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A Sad Day in BlackBerry World!

I remember when BlackBerry (RIM) was on top of the world. You couldn’t get a better smartphone. Those days are long gone. Even I, a self-proclaimed BlackBerry evangelist for years, have moved on to a Windows Phone.

Here is BlackBerry’s latest announcement in their developing sad history:

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, Aug 12, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — BlackBerry Limited BBRY +5.74% CA:BB +5.68% , a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment. These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.

The Special Committee of the Board is comprised of Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.

With the announcement of the Special Committee, Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial informed the Company that he felt it was appropriate to resign due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process. Fairfax Financial is the largest BlackBerry shareholder. Mr. Watsa said, “I continue to be a strong supporter of the Company, the Board and Management as they move forward during this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares.”

“During the past year, management and the Board have been focused on launching the BlackBerry 10 platform and BES 10, establishing a strong financial position, and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders,” said Timothy Dattels, Chairman of BlackBerry’s Special Committee of the Board. “Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives.”

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry, added, “We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition. As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network.”

JP Morgan Securities LLC is serving as financial advisor to BlackBerry and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP are serving as legal advisors.

There can be no assurance that this exploration process will result in any transaction. The Company does not currently intend to disclose further developments with respect to this process, unless and until its Board of Directors approves a specific transaction or otherwise concludes the review of strategic alternatives.

About BlackBerry
A global leader in wireless innovation, BlackBerry(R) revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more information, visit

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Canadian securities laws, including statements regarding: BlackBerry’s expectations regarding new product initiatives and timing, including the BlackBerry 10 platform; BlackBerry’s plans and expectations regarding new service offerings, and assumptions regarding its service revenue model; BlackBerry’s plans, strategies and objectives, and the anticipated opportunities and challenges in fiscal 2014; anticipated demand for, and BlackBerry’s plans and expectations relating to, programs to drive sell-through of the Company’s BlackBerry 7 and 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets; BlackBerry’s expectations regarding financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2014; BlackBerry’s expectations with respect to the sufficiency of its financial resources; BlackBerry’s ongoing efforts to streamline its operations and its expectations relating to the benefits of its Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency (“CORE”) program and similar strategies; BlackBerry’s plans and expectations regarding marketing and promotional programs; and BlackBerry’s estimates of purchase obligations and other contractual commitments. The terms and phrases “expects”, “believe”, “focused”, “getting”, “opportunities”, “we are seeing”, “continuing”, “drive”, “improve”, “should”, “will”, “increasing”, “anticipated”, and similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by BlackBerry in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that BlackBerry believes are appropriate in the circumstances, including but not limited to the launch timing and success of products based on the BlackBerry 10 platform, general economic conditions, product pricing levels and competitive intensity, supply constraints, BlackBerry’s expectations regarding its business, strategy, opportunities and prospects, including its ability to implement meaningful changes to address its business challenges, and BlackBerry’s expectations regarding the cash flow generation of its business.

Many factors could cause BlackBerry’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation: BlackBerry’s ability to enhance its current products and services, or develop new products and services in a timely manner or at competitive prices, including risks related to new product introductions; risks related to BlackBerry’s ability to mitigate the impact of the anticipated decline in BlackBerry’s infrastructure access fees on its consolidated revenue by developing an integrated services and software offering; intense competition, rapid change and significant strategic alliances within BlackBerry’s industry; BlackBerry’s reliance on carrier partners and distributors; risks associated with BlackBerry’s foreign operations, including risks related to recent political and economic developments in Venezuela and the impact of foreign currency restrictions; risks relating to network disruptions and other business interruptions, including costs, potential liabilities, lost revenues and reputational damage associated with service interruptions; risks related to BlackBerry’s ability to implement and to realize the anticipated benefits of its CORE program; BlackBerry’s ability to maintain or increase its cash balance; security risks; BlackBerry’s ability to attract and retain key personnel; risks related to intellectual property rights; BlackBerry’s ability to expand and manage BlackBerry(R) World(TM); risks related to the collection, storage, transmission, use and disclosure of confidential and personal information; BlackBerry’s ability to manage inventory and asset risk; BlackBerry’s reliance on suppliers of functional components for its products and risks relating to its supply chain; BlackBerry’s ability to obtain rights to use software or components supplied by third parties; BlackBerry’s ability to successfully maintain and enhance its brand; risks related to government regulations, including regulations relating to encryption technology; BlackBerry’s ability to continue to adapt to recent board and management changes and headcount reductions; reliance on strategic alliances with third-party network infrastructure developers, software platform vendors and service platform vendors;

