A BlackBerry comeback? - Macleans.ca

A BlackBerry comeback?

Rosemary Westwood on the latest numbers around BlackBerry


Big buzz over BlackBerry’s latest devices launched this spring came with a question: can skeptics be converted? Can BlackBerry lure back past users who’ve since migrated to Android and Apple?

It’s beginning to look like the answer is a tentative yes.

Market share estimates for BlackBerry’s new operating system show the company is beating out all Android phones combined to be the number two phone provider in Canada, behind Apple, with 28 per cent market share (it was tied with Samsung at 23 per cent as recently as February). BlackBerry now holds 14 per cent of the market in the U.K., according to figures dated Jun. 16 from the statistics site StatCounter Global.

Analysts are boosting sales and earnings projections for the company in the face of strong sales of BlackBerry’s Z10 and Q10 smartphones, which use the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

In a note to investors Tuesday morning, RBC analyst Mark Sue upped shipment projections from 2.75 million to 3.5 million for the the first fiscal quarter (ending Jun. 1), and projected the second quarter would see 4 million phones shipped, up from an earlier estimate of 3 million.

Last week, Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um estimated earnings would hit $0.32 per share for the 2013/14 fiscal year—after previously expecting a loss of $0.07 a share. “We think expectations have recently risen for BB10 units (we est. 3.5MM) and though we see some scope for upside potential, we are taking a conservative approach,” he told investors in a written statement.

The badly needed good news for BlackBerry comes after earlier downgrades amid reportedly lower-than-expected demand for the new phones, and even with rosy projections, analysts remain cautious.

“The picture remains blurry, particularly as competition remains fierce,” Sue noted.

But just as the good news has begun to mount, BlackBerry has also landed in the middle of the NSA scandal, with revelations that U.K. government spies broke past its security systems, according to reports in the Guardian. Documents allege foreign officials visiting the UK for the G20 summits in 2009 had their communications intercepted by the GCHQ intelligence agency, including “penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls.”

BlackBerry clients can “rest assured” that it offers “the best available solution” to protect mobile communications, the company said in a statement to Maclean’s.

“While we cannot comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic, we remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry’s mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology,” it said.

Investors will have to wait until Jun. 28 for hard data to back up analysts’ optimism, when BlackBerry releases its first quarter earning for the fiscal year 2013/14.

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A BlackBerry comeback?

  1. After 7 years of frustration with BB devices there is no going back. Switched to Android a year ago. No problems with Android. Big problems with HTC One X. A miserable product but not half as bad as the BB line.

    • You let something frustrate for you seven years? Ignorance is bliss. How many times a day do you think you’ve touched QNX software over the past 7 years (hint: you cant count that high)?

      • Wow, you totally took down some random commenter with a snarky comment. That must have made you feel so good about yourself! I’m sure everyone reading this is just dying to be your friend now, if only to brush against such an expansive mind and generous wit.

        • arn’t you doing the same thing?

          • BURN!!!!!!

    • @the magpie: Don’t make the same mistake twice. Technology is fluid.

    • So you left just as their new OS and phones were about to be released? And now you are comparing BB’s old OS to the newest Android phones?

      Clever fella.

  2. re: with revelations that U.K. government spies broke past its security systems, according to reports in the Guardian.
    The Guardian is a notorious gossip rag, quoting them as you source puts you in the same category of credibility. Don’t believe me? Google another article they released a few months ago on what they claimed was the UK government failing Blackberry security clearance, they were caught red handed lying and fabricating the story, forced to retract the article….after half the internet copied and pasted the same source into their ‘own’ article…who has time to do their own research nowadays its so passé.

  3. BB is a tool, not a toy.

    • real tools for real tools

      • Of course we wouldn’t want to promote anything Canadian eh?

  4. “BlackBerry now holds 18 per cent of the market in the U.K., according to figures dated Jun. 16 from the statistics site StatCounter Global.”

    And if we go check the source (StatCounter), the correct number for the UK on June 16 is 14.13%. Which is usage share based on measuring what phones are used to visit a set of websites. That happens to be lower than the average monthly blackberry usage share has ever been in the last 3 years. To be fair, June 16 is a Sunday and the blackberry market share is better on weekdays.

    I agree that Blackberry isn’t dead yet, and has a very good chance to climb back to relevance. But quoting declining share numbers as proof that the share is increasing is just plain bad journalism.

    • Wow, the Canada percentage is even better.

      Yes, the share is increasing month by month in Canada. Between 19 May and 15 June, the share of RIM is measured in a band between 10.53% and 17.57% – the average in May in Canada is 12.16%. On 16 June the share doubles to 29.37%, either because Blackberry Canada sold more phones on that day than during the entire last quarter, or because the measurement on that day is a statistical error. So the author uses this to claim Blackberry has 30% market share in Canada.

      Yes, Blackberry will likely climb to relevance, it’s already halfway there, I don’t dispute that. But faking and misrepresenting numbers as the author does is just wrong and can not be called journalism.

  5. People can say what they want about Blackberry but the truth is coming out. I hope you sit back in your chair and enjoy the short squeeze as much as me. Don’t be a day trader on this one because the party is just getting started. By the end of this year BB will have smart phones available for all segments of the mobile market. The global smart phone market is growing so fast and BB is now back at the cutting edge of technology. Looks like they are going to have a long and prosperous future.

  6. Not sure how you can break through encryption.

  7. That’s the one thing that has always bothered me about Canadians…they aren’t loyal to Canadian technology even when the product is proven to be better or equal. The media attacks RIM and people go on about how RIM is dead etc etc…the new BB10 software is better than Android and Apple yet people still bash RIM….Only Canadians could be so bold and mean. Well done.

    • Gotta love iSheep/leftwingnuts, they brag about being gouged and using outdated technoogy produced by horrendous chinese manufacturers while bashing anything made by Canadians.

    • besides the fact that no one owes you a job they arent better or equal, until they get the same app support why would anyone buy an android clone when they can have the real thing?

      • Bear in mind that just because there are a gazillion apps…everybody knows that most are not any good or even useful…just look at their ratings.

  8. I have recently been forced to switch to Android from BlackBerry. I am completely disappointed. My blackberry Torch was a far superior phoning and messaging tool. I curse the Galaxy S4 daily for it ineffective approach to messaging and even worse to phoning. If I was told I could go back to my Torch today I would. I don’t even need a new BlackBerry product.

  9. Yeah. maybe Blackberry do really doing it’s come back… making it a great rival for the Apple and Android. And I think the Blackberry really offers the available solution they have.

  10. My first and last official post on Blackberry. Before I start, I know you’re all pacing in front of your computers, trying to conjure the wittiest most detrimental things to say and by all means please do. I’ll be out havin fun as I always do…why? I KNOW…I WIN. You go ahead and analyze..short this cool Canadian company to death but when the numbers emerge on the 28th you’ll be crying and I’ll be loving.