BlackBerry Must Die

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BlackBerry ($BBRY) Must DieBlackBerry ($BBRY) must die.

The company announced today that it is to end production of its Classic handset, reigniting the debate about the company’s future. Many question whether it has one.  As a long-term observer – and critic – of the company’s communications mis-steps, it is clear that BlackBerry’s biggest problem is not the devices, but its ability to sell them.

BlackBerry’s Biggest Problem

BlackBerry’s biggest problem isn’t it’s handsets.  It’s not the mothballed BlackBerry 1o operating system.  It’s the name. BlackBerry. BlackBerry is synonymous with outdated hardware and failing to inspire mobile users.

Here are three reasons why:

  • The BlackBerry brand is irrevocably damaged. It’s become synonymous with delays, undelivered promises, disappointment and, ultimately, failure. If the company has any chance of successfully re-establishing a serious place in the handset market then it will need a new identity.
  • BlackBerry is synonymous with the world of the early 2000s. Its handsets lack the appeal of those currently being sold by the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and, even, Microsoft.  It needs to rid itself of the conversations that start the moment the name is mentioned.
  • BlackBerry says Enterprise. If the new company has visions of providing handsets and services to a wider audience, whether directly, or as a service running on third-party handsets, it needs to shake off those Enterprise perceptions.  BlackBerry needs a startup and small business offering that includes handset and mail server (let’s call it BSS or BlackBerry Startup Server)

The truth is that whatever the company is called, in order for the startup formally called BlackBerry to succeed it needs to go back to the start and re-think its value proposition, target audience and validate its marketing assumptions.  It needs to create an entirely new strategic communications plan.  That starts with a new name.

If you were running the startup formally known as BlackBerry, what would you call it?