BlackBerry’s reliance on third-party manufacturers; potential defects and vulnerabilities in BlackBerry’s products; risks related to litigation, including litigation claims arising from BlackBerry’s practice of providing forward-looking guidance; potential charges relating to the impairment of intangible assets recorded on BlackBerry’s balance sheet; risks as a result of actions of activist shareholders; government regulation of wireless spectrum and radio frequencies; risks related to economic and geopolitical conditions; risks associated with acquisitions; foreign exchange risks; and difficulties in forecasting BlackBerry’s financial results given the rapid technological changes, evolving industry standards, intense competition and short product life cycles that characterize the wireless communications industry. These risk factors and others relating to BlackBerry are discussed in greater detail in the “Risk Factors” section of BlackBerry’s Annual Information Form, which is included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F and the “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” section of BlackBerry’s MD&A (copies of which filings may be obtained at or These factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on BlackBerry’s forward-looking statements. BlackBerry has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Lenovo to Buy RIM (and the BlackBerry line)?

Lenovo & RIMA Lenovo purchase of RIM could be a tough deal to make with Canada’s track record of scoffing at foreign companies buying up their organizations. But could this partnership work?

Catherine reports:

Reports of a potential deal helped RIM shares jump to their highest price in a year, though other factors include the upcoming launch of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, as well as the company’s disclosure that it is considering licensing its software or selling RIM’s hardware unit.

Lenovo, which purchased IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, is focusing on acquisitions to continue growing its mobile business as it faces down competition from other tablet and cellphone makers.

RIM’s stock jumps 10% today. Hype is a terrible thing. Ask Apple.

Seth Fiegerman said today:

While Apple’s stock struggled to stay above the $500 mark Monday, RIM’s stock jumped more than 10%, briefly passing $15 a share for the first time since February of last year before ending the day at $14.95.

RIM’s surge is due in part to investor optimism for the long-awaited launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones, which is set to take place at the end of this month.

Microsoft is Prohibiting the Purchase of the iPad with Microsoft Funds

In other words, if you work for Microsoft, you can’t buy an iPad or Mac on the company credit card. Make sense?

Microsoft has been doing this with the iPhone and BlackBerry since 2010. They furnish their employees with Windows phones.

I’m pretty sure Microsoft has the right to say, use our products or go home. Most companies have similar policies. Even our company provides BlackBerry’s and Lenovo / Windows 7 laptops to its employees.

Would you have a problem with using only company equipment if you worked for a hardware or software manufacturer?

On Twitter? Let’s chat at @parnellk63
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I’m listening to Someday After a While by Eric Clapton right now.

Who is really the most popular mobile handset in the world?

Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

No propaganda. No advertiser infused fake numbers. It’s Nokia. Then Samsung. Then everyone else.

Apple is not in the discussion. Nor is Android. Nor is BlackBerry.

Here are the numbers:

  1. Nokia – 417.1M sold in 2011.
  2. Samsung – 327.4M sold in 2011.
  3. Apple – 93.0M sold in 2011.

This is exactly why I tell my friends that I’m excited about Nokia coming to T-Mobile in the United States. The Nokia running Windows Mobile 8 or Windows Mobile 9 will be the smartphone that gets me away from BlackBerry.

* source: Strategy Analytics

On Twitter? Let’s chat at @parnellk63
On Facebook? Let’s connect at @parnellk63
On Google+? Let’s do whatever you do on Google+ at @parnellk63
I’m listening to Destiny Blues by Eric Bibb right now.

Downgraded my RIM OS from 6.0 to 5.0. All is well in my BlackBerry world again

BlackBerry Desktop ManagerUnfortunately I had to downgrade to RIM operating system v5.0.0.714 on my beloved BlackBerry. Apparently v6.0.0.448 was released with too many critical bugs that made the Bold 9700 unusable. Sad!

What was wrong with BlackBerry v6, you ask? Well here’s a partial list –

  1. GPS didn’t work accurately and very rarely.
  2. Device freezes frequently: 10-15 times per day.
  3. Innacurate out-of-memory error messages.
  4. BlackBerry AppWorld did not work accurately as it identified my device as a Windows operating system.
  5. Several third party apps stopped working including Google Voice, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and others.

I could go on and on and on but you get the picture.

RIM: I love your BlackBerry’s. But you are making things very difficult for me to stick by you.

On Twitter? Let’s chat at @parnellk63
On Facebook? Let’s connect at @parnellk63
I’m listening to What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers right now.

