Mobile

BlackBerry director says it can survive as a ‘niche’ company

Above: The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

While all options are on the table for BlackBerry’s future at this point, one of the company’s board members believes it can survive by scaling down its ambitions.

Bert Nordberg, the former CEO of Sony Mobile (previously called Sony Ericsson), recently joined BlackBerry as a director and a member of the five-person special committee that’s deciding the company’s future. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, he discussed his initial impressions on climbing aboard the troubled company.

“I think BlackBerry is able to survive as a niche company,” Nordberg told the WSJ. “But being a niche company means deciding to be a niche company. Historically, BlackBerry has had larger ambitions. But battling giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung is tough.”

BlackBerry announced in August that it was considering just about every option — from a complete sale to another firm, to selling off some of its assets. A recent report claimed the company was considering spinning out BlackBerry Messenger, its most successful product at this point.

Nordberg pointed to BlackBerry’s strong focus on security and popularity worldwide as reasons why it may survive in a significantly reduced form. The company may never be able to reclaim its position as a smartphone market leader, but it could have an easier time staying afloat if it aimed lower.

Nordberg, notably, was the person who pushed Sony Ericsson away from dumb phones and towards Android-powered smartphones. That tactic never led to any big successes from Sony Ericsson, but it allowed the company to stay competitive with other smartphone makers. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, it seems far too late for a mere platform change to make a difference.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.