Distributors backing BlackBerry despite doubts around future


Manufacturer receives support from distributors who believe that its sale to Fairfax Financial Holdings will benefit it

Distributors, retailers and operators are standing by troubled smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry – despite growing uncertainty about its future.

The Canadian company announced last month its quarterly losses had reached close to £600 million, leading it to exit the consumer space and cut 4,500 jobs.

The manufacturer has also agreed a £3 billion sale fee with Toronto-based company Fairfax Financial Holdings. The news has prompted a number of analysts to suggest the company may exit the hardware market by the middle of next year (see page 14).

But UK distributors disagree – believing that the move will benefit BlackBerry.

Carphone Warehouse Business head of partners Bob Sweetlove (pictured) said: “This is a positive step. It looks to be a business-based plan, which is where their strengths have been.”

Daisy Distribution MD Dave McGinn went even further, saying: “We still enjoy a good relationship with BlackBerry and they still support us as much as they ever have. We have seen no difference in the take-up of their products and if it hadn’t been for the negative press, we wouldn’t have noticed anything was going on.”

Avenir managing director Andy Tow said a move away from hardware may not be the ‘death knell’ some analysts have suggested: “They still have great strengths in security, in services and especially in the enterprise segment. Reinventing themselves as solely a software and services organisation might be a shrewd move.”

Following the announcement Deutsche Telekom pulled BlackBerry handsets from the shelves of its T-Mobile stores in the US, although UK operators, including EE, say they do not expect to follow suit.