So BlackBerry isn’t going ahead with its privatisation, but it has taken $US1 billion in funding from the company that might have bought it out and has agreed to get rid of CEO Thorsten Heins. What that means for its future product direction is, right now, anyone’s guess, though an increased enterprise focus still seems likely.
BlackBerry announced overnight that it had abandoned privatisation plans, but had taken an additional $1 billion in funding from suitor Fairfax Financial Holdings. The most immediate outcome? CEO Thorsten Heins immediately stepped down from the board.
When a buyout looked likely, the apparent future vision for BlackBerry was a much stronger emphasis on the enterprise market, rather than trying to sell devices to consumers. That approach wasn’t ideal for Asian markets, but seemed a logical move for addressing BlackBerry’s challenges in North America.
Today’s statement doesn’t bang that drum anywhere near as hard. This is what board chair Barara Stymiest had to say:
Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.
That might well mean a similar focus on enterprise, but it doesn’t exclude more radical change, such as switching to a rival platform such as Android or Windows Phone for devices. Given the recent success of cross-platform BBM after a slightly messy initial launch, that’s also likely to be an area of emphasis.
Back in February, Heins told a group of international media about the genesis of BlackBerry 10: “We had to change what needed to be changed.” What changes next still seems unclear.