Is it the end for BlackBerry?

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BlackBerry is just nearing extinction. /image: Emily Wright

BlackBerry is just nearing extinction. /image: Emily Wright

BlackBerry cut 4,500 jobs last week

Article: Tatenda Chikukwa – Contributor

BlackBerry’s report of a $965 million loss in its second quarter revenue sales was the coup de grâceto a dismal week for the cellphone company.

The Canadian-based company has slashed its workforce by 40 per cent (4,500 jobs) and is negotiating a $4.7 billion deal with insurance and reinsurance firm Fairfax Ltd. in order to mitigate losses as it strives to refocus the company.

BlackBerry’s disastrous financial standing was brought to light by the highly anticipated release of the new iPhones. The iPhone 5S and 5C confirmed two things: one, Apple is still a highly creative and marketable company without the late, great Steve Jobs, and two, other cellphone companies, particularly BlackBerry, are still firmly behind the public popular vote in comparison to iPhone.

It is reported that Apple sold nine million units in just three days, giving it an estimated $5 billion in revenue. The sale of 3.7 million BlackBerry smartphones does not even compare. Its latest releases, the Z10 and Q10 have not attracted consumer attention.

The overwhelmingly bad reports of BlackBerry have only confirmed some people’s opinion of the cellphone giant. Community building initiative leader, Marika Yeo is glad to have an iPhone after her experience with the BlackBerry Curve, “It kept shutting off, it had so many technical difficulties and my friends also had BlackBerries with some problems and eventually it just died”.

Marika only got the phone because it was zero dollars, but Kaitlyn Van De Woestyne, a journalism student, got the phone because it was popular in high school. Past experiences with technical difficulties and bad customer service have made her reluctant to invest in another BlackBerry phone and the over-saturation of Apple products has left her and others loyal to the company.

“You have all Apple products so you just continue buying them.”

Apple’s has done wonders in marketing itself and it does not just sell cellular phones now, but it sells status symbols. BlackBerry has always taken pride in selling its products to business professionals, but that market may not be enough to save the company. Some business professionals will remain loyal but the various applications on different smartphones are more applicable to their individual needs.

Cellphone sales associates remain optimist and see that there is still a niche market for BlackBerry.

“People who love Blackberry are sticking with Blackberry,” said one sales associate at TELUS and another sales associate at SaskTel said, “we wouldn’t have a display if they weren’t selling.”

From all we have learned this week, those displays very well may be the only place for BlackBerry phones. The bad news does nothing to help promote the up-coming release of their latest touch screen phone, the Z30. In the end, BlackBerry will have to drastically make over its marketing strategy and phone technology to stay in the ever-changing cellphone game.

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