BlackBerry 10 ZDNet Great Debate: Interest does not equal success

BlackBerry 10 ZDNet Great Debate: Interest does not equal success

Summary: I overwhelmingly lost the popular reader vote in this week's debate, but still received the win due to the question being debated and how interest is really defined in the enterprise.

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BlackBerry 10 Great Debate: Interest does not equal success

I had an interesting debate this week with Matt Baxter-Reynolds as we each tried to defend our chosen side surrounding the question, Will BlackBerry 10 revitalize enterprise interest?.

I argued the point that it was unlikely and even though the audience voting was 65 percent to 35 percent against my side, Zack gave me the win on this one. He keyed in on the words used in the question and debate and while there may be passing interest, he agreed with me that enterprise likely won't go further than that with BlackBerry at this time.

As Zack stated, companies will look for platforms that have been around and have been shown to be stable and reliable, have all the features and apps needed by employees, support back-end management, and come from a company with long term viability. BlackBerry is back with a new platform, but it remains to be proven and there is still a lot of work to do.

I have been using a Z10 for a week, but passed it along to a fellow writer to evaluate and don't miss it at all. BlackBerry 10 has a nice user interface, it's going to take people some time to get used to it, but there are still lots of apps and services missing and I find nothing compelling enough for me to give up an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone device.

Carriers and manufacturers want more than two primary competitors, currently Apple and Samsung, in the smartphone space and I look forward to seeing if BlackBerry can pull it off with BlackBerry 10 in 2013. I have my doubts, but then again I thought Windows Phone would be more successful by now too.

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Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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28 comments
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  • I've seen one example of an enterprise switching from BB to IOS

    I have a friend that works for a large medical group. They currently have BB's but all of them will now be getting iphone5's. This is several hundred devices locally and thousands nationwide as they roll this out.

    Unbelievable. But it does tell me that they must have confidence in iOS to do the job. If this is true then its game over for BB and probably WinPhone as well.
    otaddy
    • game over? really?

      what an interesting qualitative argument - "My buddy's company chose Iphones therefore bbry and windows are done for."
      tell me, do you know how many mobile phones were sold worldwide in 2012? approx. 1.7 billion (a quarter of which were smart phones). Do you know how many current blackberry users there are? Roughly 79 million. Do you know what their contribution margin is? it was 31% for older products, and 46% back when they were popular, so it is probably at least 40% for the new BBs. Do you know what their operating expenses were last year? $4.2 billion, which will likely increase this year due to bolstered marketing efforts (so we'll say $5 billion this year to allow a lot of room for error). A BB10 sells for $600, so assuming 40% margin, that's $240 per phone. Their gross profit last year was $3.9 billion last year, but let's be really pessimistic and say profit from incumbent products will drop by half this year (a drop which is unlikely); that will get them just under $2 billion, so another $3 billion in margin would be needed from the BB10 to break even. Under these really conservative assumptions, that means 12.5 million BB10 sales are needed for breakeven over the next year. If 1/15 current bberry users upgrade, there's 5 million sales right there. If global smartphone sales reach 420 million again this year, and BB10 captures just 2% of those sales on top of their 5 million sales from incumbents, that's 8.4 million more sales, totalling 13.4 million sales, ie they are in the black. With the media hype they have going, landing 2% of all smartphone sales over the next year is very reasonable, considering there are only 3 or 4 competitors to worry about. If you don't trust my numbers, go check them out from RIM's financial statements, or capital IQ. I've used some pessimistic cost assumptions ($5 billion in expenses seems high, and margin is probably closer to 45%, if not higher). They don't need 30% market share to be considered a success, investors would be more than happy with the profits that would result from even 5 or 6% of global market share of unit sales for the upcoming year.
      MattyMcFatty
      • wow

        thanks mattyMcfatty. great points.
        sonbuster
      • Great point

        However, they need to increase their market share to attract more developers to help building up their own ecosystem to compete with iOS and Android or else they won't be able to gain traction on consumers and will further losing more government and enterprise customers jump ship to other platform in the long run.
        ivanjee
      • Great points

        This all was true back when Mr. Jobs returned to Apple, about Apple. It was a successful alternative to the 800lb. Gorilla that was WinTel yet gloom and doom were themes in the tech press. Apple leapt from that position to what it is today. Even if BB were to replicate just a shadow of that they will thrive. As a thirty year Apple user I see competition as nothing but positive. I wish Blackberry a resounding success!
        dheady@...
      • if you dont believe me

        Search on Cleveland clinic and iphone5.

        Consumers don't seem to want anything but iPhone and Android.

        I stand by my previous and more concise comments.
        otaddy
      • no clue

        What are you people arguing? Phones or servers? You are saying your buddies all want iPhones...which has nothing to do with the server since BB10 is the ONLY TRUE BYOD server, with support for Android and iPhone. Check out some of their videos, it's going to be a hit. Afterall, BB crushes everything in existence for security.

        Look, they underestimated everyone's desire for fart apps, but you all are underestimating what BB enterprise offers.

