In an odd turn of events BlackBerry has decided not to go with the $4.7 billion acquisition purchase from Fairfax Financial Holdings, with news the deal has fell through and the acquisition has turned into a long term investment of $1 billion.
There is also a change in leadership at the Canadian smartphone maker, Thosten Heins has been booted out for John Chen, ex-CEO of Sybase. This is not exactly a “boom” announcement, considering most don’t know who the new owner is and what he has done in the past.
Chen will not stay on as the CEO unless they cannot find a replacement, we may see a big name pop out of nowhere to start leading the company, but with BlackBerry’s current future prospects, we doubt any major CEO will be happy to move into the smartphone maker.
Chen has proven himself as a capable leader with Sybase, but plenty of capable CEO’s have stepping into BlackBerry and made nothing out of it, including Heins who had a good track record until BlackBerry came along.
This leaves the matter of what BlackBerry will do next up to discussion, Fairfax did want them to go private and make competitive phones in the enterprise section, to compete with Samsung, Apple and other corporate smartphone providers.
BlackBerry is unlikely to keep trying to compete with the iPhone and Android, the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 both show little consumer interest in their products and the high refund rates prove the smartphones have problems compared to other offerings on the market.
The company still has a strong line of services, including BBM with over twenty million iOS and Android users. We know startup software companies valued at billions just on one app with that many users alone. We may see BlackBerry stop first party manufacturing and pump more fuel into software and services.