back to article BlackBerry's licensing strategy looks smart – and a lot like Nokia's

BlackBerry didn’t show a new phone in New York City at its annual Security Summit last week, and CEO John Chen sounded a bit fed up that the assembled press corps kept asking about phones. But there was enough in his comments to glean how BlackBerry’s device strategy has evolved - and it’s following a familiar path taken by once …

  1. Baldy50

    Someone stole my Blackberry yesterday. It has since been returned.

    Never used one but isn't it a smart phone that well, isn't?

    Sorry for the crap joke, not mine!

  2. Belardi16

    RIM really screwed themselves years ago. They couldn't see the writing on the wall. When they bought out a small company to get an OS (forgot its name) which they spent 2+ years into making it a Tablet ONLY OS, then another 2 before making for their own phones.

    When they should have just gone Android, modified it to their standards and have something on the market in less than a year.

    hell, even the NEW Nokia phones coming out are... Android.

    1. FIA Silver badge

      "When they bought out a small company to get an OS (forgot its name) which they spent 2+ years into making it a Tablet ONLY OS, then another 2 before making for their own phones."

      That would be QNX, a nice little real time OS.

      I'll be interested to see what becomes of this, as I understand it it's pretty much the go to OS for in car stuff these days. Might be a good little investment long term.

    2. Mark Jan

      2016 Nokias

      hell, even the NEW Nokia phones coming out are... Android.

      Does anyone know anything about the (alleged) new Nokias new out this year?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: 2016 Nokias

        It's all over Google News, just search for something like "new nokia phones".

        1. Mark Jan

          Re: 2016 Nokias

          @ Dan 55

          Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

          I've been holding out for a new phone for a good couple of years, running a Nokia 808 (41MP camera) because a decent camera in my pocket is important to me.

          Hopefully my patience will be rewarded if the rumours on the new Nokia(s) turn out to be true:

          And one of their rumored features has the potential to break new smartphone ground: cameras, the “most sensitive ever” to come to market, that are reportedly the product of a years-long, $1.35 billion graphene development effort.

    3. Down not across

      RIM really screwed themselves years ago. They couldn't see the writing on the wall. When they bought out a small company to get an OS (forgot its name) which they spent 2+ years into making it a Tablet ONLY OS, then another 2 before making for their own phones.

      That would be QNX. Very good Real-time OS it is too. Or at least was back when I last had anything to do with it. Excellent choice for embedded systems.

      hell, even the NEW Nokia phones coming out are... Android.

      You say that like it is a good thing.

      If rooted it becomes bit better as you can actually control the application permissions bit better.

      Sadly it is fast becoming a one horse race, and I would really like bit more choice for phones than Google.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    how long befor BB become

    a NPE (a.k.a Patent Troll)?

    Filing Lawsuits is the only game in town for the new 'suits' who seem to be in control of a lot of companies these days. Naturally, they are either MBA's or Lawyers with a huge school debt to pay off.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: how long befor BB become

      El Reg used to call them "Lawsuits In Motion" a wee while back.

      Although these days it's more conceivable that somebody else would snap up their portfolio and do some patent trolling as a service.®

  4. HarryBl

    Leica and Panasonic have a similar agreement. There are Lumix compact cameras that are exactly the same as Leicas apart from a red spot and a few hundred quid.

  5. P. Lee


    > If Chinese industry can out-engineer and out-manufacture the West, it hasn’t yet show it can out market an Apple or a Sony.

    I remember when "Made in Japan" meant cheap, low quality rubbish.

    Marketing isn't magic. Good quality products at reasonable prices backed not by startups, but by companies which have made billions in manufacturing and are in it for the long-haul, will arrive. Xiaomi is just the in the first wave. Chinese brands based out of China. Just wait for the good quality Chinese brands with European sounding names and European branches who know how to sell locally - they will be here shortly. Then it will be game-over, and not just for phones.

    The IT market is maturing and slowing down. That means the gap between leading-edge research IP and market-commodities is narrowing. The value-add of market-leading tech companies will drop as the lower-end catches up and eats their bread and butter and large corporations with the skills in making things take the market, like Lenovo has. If you think Brexit will make people poor, you ain't seen nuttin' yet. Over the last 30 years the West has done the hard-work in globalisation. Now its an off-the-shelf product.

  6. NeilPost

    Was self[evident years ago

    This strategy was self-evident to may years ago, before the disasters of Playbook, BBX and this much delayed disappointing of the new phones. In the days of Balsille and Mike Lanzadis and the lack of direction post iPhone/Android growth 2009-2012.

    BES Client/BBM should have been 'an App' over 5 years ago for IOS, Android, Windows Phone, leveraging the back end insfastructure and secure comms monthly subscription which actually made money. Having somehow bought Good Mobile Messaging, that ironically is now Blackberry's future.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Marketing will love this!

    Microsoft Surface Phone with Bing, Blackberry edition?

  8. Jim84

    Oxygen OS Security Advantage?

    I'm just a layperson, but I'm wondering if their would be any security advantage if Blackberry made their own version of Android like Oneplus do with Oxygen OS or Amazon do with Fire OS?

    I'm also wondering if there would be any user interface advantage? Would they be able to make android work like BBOS10? Looking at all the horrible android 'skins' out there like Samsung's Touchwiz, I can't help but wonder if using standard Android is somehow inhibiting Samsung from making a decent interface?

    1. Down not across

      Re: Oxygen OS Security Advantage?

      They could do that. Although I don't see much point in that. Might as well keep using QNX in that case.

      Skin would be a no brainer to do to retain as much of the look and feel of BBOS as possible.

      I don't think there is anything in Android inhibiting Samsung. Samsung just thinks Touchwiz is good. Mind you there are plenty of 3rd party launchers out there so you don't have to suffer Touchwiz if you don't like it.

      1. caroleD

        Re: Oxygen OS Security Advantage?

        I was told that if you skin Android, it takes you longer to roll out Google's monthly software updates as you have to check it works with your skin - something BlackBerry wanted to avoid.

        I do wish they did skin it a little bit though, and at least provide some nice wallpapers.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't look at Zeiss from the consumer market only...

    Zeiss is still far more than a brand to be licensed - it may put its brand on some Sony lenses, but that's just a relatively small part of its business. Zeiss is still a powerhouse of optical products - with a strong presence in the industrial and medical sectors, from glass manufacturing to complete complex systems (including their famous planetariums...).

    More or less like Porsche Design - it's a controlled way to sell the Porsche brand, keep it visible, make money, but still Porsche makes its cars in Germany.

    The difference is company like Zeiss have an expertise and manufacturing skills that aredifficult to recreate, even for Chinese companies. BlackBerry has nothing of it. Patents, maybe, but that's all that could protect ideas far too easy and cheap to clone.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "German imaging giant Leica is synonymous with high end SLRs"

    I know I'm a pedant but surely Leica is best known for expensive non-SLRs? It was the last manufacturer of rangefinder cameras and now produces mainly mirrorless designs. Leica SLRs were never very good, certainly not up to the best Canon or Nikon.

    Which does actually show one problem with brand licensing - brand diffusion. Eventually nobody knows what the brand stands for and then it's dead in terms of exclusivity.

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