Distributors backing BlackBerry despite doubts around future

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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.”

Operators
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.

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