by Fernando Commodari, Ph.D.
English speaking Asia includes Indonesia, with over 238 million people, the world’s fourth most populous country. The nation’s capital of Jakarta has near 11 million people inhabiting the NW coast of Java. Indonesia shares a border with Malaysia. Other English speaking countries near to Indonesia are, Singapore, the Philippines and Australia.
That 15 million of the 80 million users of BlackBerry devices to July of 2013 were in Indonesia speaks volumes on the need for BlackBerry to have produced another OS 7 device using BBM on the BlackBerry BIS NOC (free BBM’ing where data plans are expensive sells!). The company needs to keep this user base and compete with cheap Asha devices from the former Nokia and Android devices from China and elsewhere. The region is key to BlackBerry surviving, especially with the erosion of the North American markets and loss of sales. Until BlackBerry can correct things in North America, it needs to sustain growth or reach a steady-state equilibrium, in emerging markets. The regrowth of the market in North America won’t happen over night. As South East Asia or Oceania gets cheaper data networks from carriers and as BBM migrates cross platform, with richer features on BlackBerry devices, while introducing iOS and Android users to the OS 10 UI, this region will be ripe for OS 10 devices in a few years. The vision for the BlackBerry Board needs to be broad and long term, while not getting caught up in the negative hype. Those of us who have been long on BlackBerry know that this ride is not for those who get car sick! There is a future for the newest cell phone OS, and BlackBerry can reap profits from the tech it is sowing today, if it stays the course, makes corrections where needed, and executes more effectively and with better market research and marketing. I’m not sure that going private is the best course, certainly not for the share holders at the $9 per share that Fairfax is offering. The negative media and analyst pressures serve a purpose to help in this correction, if painful.
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