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BlackBerry Pursues Strategic Alternatives To Boost Smartphone Share

Waterloo, Ontario — BlackBerry’s board is exploring joint ventures, strategic partnerships, the possible sale of the company, and other strategic alternatives “to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment,” the company announced.

BlackBerry has continued to lose smartphone market share since the launch this year of smartphones incorporating its new BlackBerry 10 OS, and the company sank back into the red in its fiscal first quarter after posting two consecutive quarters of net profits from continuing operations. The company has also said it expects to post net losses in the second quarter because of market competitiveness and the need to invest in promoting BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones and enterprise products and services.

Late last year, company president/CEO Thorsten Heinz announced: “In parallel with the rollout of BlackBerry 10, we are aggressively working with our advisors on our strategic review and are actively evaluating ways to better leverage our assets and build on our strengths.”

The creation of a board committee to investigate strategic alternative appears to indicate that more changes are likely to come soon to BlackBerry, which has restructured and downsized and ended tablet development.

“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 the special board committed created to explore strategic alternatives. “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.”

For his part, president/CEO Thorsten Heins said, “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.” While the special committee does its job, he said, BlackBerry “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 [that leverage BlackBerry global data network].”