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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) - Once the cellular phone industry leader
Blackberry(BBRY - Get Report) is now forced to consider its next moves. New smartphones are not enough. Blackberry needs bold moves just to stay afloat.
Blackberry's Board of Directors
announced it's officially looking for strategic alternatives to boost the company's shares. In the official press release a complete sale of the company might also be considered. "The Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternative to enhancing value and increasing scale in order to accelerate Blackberry 10 deployment. The alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or possible other transactions."
Blackberry were advancing 1.37% to $11.08 mid Wednesday trading.
Following the January 2013 introduction of the touchscreen Z10 Blackberry, sales soared. The new handsets were scooped-up by Blackberry's fans as fast as they could get them. First quarter sales figures looked promising. There were even dreams of challenging
Apple(AAPL - Get Report) for smartphone sales supremacy.
By the time Blackberry announced the release of its new Q10 phone it seemed the initial momentum had slowed to a crawl. Buyers who should have wanted new "Crackberries" no longer seemed to care. iPhone and
Google(GOOG - Get Report) Android models had taken up the slack. And now, thanks to
Nokia(NOK - Get Report), even
Microsoft(MSFT)Windows Phones are being shipped more often than Blackberries.
It's been a slow decline. Blackberry's core strengths had always been superior handling of corporate email. The company's first product was a two-way pager - an email only device not a cell phone. In the mid-1990's the company's founders realized pocket email was the "next big thing". Blackberry's superiority came from it's exclusive server-side email solutions for the enterprise as well as bleeding-edge technology on the cell phone hardware side.
However, that superiority could only last so long without being challenged. Smartphones threatened to handle email just as well as many of the other tasks which, up to that point, had been left to desktop and laptop computers. Instead of rising to the occasion, Blackberry decided to stick with what had made it famous but, to increase appeal to the masses cheaper handsets were introduced.