BlackBerry move away from consumers unlikely to stem decline

Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:00am EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd's plan to retreat from the consumer market in favor of its traditional strength serving businesses and governments is widely seen as a desperate move that industry watchers warn will only accelerate its downward spiral.

The strategic shift and dramatic restructuring are fueling fears about BlackBerry's long-term viability. The uncertainty created could easily push a growing number of its telecom partners, business customers and consumers to abandon the platform.

"Perception is nine tenths of reality and if customer and supplier confidence continues to fall it doesn't matter how much cash they have on the balance sheet. Things could get worse," said GMP Securities analyst Deepak Kaushal.

The Canadian smartphone maker, once the leader in wireless email, announced the change in focus on Friday afternoon when it also said it will report a quarterly loss of close to $1 billion and slash more than a third of its workforce.


In response to queries about its future sales strategy BlackBerry said on Sunday it would provide more detail when it announces quarterly earnings on Sept. 27.

On Friday, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said the strategic shift to focus on so-called enterprise customers would play to the company's strengths in security and reliability.   Continued...