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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Daily Report: BlackBerry Considers Alternatives to Oblivion

After enduring years of dwindling sales, BlackBerry, a giant of the pre-iPhone era, said on Monday that it was exploring “strategic options” â€" business code for searching for a savior, Ian Austen reports.

For the moment, few seem to want to buy BlackBerry or, for that matter, its newest products. Unless a suitor emerges, BlackBerry risks joining the ranks of technology has-beens like Palm, Gateway and Commodore.

The abrupt decline of BlackBerry illustrates how consumers and investors demand almost instant change these days, especially from tech companies. And the window for redemption for a tech company that misses a step can be tiny indeed.

Four years ago, BlackBerry had 51 percent of the North American smartphone market, according to the research firm Gartner. And Mike Lazaridis, BlackBerry’s co-founder who was then its co-chief executive and co-chairman, was promising an even brighter future.

But then the company responded slowly to new iPhone and Android devices and the company’s sales evaporated. Now, the company has 3.4 percent of the market and Mr. Lazaridis is gone from BlackBerry.

BlackBerry’s board and its current chief executive, Thorsten Heins, portrayed the announcement on Monday as part of a new beginning, but few analysts and little of the tech community were buying that idea. Instead, BlackBerry is often grouped with other once-powerful tech companies, like Nokia and Dell, that are now struggling and appear to have hard roads back to growth, if any at all.