BlackBerry may now be shifting its position to become a “niche company” in the smartphone market, according to the Wall Street Journal. Newly elected BlackBerry Director Bert Nordberg, who is part of the special committee set up to explore strategic alternatives, has said that while the company plans to carry on, there are “subsets” that should be sold off.
The executive did not rule out the possibility of an outright sale or strategic partnership for BlackBerry. There were no details given about which specific “subsets” the company was thinking of selling either. Nordberg did say that it was important for the company to bridge the gap between its value on paper and how Wall Street saw the company being worth.
While talking about this, Nordberg said, "If you look at BlackBerry's book value versus its market value, it's clear that there's lots of work to do." Addressing the difficulty that the company might face by being a small player in the global smartphone market, the BlackBerry executive said that BlackBerry could carve a place for itself due to its niche mobile hardware.
BlackBerry director says that the company will survive as a "niche player" (Image credit: Reuters)
Rationalising this, he said, "I think BlackBerry will be able to survive as a niche company. But being a niche company means deciding to be a niche company. Historically, BlackBerry has had larger ambitions. But battling giants like Apple, Google and Samsung is tough."
BlackBerry, which once had a considerable share of the smartphone market pie, has been struggling to keep up with the competition for some time now. Despite the launch of a new operating system and several new phones, there has been negligible difference to the company’s shrinking presence in the smartphone market.
Nordberg, while talking about the future of the company, said, "BlackBerry's unique assets make it stand apart from other phone makers. BlackBerry is strong on the enterprise business, its products are NSA-proof in the sense that you can't intercept their communication, its handsets' keyboards have many fans around the globe, and the company has a leading worldwide data network."
The executive, who has reportedly attended only three general meetings so far, believes that his view of the company’s status is shared by the rest of the board. Nordberg, before taking up his current directorship on BlackBerry’s committee, was a key player in massive restructuring that Sweden’s mobile network maker Ericsson saw in the early 2000’s.
Later, as CEO of phone maker Sony Ericsson, Nordberg was part of a major strategy shift while taking part in the process of selling Ericsson’s stake in the joint-venture back to Sony. The executive was integral to Sony Ericsson’s decision to move away from the low-end market for basic mobile phones and shift focus to smartphones running Google’s Android OS.
While talking about this, Nordberg said, "As a CEO of Sony Ericsson, deciding to bet on Android was an easy decision. With BlackBerry things are definitely much harder. Blackberry's security framework is built into the mobile software, so you can't just decide to change operating system. But BlackBerry has cash and it has no debt, so I'm sure that we'll piece something together at the end of the day."