On Monday, BlackBerry announced a proposed deal led by Fairfax Financial to acquire the company for around $4.7 billion. While the deal is far from complete due to a six week period of "due diligence," most analysts believe this deal will indeed go through. BlackBerry has yet to share any additional details as to who else is taking part in the consortium, or what this could mean for the company moving forward, but there are some important questions that need to be asked, and answered.
Some of those answers may come from Fairfax's own CEO, Prem Watsa [pictured above], who release a statement about the intended acquisition of BlackBerry today after the announcement:
"We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world."
While that quote may leave some of us feeling a bit uneasy about the future of BlackBerry in the consumer market, it shouldn't come as a surprise. The disastrous statement they released on Friday pretty much pointed us in the same direction as well. The key will be seeing exactly how BlackBerry implements these changes, and what exactly constitutes being a niche player.
As far as BBM is concerned, even after a ridiculously embarrassing "#BBM4ALL launch, but not really" weekend, BlackBerry has no intent of stopping the multiplatform transition. Alex Kinsella, of BlackBerry's BBM team, stated in his channel today that "BBM for iPhone, Android, and BBM Channels are moving forward - no change!"
Will we be able to walk into a carrier store and purchase a BlackBerry 10 smartphone in 2014? What's the app support going to be like for a niche smartphone maker with its own propitiatory OS going forward? What's going to happen with Thorsten, Frank Boulben and the rest of the C-level execs? What the heck is a prosumer?
In the coming weeks we should be getting answers to these questions. We'll see exactly what the extent of BlackBerry's changes have to do with its going private, and what will remain the same allowing us to keep being part of #teamBlackBerry.