Canada to BlackBerry: Drop dead (but please, don't)

Summary:Despite the mobile technology company's ongoing struggles, the Canadian government won't step in to lend a hand.

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BlackBerry's Z10. (Photo courtesy BlackBerry)

If a turnaround is in the cards for the beleaguered mobile phone manufacturer BlackBerry, it must pull it off on its own. The Canadian government won't lend a hand.

That's according to Industry Minister James Moore, who told a Bloomberg reporter this week that the government is rooting for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company but has no plans to intervene.

"It's for them to engage the market and provide devices and services, platforms, content that the market will receive well," Moore reportedly said.

Blackberry, famous for its thumb-friendly mobile devices that become nearly synonymous with politicians and high-powered business executives a decade ago, has struggled in an age where smartphones more closely resemble computers. The company's fortunes and finances have long suffered, but even its latest line of touchscreen-based devices has been met with lukewarm reception. Its future remains grim.

"It hasn't gone off with the success that they hoped that it would," Moore told Bloomberg.

Earlier this month, BlackBerry announced plans to evaluate joint ventures, partnerships and outright sale of the company; the market price of its shares jumped in response. But the company's flagship operating system, BlackBerry 10, remains without traction.

Canada's private sector may come to the company's aid. BlackBerry's largest shareholder, the Toronto businessman Prem Watsa, resigned from the company's board with possible intent to save the company. Several major pension funds in Canada have also indicated interest in helping the company go private.

The question is whether that possible support network is enough to keep BlackBerry within Canadian borders. The biggest risk? Chinese intervention. "When you have a national champion like BlackBerry, you hope they remain a national champion," Moore's predecessor Christian Paradis told Bloomberg in March.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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