For what seems like an eternity, technology pundits, media outlets, and even some analysts have been all too eager to write a eulogy for BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY).
Mark Twain’s famous quote seems to apply to BlackBerry: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Here are some reasons why I believe that BlackBerry be around for a very long time and why we are now witnessing the turnaround of this Canadian tech icon.
Focus is back
A relatively few short years ago, BlackBerry was losing billions. Hardware was not selling, the enterprise audience was in complete disarray, and the software platform was in a transition from the java-based BBOS that was used for the prior decade to the radically different and very raw BB10 platform built on the QNX acquisition in 2010.
In short, BlackBerry was stuck in an identity crisis that spanned across the audience, hardware, and software, which pulled the company in different directions, leaving everyone confused. When John Chen came on board, that all changed. Focus was restored, product lines were thinned out, and priorities were set.
Commitment to software, security, and what the market needs
Over the past year BlackBerry has stood firm on its commitment to software and security. The launch of the Android-powered Priv device late last year is evidence that the company is acknowledging what the market wants– an Android-powered device that has BlackBerry-level security– and is willing to take the necessary steps.
The standoff with the government of Pakistan last month and the willingness of the company to withdraw completely from the country rather than hand over user data is a welcome breath of fresh air in an age of constant privacy concerns and breaches.
This commitment to security and renewed focus has allowed the company to turn towards growth.
Growth through acquisitions
There’s no argument that BlackBerry’s focus is on the enterprise audience with security being top of mind. This is evident in the acquisitions that the company has made over the past year and in how those pieces have integrated into the complete picture, making the overall BlackBerry experience more complete.
WatchDox, which was acquired in May of last year, is a data security company with focus on enterprise-based file-sync-and-share solutions across multiple devices. The software effectively allows for security across shared files, irrespective of whether the device is mobile, tablet, or desktop.
AtHoc, which was acquired in September of last year, is a software platform based on providing secure mobile communications. These communications can be cross platform and span into IP radios, sirens, phones, fire panels, and speakers, providing secure networked crisis communications.
Good Technology was also acquired in September of last year. Good is well known in the EMM market for its ability to manage devices that are running Windows or iOS, which ultimately complements BlackBerry’s strengths managing BB10 and Android, creating a more complete product with massive potential in terms of new customers.
BlackBerry is down 19% year-to-date, much like the entire market. Expanding this out over the past three months, however, the stock is up by 10%. Despite this short-term drop in price, the company remains a very solid and great option for investors.