BlackBerry Manufacturer Looking to Jump Ship
There are two kinds of stories in tech: the huge successes, and the monumental failures. BlackBerry—once Research in Motion, or RIM—was once the former, and is now decidedly the latter. A post on AllThingsD today reports that BlackBerry’s manufacturing partner, Jabil Circuit, recently revealed in an analyst call that it’s looking to end its partnership with the former smartphone king.
Jabil’s CEO Mark Mondello had this to day during the call:
“We are faced with a strong possibility of disengaging with BlackBerry. Our team has worked diligently over the past few days to comprehend the recently announced changes. […] We’re in discussions right now on how we’re going to wind down the relationship.”
Those “recently announced changes” Mondello’s referring, of course, to this week’s news that BlackBerry was going to be acquired by private equity firm Fairfax Financial, taking the whole company private. Now, it’s important to note that Mondello’s pronouncement isn’t quite “we are separating from BlackBerry,” but that they’re looking into it. That said, it’d be tough to argue that Jabil will somehow stick with the ailing smartphone company.
And that’s not the only bad news to hit BlackBerry. According to Reuters, T-Mobile stores are going to stop carrying BlackBerry handsets in its retail locations. That’s because the majority of BlackBerry buyers—what few of them are left—are businesses that order the phones directly and don’t bother heading to stores to pick them out. There will be display models available for the time being, but T-Mobile will send them directly to customers.
Ultimately, this is all pretty bad news for BlackBerry, but it’s far from the death knell. The fact that the company’s been acquired is a decent enough sign. The loss of its manufacturing partner hurts, but it isn’t as though there aren’t other manufacturing firms out there. BlackBerry’s new financial overlords may be able to negotiate a new contract with a new company as it reworks its strategy going forward.
But then the ultimate question remains: what is that strategy? Will it stay with its current proprietary operating system? Or will BlackBerry go the way of Android? Or even Windows Mobile? That last one’s doubtful considering that Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS are basically in the basement of market share. Maybe Canonical will swoop in and convince BlackBerry to go Ubuntu Mobile!
One thing is clear right now: anything’s got to be better than what it’s doing. Expect to see some major shakeups soon…that is, if BlackBerry still exists through the end of the year.