Cue the violins and lower the final curtain. It’s swan song time for BlackBerry.
Canada’s once darling tech behemoth has been reduced to a rickety shamble, long forgotten by the QWERTY-free masses who once proudly holstered a “CrackBerry” to their hip.
The company, whose founders famously lambasted the first iPhone as “impossible” and dismissed touchscreen devices as clumsy fads, announced a $4.7 billion deal with majority shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a move projected to take the troubled phone maker private. Journalistic vultures, scavenging the wounded remains for any remnant scrap, this deal begs the question: what’s in it for Fairfax? In a word – patents.
BlackBerry’s patents – valued in excess of $5 billion – could hold invaluable allure to certain contenders (read Apple and Google), willing to fork over small fortunes just to keep these innovations under wraps and away from competitive eyes. Irony aside, competition was never BlackBerry’s problem. Reaction to it was.
BlackBerry’s legacy will live on – ‘BlackBerry thumb’ and ‘CrackBerry’ made Webster’s in 2006, the latter being named ‘dictionary word of the year’. Small comfort perhaps, but there are worse things than being immortalized in print. Just ask Nortel.