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The name BlackBerry resonates with investors as the company who lead the cell-phone revolution, only to be eventually trumped by Apple as they dragged their heels when innovative smartphone technologies came to the market. This is a monkey that might actually always be on the back of BlackBerry, even as they continue to pursue extremely lucrative business opportunities, primarily in a space where they are ahead of the curve: security
We do not expect nor do we suggest that BlackBerry BBRY, -0.72% change its name or rebrand itself. In fact, we believe that relationship will only solidify the future business of the company as they pursue security in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. It is our opinion that BlackBerry is in the right place at the right time, again.
We know they were ahead of the curve with cell phones, and we currently believe they are ahead of the curve with security as well.
Vulnerability threats now expand much further than cell-phone hacking. BlackBerry already offers the most secure cell-phone network. That is why governments use BlackBerry. Interestingly, it is this security and the inability to hack into it and read texts and emails that caused Pakistan, a country where the business of hacking might actually be a viable one, to disallow BlackBerry devices. Pakistan could not hack Blackberrys, so instead, they are not allowing them in the country anymore.
However, you would never know BlackBerry had the best security if you walked into a Verizon VZ, -0.47% store; BlackBerry is not advertising their competitive advantage very well at all. I am not sure if this is part of John Chen’s plan, but why would it be?
The more important question might actually be how much could BlackBerry phone sales improve if they did? Given all of the public security risks in “smart autos,” namely the recent Fiat Chrysler hacking and Harmon Kardon issues, in addition the hacking into a Tesla TSLA, -2.52% vehicle that will be officially disclosed on Friday, intelligent shoppers might embrace the option of heightened security.
I know if I walked into a store and learn that “this phone was much more secure than others,” it would make a material difference in my decision making. The general public doesn’t know this. All they know is that BlackBerry was popular, and now Apple AAPL, -0.05% rules.
In addition, I might add, an excellent way to reach added small businesses and even potential enterprise customers is to use that platform as a launch point for the suite of security products offered by BlackBerry. There is more staying power in security than in technology fads that draw the attention of younger consumers, which is not to say that those technologies will be neglected, but no one has the suite of security products that BlackBerry has. If a consumer was properly educated, that person would learn that by being part of BlackBerry, he is not only securing his phone, but he is part of a much larger security infrastructure that spans the IoT space.
In our opinion, it is all about marketing now.
BlackBerry is ahead of the curve regarding security, and they have one of the most robust marketing channels imaginable. All they need to do is make the public (consumers and businesses) aware and they will flourish. It is marketing 101, and if done properly, BackBerry will once again be a $100 billion company. They are in the right place at the right time, again…
Limiting smartphone production to one or two per year is probably a good idea, but exiting the business would be foolish. The cell phone business is an exceptional marketing channel.