George Leong: It’s ironic that BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY) announced that it was looking at viable strategic alternatives on Monday on the same day speculation grew that rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be looking at launching a much-needed new “iPhone” in September.
So, BlackBerry appears to be throwing in the towel, which, of course, I have said it should have done since the iPhone became the go-to smartphone in the U.S.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins—once the optimist—appears to be facing reality in light of the market gains in not only Apple but also Samsung and “Android”-based smartphones. BlackBerry’s new line of the “Z10” and “Q10” are good phones, but it’s a case of too little too late. While the Z10 may be technically better than the iPhone, the difference was simply not enough to sway users to give up their iPhones and “Galaxys” (Samsung).
Even on the low end of the smartphone market in the emerging markets, BlackBerry was not faring well and is losing market share to cheap Chinese phone makers ZTE and Huawei Technologies. There’s also speculation that Apple may finally be launching a cheaper version of its iPhone to compete in the low-cost but critical markets in Asia and Latin America. Apple was recently meeting with some of the top mobile-phone providers in China. We can guess why.
While BlackBerry is dead as a viable investment (the company does have some valuable patents), Apple is now at a critical juncture of its history. You kind of wish the late Steve Jobs were still around. The stock has rallied but remains far below its high of $705.00.
Apple’s chart shows the decline from the peak, but the stock was able to hold at $400.00.