        Besides, iOS running corporate email/meetings/etc is a disaster. Google it, its atrocious. People are going to lose their jobs choosing employee love of Instagram over actual work concerns. Google "AOL shutting down meeting service due to iOS 6.1 issues" for a recent one.
        Daniel Kinem
      • iPhone is best

        I stopped caring after I saw how ugly and confusing and frustrating BB10 is.
        volvospeed23
    • What medical group is that?

      Rolling out thousands of iPhones? Does everyone in the company get a phone? What's the name of that medical company?
      NoMore MicrosoftEver
      • my friend is a dr with Cleveland clinic

        He didn't say which staff besides Drs will be getting them but they are definitely phasing out BB.
        otaddy
    • all mobile platforms will survive and more will come

      All 4 main mobile platforms will survive and more will come. There's room for all. The once that will survive many years from now will be the ones that can play with others well. In other words, make their platform cross compatible or able to run other platform's apps. I used both Android and Windows Phone 8 in the past and now own the BlackBerry Q10 and loving it. I have forgotten how much I missed the superb physical keyboard. Most believe that iOS and Android will be the only two in the future, but I disagree. iOS was the first of its kind with really no competition for its superb platform back in 2007. Then Android came from nowhere to offer the same fantastic user interface and it actually overtook iOS în short order. Windows Phone 8 is pretty awesome in its own right and it's slowly getting traction as people's carrier contracts are running out and they are looking for something different. Now BlackBerry OS10 is out, but most don't know that the new BlackBerry is nothing like the legacy devices running BlackBerry 7. As word slowly gets out I believe there will be plenty of draw for their new phones to keep them alive and well. Throw in Mozzila and Tizen and let the fun begin. But for now, I am a BlackBerry convert
      CPuiulet
    • all mobile platforms will survive and more will come

      All 4 main mobile platforms will survive and more will come. There's room for all. The once that will survive many years from now will be the ones that can play with others well. In other words, make their platform cross compatible or able to run other platform's apps. I used both Android and Windows Phone 8 in the past and now own the BlackBerry Q10 and loving it. I have forgotten how much I missed the superb physical keyboard. Most believe that iOS and Android will be the only two in the future, but I disagree. iOS was the first of its kind with really no competition for its superb platform back in 2007. Then Android came from nowhere to offer the same fantastic user interface and it actually overtook iOS în short order. Windows Phone 8 is pretty awesome in its own right and it's slowly getting traction as people's carrier contracts are running out and they are looking for something different. Now BlackBerry OS10 is out, but most don't know that the new BlackBerry is nothing like the legacy devices running BlackBerry 7. As word slowly gets out I believe there will be plenty of draw for their new phones to keep them alive and well. Throw in Mozzila and Tizen and let the fun begin. But for now, I am a BlackBerry convert
      CPuiulet
  • I think

    If Blackberry can upgrade a large chunk of their corporate and government base - you could see some up-take in the consumer world. Combine that and you have the makling of a solid 3rd place phone maker. As people see what the phone can do they realize that the inventor of the smartphone is back in a big way.
    kooool1
    • thats a huge if. almost all departments of all

      governments are evaluating ways to get rid of whatever remaining bbs they haven't been able to get rid of already. And it's no different for enterprises. This has been the mo for the past 12-18 months and the bb10 has not changed this one bit. The mobile app companies I consult with have dozens of apps on ios, android, WP7/8, and derivatives like kindle and nook. Not a one of them has any interest in even prototyping a single one of their apps on bb10. Not for qnx and not even just to see if their android versions work on it. Zero interest. Zee-Ro. I feel bad for anyone who gets persuaded to buy one. Except fanbois of course.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Differs for each company

        Didn't ICE change their decision and are now testing BB10? The nice thing about mobility is there are now choices, Blackberry of old was one of the lone solutions as enterprise mobile usage exploded, it's now matured.

        The other wrinkle is the acceptance of BYOD. Many companies are looking to move most users to this model as it's financial incentive. Pick the device you like and we'll provide a means to use it. Most companies are still pretty limited to corporate email so yeah you don't need a Blackberry to do that.

        It's really down to does Blackberry gain market share, if they do developers will react. What isn't known is the tipping point. 2 million users, 5 million? There is really only Apple that is making money. Android users prefer free (or pirate) Apps and Windows Phone has no market share so I'd give Blackberry a chance. They have corrected a lot of the things people ragged on them apart and have made a nice device with decent toolsets to make or port Apps.
        MobileAdmin
  • Oy

    ZDNet casting doubt on the future of Blackberry? Now there's a surprise.
    homersmith10
    • they did it for winphone too

      And they were right about that. BB is same as WinPhone, nice software and devices, but nobody cares.
      otaddy
  • Blackberry Love

    I love the new Blackberry. I think that they are incredibly beautiful! Blackberry phone's have always been that way though, and I love it. I've owned one for years, and have never had any problems with it. The different bell - chinook mall kiosk styles have come and gone, but I'm totally sticking with my Blackberry!
    Taylor Parker
  • Article is a Joke

    This is way I rarely come to to site.
    Don.Johnson
  • Email Setup??

    Does the new device make it easy for the user to setup email? I find working in a tech environment that on the BB there is always a plague of issues web setting up pop or even exchange emails. On the IOS or Android it's easy to setup, but when it comes to BB it's a completely different story and often sends the average user to anger. So has this been made easier or is it still hell?
    jf3000