The Debate: After a rebrand and new product launch, can BlackBerry save itself from decline?

YES
Jeff Kagan

BlackBerry can be saved, but it won’t reclaim its position as a market leader. The question is who is going to be the third player in the market behind Apple and Google: Microsoft, Nokia, or BlackBerry? BlackBerry still has a sizeable customer base – especially corporate users. Its brand was looking tired, but now its management finally understands the need for better marketing, which is key to winning consumer users. The latest rebranding is a good step in re-energising the company, and its new handsets have a lot of exciting features. Its technology is excellent, and could be licensed to other companies, so BlackBerry will survive in some form – in a similar way to Qualcomm (it used to be in the handset business, but now supplies technology to other manufacturers). There are challenges ahead, but I like the latest steps it has taken. It positions Blackberry to be a player once again.

Jeff Kagan is an independent technology analyst.

NO
Steve Dinneen

Nothing lasts forever. BlackBerry’s time as a major player in the smartphone market is almost up. Its new handset, the Z10, is a quality device: innovative, attractive, even fun. But it’s too little too late – it has lost far too much ground to bigger, better-resourced rivals. It bravely – or stupidly – shirked making a deal with Google to use its Android software, instead spending years building a new operating system of its own. But its market share is now in terminal decline. The Canadian firm is still spinning the wheel of the Titanic, not realising it’s at a 45 degree angle, slipping slowly but inexorably below the icy water. BlackBerry’s best hope now is to compete for the scraps left by Apple and Samsung. Its fate echoes that of Nokia, a former mobile king that took its eye off the ball, tried to mount a comeback and discovered that nobody cared anymore.

Steve Dinneen is lifestyle editor at City A.M..