There’s been a growing concern that BlackBerry has, in one form or another, abandoned the consumer market in favor of Enterprise. While this is not entirely false, we should examine the strategy that BlackBerry is currently executing before drawing unnecessary conclusions about the future.
The mobile consumer market is much like a fish tank of hungry sharks held in place by thin glass. The sharks represent the big mobile giants such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft while the thin glass represents the fragile environment called the consumer market.
If you’re wondering why it’s fragile, it’s simple. Consumer trends are volatile. The next big thing is often too random for companies to understand or anticipate. The unpredictability of what the next consumer craze may be creates a reactive market, not a responsive one. This is what differentiates BlackBerry from the competition.
In order for BlackBerrys future to remain consistently profitable, they must carry out an effective plan to not only stabilize their spreadsheets within all their divisions, but also to grow in them. The consumer market is a financial death trap. The sharks in the tank can afford to remain in the consumer market because they make enough revenue to do so, but eventually this introduces another challenge for them; remaining relevant. There’s only so many billions of marketing dollars a company can spend. They need to see profit.
The smartphone industry is no longer booming in North America and has actually plateaued in other regions of the world (mostly developed nations). Handset makers are struggling with decreasing sales, overstocked inventory, and smaller profit margins on devices. This explains why you currently see incredible deals and sales on smartphones and tablets. Businesses and carriers are doing whatever they can to push products out their doors. And all this, of course, favors the consumer… but not the companies that sell these products.
Many mobile tech giants strategy on staying “future-proof” and relevant is by flexing their financial weight around; they acquire other start-up companies and businesses that might, potentially, compete against them. Why innovate when you can buyout those who do it for you? Why try to build a customer base if you can just buy a business that has them? I mean, as long as you have that kind of money, why not? But at what point is your spending going to outpace your revenue? Treading water isn’t a plan because then it becomes a survival strategy. How long can I last before going down?
We’ve seen these practices more prominently now than ever before. Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, and Google have all made large purchases of smaller competing services and businesses. It’s essentially a numbers game where the more you have equals more value… or so they hope. Unfortunately acquisitions doesn’t always equate to increased profitability. BlackBerry understands the nature of high risks and said practices in the consumer market but instead of playing the same game by reacting to the market, they are responding to it.
While everyone is busy following, subscribing, liking, sharing and re-posting, BlackBerry is building the foundation of the Internet of Things. I’ve already covered project Ion so I won’t revisit that territory but BlackBerry’s strategy isn’t based on what consumers want. It’s based on what companies, businesses, and governments need. This is unique because BlackBerry’s clients are of the caliber of Fortune 500 companies, G7 nations, and influential governments. We’re not talking about some app, watch, or glasses that may or may not sell with teenagers. We’re talking about the people with the power that run our world… yeah, those people.
While the sharks in the tank fight over what’s left in an overcrowded market, BlackBerry is building the aquarium. This is what most consumers fail to realize. BlackBerry hasn’t abandoned the consumer market; they are building the infrastructure to run all markets. However, this isn’t an easy feat. Yes, BlackBerry has all the tools to pursue building such a structure on a global scale but the majority of people will not realize it for quite some time and what effect this lack of perception will have remains unknown for BlackBerry’s stock.
However, BlackBerry isn’t worried. Their clients have influence, power, and money. The best client is a consistently paying client, especially clients that rely on your products and services for communication purposes only. And what better client can one have then the impressive and authoritative clientele that BlackBerry is currently building at a rapid pace?
Consumers? Please. That’s so last year. The new booming industry is Enterprise and Medical; and let’s not forget to mention the automotive industry. BlackBerry’s product and services portfolio is very much coveted by these multi-billion dollar plus segments and BlackBerry knows it. Consumers may think BlackBerry is dead but BlackBerry is dead-on with a strategy that will usher in the future of mobility through security for the next decade. People whining or complaining about how BlackBerry has abandoned them should adopt a new vision and quit seeing through the eyes of their stagnant “me-too” competitors.
2014 has proven to be an incredible year for BlackBerry so far with on-time and consistent releases, updates, and upgrades. Their acquisitions, executions, and hires have propelled them into one of the most watched companies in the world right now with the highly anticipated fall quarter about to unfold. Consumers should feel confident with the direction the company is heading, not worried. Just relax. BlackBerry is not abandoning you. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and exciting ride from the backseat of BlackBerry’s bright future.
Edited by Sharon Mamolo