It's time to get down to business. Source: BlackBerry.
Let's look past the Passport's square shape for a moment.
Sure, it's the most noticeable feature on
's newest device, but it's more important to focus on w
the device takes this shape.
The company's CEO, John Chen, is in the middle of turning
around the company, and for BlackBerry that means refocusing on
enterprise customers -- and the Passport is the physical
representation of that strategy.
Why Blackberry needs to be different
It's easy to think the Passport's boxy design is just to
differentiate itself from the masses of iPhones and Android
phones on the market. The device features a 4.5-inch square
screen with a 1,400 x 1,400 pixel display, and a recent
ensures a ton of Android apps will run on the device.
But at the heart of the Passport is BlackBerry's attempt to
lure back its core customer base, which has always been the
enterprise sector. The display size offers a wider view of
documents and the large physical Qwerty keyboard allows for easy
typing. Even the Passport's name evokes a business persona. And
that's a good thing. Chen has said that 80% of the company's
mobile subscribers are business users.
But BlackBerry's faced headwinds in the enterprise market
in the business world. A recent report from Good Technology
showed the iPhone far outpaces enterprise sector activations in
the second quarter compared to Android and
's Windows Phone.
Source: Good Technology.
It's worth noting that BlackBerry was excluded from the data
because Good Technology doesn't have access to net enterprise
activations on BB10 devices through its services.
On top of Apple's gains, the company's
should help push its enterprise mobile sales even higher, leaving
BlackBerry even further behind.
Vision and execution
BlackBerry knows one of its only plays in the mobile handset
space is to double down on enterprise. That's one of the reasons
why it purchased the German-based voice and data encryption
company, Secusmart, last month. The company brings mobile and
landline security to business and governments and it could help
BlackBerry set itself apart from Andorid and iPhone in the
Chen's management seems to be turning around some aspects of
the company though, even if just a little. Adjusted operating
expenses decreased 57% year over year, helping BlackBerry post a
profit of $23 million in its 2015 fiscal first quarter.
But much of BlackBerry's cost-cutting measures are complete,
and now it's time to boost sales -- in Q1 revenue fell 69%, to
$966 million. Hardware sales, including handsets, will be a big
part of this. In the most recent quarter, hardware sales made up
39% of the company's revenue.
Though the Passport could prove to be a smart move in winning
back enterprise users, or at least holding on to current ones, we
have to be realistic about BlackBerry's current position.
Just last week IDC released its latest smartphone vendor data,
and BlackBerry's struggling even more than before. In Q2 2013,
the company had 2.8% worldwide smartphone market share. But in Q2
2014 that fell to just 0.5%.
The company can't continue to experience drops like this in
the worldwide market, battle Apple in the enterprise sector, and
still have a fighting chance in selling lots of mobile handsets.
So while the Passport shows BlackBerry is committed to its future
with business users, we'll have to wait until the device launches
next month to see if the feeling's mutual.
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What the BlackBerry Passport Tells us About the
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