BlackBerry are looking for a buyer, which is of little surprise to anyone who has been watching the Canadian company’s fall from grace after the iPhone and then Android changed everything in the smartphone arena. But the question is – who should buy a company who’s market share is on the decline to insignificance? Microsoft.
BlackBerry once owned the smartphone space, and certainly the business smartphone space where every executive from London to New York could not be separated from their “crackberry”. But as the consumer smartphone space emerged with Apple’s iPhone and then expanded to every price point with the help of Android (and to a much lesser extent Windows Phone), the business-only BlackBerry quickly looked outdated.
And then there were the service failures. For days. What is the point of a “business class” device if it essentially unusable for days at a time? More so than their software or hardware looking outdated, I think it was the service failures which really pushed businessmen away from BlackBerry.
BlackBerry have managed to address most of the issues with hardware and software with their latest BB10 OS and large-screen devices. The problem, however, is that these devices remain more expensive than their competitors, and there is no reason for consumers to buy back into BlackBerry for business or the home. BlackBerry is, sadly, in terminal decline and it would take a miracle for them to return.
However, this does not mean that BlackBerry would not have value as an acquisition target for the right company – and that company is Microsoft. Microsoft has started to make inroads into the smartphone arena, but they are never going to catch Android, who’s dominance is startling, and so they need to be targeting the other competitors that are more within reach – Apple.
Apple and Android have never really courted the business crowd the way BlackBerry did in the past, and that is a place in which Microsoft can make inroads and with their dominance in the desktop operating system – syncing all that data is where Microsoft needs to show its teeth.
Many business users still like the traditional BlackBerry hardware keyboard, and maybe that is where the first synergies can be found – BlackBerry hardware running Windows Phone 8. If Microsoft made the software update a breeze so that people could keep all their BlackBerry data and accounts and move them across to the Windows platform with a single click, then again this is a good reason for the acquisition.
In Nokia, where Microsoft have a large financial stake, Microsoft have found a fantastic hardware partner for consumer smartphones for every price point and they are starting to find a market. In BlackBerry, Microsoft would find the business hardware partner as well as a market share of a few percentage points which would certainly help them commpete with Apple.