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TheStreet Open House

Could BlackBerry Be Worth More Sold in Pieces?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The only thing that can be said with any kind of certainty about BlackBerry (BBRY) is that there's little about the company's future that's entirely certain.

"It's about as hazy as it can get for a company," noted Brian Colello, an equity analyst at Morningstar.

In a statement emailed to TheStreet, BlackBerry says that while devices remains important for the company, it's focusing on a variety of services and solutions.

"While the BlackBerry namesake handset is what made us a leader in mobile communications, the company today provides solutions across devices, messaging, enterprise software and services, and embedded systems through our QNX Software Systems technology," the company said. "Devices remain an important part of our end-to-end offering, and we are continuing to build this business while focusing on professionals and business customers who require secure technologies that drive productivity, communications and collaboration."

BlackBerry said that no other company is in a better position to provide customers, particularly those in regulated industries, with a secure enterprise mobility solution.

"We have a clear vision for the future and a sound platform that will help customers capitalize on future opportunities such as the Internet of Things."

It remains to be seen how the company approaches monetizing that security technology; whether it will sell the technology itself or partner with an IBM (IBM) or Accenture (ACN) to get it to market. Since this is a very niche area that hasn't been commoditized like the consumer devices market, chances may be higher that BlackBerry may be able to find success and profitability there. But profitability will likely extend into the millions, rather than billions of dollars, given the size of the market.

With that, the surest future for Canada's BlackBerry may be a scenario where a number of suitors for its enterprise security business come forward. Meanwhile, the company may wind up ceding full or partial control of its consumer devices name and business to a big manufacturing partner in the process of deepening its enterprise services.

Hon Hai/Foxconn, which partners with Apple (AAPL) on the iPhone, already has a manufacturing partnership with BlackBerry that allows BlackBerry to focus on its core competency in security and enterprise mobility management.

"Simultaneously, EMS/ODMs like Hon Hai have been looking to move up the value chain and already has 'white label' device manufacturing arrangements with a few Telcos, so it wouldn't be a huge step to envision a future in which Foxconn acquires the [BlackBerry] handset business and brand name," says Reuben Chaudhury, a partner with A.T. Kearney and leader of the Americas communications, media, and technology practice. "This would give BlackBerry a valuation based on a potential future volume that is significantly higher than the current volume and allows it to focus on its core competency."

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