the number of free EZ Pass subscriptions they secured in the last few quarters.

The whole point of those EZ Pass subscriptions was to let enterprise customers try out BES 10 so that hopefully they would upgrade to BES 12 and then become paying subscribers down the road. In other words, the rising number of EZ Pass subscriptions means absolutely nothing if the CIOs who participated in Faucette’s survey are representative of the broader trend across industries.

Falling enterprise interest in BlackBerry

The survey indicated that approximately 15% of CIOs who were willing to try out BES to manage their employees’ smartphones. That’s compared to about 22% of them in June of last year. Also the number who did try out the software and decided not to use it has almost doubled since then, climbing to 21 of the participating executives.

Faucette also said BlackBerry was toward the top of the list in a number of categories, including “No plans to evaluate.” The results of the survey appear to suggest that BlackBerry’s focus on EZ Pass subscriptions is nothing but a mirage because enterprise customers now seem less likely to become paying customers down the road. Last month, Chen announced that they had 4,900 customers signed up for the EZ Pass, compared to 3,500 in August.

The analyst also found that the number of survey participants who either purchased or planned to purchase BlackBerry’s product fell to 8% between October and January. Starting next month, we should begin to see some real indications of whether customers actually like the new BES because the EZ Pass trial period ends Jan. 31. A lot hangs on BES sales going forward.

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