2013 was supposed to be a big comeback year for BlackBerry. The company released its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones in January – its big push to stay relevant in the high-end smartphone market. Despite a name change and rebranding effort, those devices have not sold well enough to turn the company around. BlackBerry financial results this year have been dismal, with falling subscriber numbers highlighting what industry watchers have known for over a year.
BlackBerry today announced that its board of directors has formed a special committee to consider “strategic alternatives.” The options to be explored include joint ventures or strategic partnerships to better promote BlackBerry 10, as well as the option of selling the company.
The committee will be chaired by BlackBerry board member Timothy Dattels and includes BlackBerry Chairperson Barbara Stymiest and BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins. BlackBerry board member Prem Watsa has resigned his position on the board, citing his role as chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial as a possible conflict of interest.
“We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition,” said Heins. “As the special committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network.”