BlackBerry Desktop Software Getting Ready for the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

This notice automatically popped up on my desktop today. It looks like RIM is getting ready for some PlayBook action. I like their agressiveness with distributing the peripheral software to the masses before the hardware arrives. Some companies should take note of this!

BlackBerry Desktop Software

BlackBerry Desktop Software
Update to (Bundle 43)

What’s new in this release?

BlackBerry Desktop Software 6.0.2 provides support for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. You can also set some software preferences when you first connect your device. More details at

On Twitter? Follow me at @parnellk63.
Listening to Secret Garden by Bruce Springstein.

Brand Your Product Above Your Company?

image courtesy of

I sent out this quick tweet last night to my JZ, Twitter and Facebook network but thougth I’d run it by you guys in the blog network to see what your thoughts are.

TBS MLB playoffs are “presented by BlackBerry”. Not Rim. Product brand recognition bigger than company brand. Good thing?

What do you think? Should a company make it standard practice to spend millions of dollars to brand one of their products rather than their company name? Should the MLB playoffs on TBS be “presented by Rim”?

A Connected World and how important is it?

Various SmartphonesI think a very important question for company decision-makers is, How Tethered Should My Team Be?

My world is very interesting and overall I think unique. Not unique for the tech industry but unique as compared to the work force as a whole. I require myself to be electronically connected at almost all hours of every night and day. Much to Nicole’s chagrin, yes, ‘every’ night and day. My tech team is nearly the same and during their disconnected times there should be another connected person capable of filling the needs of the organization.

Let’s move to other member (sets) of the organization’s team. Should the Operations team be consistently connected? Should the Creative team be consistently connected? Should the Sales team be consistently connected? Should the Marketing team be consistently connected? Within each of these teams an evaluation of senior management, team leads and team members should also be weighed. Should they, or at least their role, be consistently connected?

Here’s my answer – YES! Yes, they absolutely sure should. Each of these teams occupy a vital role in the decision-making processes that are important to the organization’s success. A senior member of each of these teams should be always available, reachable and able to communication at any given time as dictated by the real-time needs of the organization.

So how do we make this connectability happen? Smartphones. Smartphones that are reliable, (platform) stable, secure, usable, functional and yes, okay attractive. RIM’s BlackBerry tops the list of recommendations from every top organization around the globe. Nokia (the N95) makes fine smartphone products as does Palm (the Treo).’s Survey Results for “How Addicted to Your SmartPhone Are You?
5% – My phone is for business. I put it away at night, unless I’m traveling for work.
2% – I check messages every few hours after work and on weekends. But I’d never bring my smartphone on vacation.
19% – I’m more productive because of my smartphone, and it doesn’t negatively affect my work/life balance. I wouldn’t call it an addiction.
67% – My smartphone never leaves my side. At work, rest, play, vacation, you name itmy best electronic friend is with me.
7% – IMHO That’s NOYB. BB4N. EOM. (In my humble opinion, that’s none of your business. Bye bye for now. End of message.)

Where do you stand?

History of the BlackBerry: 1998 – 2008

Research In Motion held an event to celebrate the opening of a new plant in Sydney, Australia. At the event, they had a nice panel showing the history of BlackBerry devices dating back to the RIM 950 Wireless Handheld (bottom left) released in 1998, followed by the 957 model in 2000 (top left). RIM unveiled the data and voice BlackBerry 5810 (bottom right) in 2002.

History of Research In Motion (RIM) and BlackBerry

See the full set of photos from the RIM display here.

Tethering the BlackBerry Pearl to the iBook

This weekend we were having issues with the wireless network at home. I think maybe the issue is the lack-of-strength reception from the airport card in the iBook but regardless we had a need to get the machine online while sitting at the dining room table.

Every Windows laptop I’ve had I’ve been able to tether my Pearl to it to use as a modem for the machine. But I hadn’t tried it with a Mac notebook.

I quickly searched (not Googled, Yahoo!’d) for “tether BlackBerry Pearl to iBook” and found Dave Taylor’s article titled “How do I use my Blackberry Pearl as a bluetooth modem with a Mac?” Perfect!

Thanks to Dave, I had the iBook online via the Pearl inside of 4 minutes. No issues. No problems following his instructions. No performance malfunctions through T-mobile. The iBook is online now when I need it.

Thanks RIM. As if this needed to be said, I fell in love with you all over again. BlackBerry is the perfect user device for any smartphone person.

Tethering the BlackBerry Pearl to the iBook