BlackBerry’s Must-Win Moment

Give Thorsten Heins credit for being gutsy. The BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) chief skewered Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPhone as old technology ahead of the U.S. launch of the new Z10 handset.

Say what you will about this being Heins' pot-kettle-black moment. It doesn't matter. What does is that he's openly challenged Apple and CEO Tim Cook to the tech equivalent of a fistfight, and the whole world is watching to see if he'll be knocked right back on his keister.

Can BlackBerry win? What little data we have so far says the Z10 is a mild seller. But retail sales isn't where the fight will be won or lost, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following video.

Please watch and then leave a comment in the box below. Did you buy a Z10? Have you switched from BlackBerry to iPhone or vice versa? Let us know what you think.

Unsure of how how the smartphone race will impact Apple? Allow me to introduce you to The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, who has the skinny on the various reasons to buy or sell Apple right now. Click here to get his latest thinking on the stock  and what opportunities are left for Apple (and your portfolio) going forward.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2013, at 6:40 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    Wow, I thought Andrew Tonner made stupid videos.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2013, at 6:59 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    It appears that this site is where dumb analysts go to die.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2013, at 7:21 PM, Alext1379 wrote:

    Switched to Z10 on day one. iP4S now does iTouch duty for my assortment of fart and flashlight apps.

    Here in Canada, Z10 and iP5 going head to head at $99 and up. Galaxy S3 is now free, Note 2 is $50 so that tells you where the demand is.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2013, at 7:24 PM, Oril wrote:

    Give it a break will you. Apple closed the day down blackberry closed higher. Tomorrow morning blackberry releases results. Nothing more needs to be said except

    Get a life fool

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2013, at 9:53 PM, mura0009 wrote:

    I was a wireless store owner (2004-2008) so I hope this fact will add some real weight to my words.

    1. Historically when I-phone came, a lot of blackberry customers jumped and bought the new cool phone. 1 month later I was getting 25-40%of them back begging me to switch them back to Blackberry. Why? Because they were doing business and speed and efficiency of use is extremely important.

    2. I have to give apple a credit: amazing marketing brought amazing results.

    3. Z10 is more advanced than I-phone because of its OPERATING SYSTEM and not the hardware specs.

    4. Go to product page of Z10 on ATT and read user reviews - they are switching from I-phones and android phones.

    5. Company that has stable 80 mln and counting customer base and no debt does deserve way higher stock price.

    6. Stores in US are selling 7-20 Z10 a day. Multiply that by number of the stores and number of days - you get the picture.

    7 Were you expecting lineups for blackberry!? It didn't happen even in Canada when first color screen blackberry was out. Market is saturated and people have to simply take time to upgrade.

    Hope this helps.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2013, at 6:41 AM, RandomMeaning wrote:

    "On March 27, 2013, at 9:53 PM, mura0009 wrote:

    I was a wireless store owner (2004-2008) so I hope this fact will add some real weight to my words."

    Not really but lets go over your statements.

    "1. Historically when I-phone came, a lot of blackberry customers jumped and bought the new cool phone. 1 month later I was getting 25-40%of them back begging me to switch them back to Blackberry. Why? Because they were doing business and speed and efficiency of use is extremely important."

    That sounds nice but reality hasn't born that out. Blackberry's US and World market share have both dropped to low single digits. Apple is shipping over 40 million iPhones a quarter and has by far the highest customer satisfaction. For 9 (nine) quarters in a row. So high that all the rest of the phone manufacturers come in as below average. Blackberry wins the distinction of having the lowest customer satisfaction.

    "2. I have to give apple a credit: amazing marketing brought amazing results."

    Marketing can help but if there isn't a great product to back it with, it doesn't. Besides, that's just simplistic rationalization designed to avoid facing reality. The truth of the matter is that Apple makes quality premium products that 100s of millions of people enjoy across the world which are supported by a broad and diverse ecosystem. And as mentioned above, Apple earns by far the highest satisfaction scores.

    "3. Z10 is more advanced than I-phone because of its OPERATING SYSTEM and not the hardware specs."

    From your perspective, perhaps. That's exactly the kind of argument tech geeks like to waffle on about. From what I've seen and read there are things that are nice and other things which are serious UI mistakes. In the end, what matters is acceptance. What's the score so far? According to many reports from many separate sources the UK, Canadian, and Gulf launches had modest interest initially. The UK and Gulf have since dropped off and even walked back due to returns. According to reports, the returns were due to problems with the OS, poor battery life, and lack of apps. Their words, not mine.

    "4. Go to product page of Z10 on ATT and read user reviews - they are switching from I-phones and android phones."

    Considering how small Blackberry's market share is, I would expect that a large portion of buyers would also be Android and/or iPhone users. On the other hand, considering the marketing campaign being waged across the comments sections of the many financial articles I read, those reviews are suspect. No doubt some are authentic but it's quite clear that there is a small cadre of people, payed or not, that are using multiple IDs to pose as concerned Blackberry supporters. Nothing new there. Microsoft has done this many times such as the launch of the Zune and XBox.

    "5. Company that has stable 80 mln and counting customer base and no debt does deserve way higher stock price."

    Actually, last quarter it was declining. And even positive news on their subscription count is now suspect since they have announced that they have changed their counting method but have declined to explain how. A recent theme with Blackberry, unfortunately. No debt is nice but Samsung is spending more on marketing and spiffs than Blackberry is valued as a company, let alone has in the bank. Deserves a higher stock price? Perhaps. Certainly a share holder underwater would think so. And on a day to day basis, the stock market can be crazy and make strange movements. But on a year to year basis it usually evens out. Guess we'll see how it works out.

    "6. Stores in US are selling 7-20 Z10 a day. Multiply that by number of the stores and number of days - you get the picture."

    Do you have a link to back that up? There may be some stores selling those numbers but you're trying to make it sound like they all are. Even on launch day, very few stores were reporting those numbers for AT&T. T-Mobile's launch was so quiet that neither the press nor Blackberry fans mentioned it. Tomorrow we'll find out what happens with Verizon. This is the third pitch for the US batter with two strikes against him. UK and Gulf got singles but were tagged out. Canada got a single and is still on base. Pretty quiet game so far. We'll see what happens next.

    "7 Were you expecting lineups for blackberry!? It didn't happen even in Canada when first color screen blackberry was out. Market is saturated and people have to simply take time to upgrade."

    One would expect some kind of reaction for the long awaited flagship Blackberry presenting a completely new OS after years of waiting. Even WebOS had some lines. Same with Surface Pro. Surface Pro had limited stock, a few lines, and a few sell outs. Blackberry had limited stock, no lines, and no sell outs. That is not a good sign and corporate buyers, who are notoriously slow to move on new and expensive technologies, are observing that the only enthusiasm for Blackberry is coming from a few guys posting misinformation in comments sections and Seeking Alpha.

    Personally, I like that Blackberry is working to remain independent with their own OS which they purchased. I respect that. And I believe that they can be a highly successful niche company in the short term. Maybe more in the long term.

    What I find tiresome is the many posts by supposed supporters who are distorting reality to force their desires forward. Often to the point where they are creating unrealistic expectations and/or creating negativity for Blackberry's brand. Sure, support your home team. Nothing wrong with that. But when you have to mislead and misinform to do it, you really need to self assess.

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