Remain calm. All is well.
In a letter published on its website and repurposed in newspaper ads around the country, BlackBerry is trying a simple message: "You can continue to count on us."
In its "important message," Blackberry says it has "substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free." The company also reiterates plans to cut expenses in half.
With a gift for understatement, given the company's high-profile fall from grace, BlackBerry acknowledges "challenging times for us," but emphasizes it is "making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry."
BlackBerry, once known as Research in Motion, virtually owned the smartphone market, with its BlackBerry devices so ubiquitous in business they even spawned repetitive-stress injuries known as “BlackBerry thumbs.” But a failure to respond to the growth of Apple's iPhone and a series of ho-hum products put a thumb into the eye of the company's investors. Within a short period, the company went from dominance to irrelevance in the smartphone market.
The company does acknowledge its tough environment. “Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone,” the company says. “That’s OK. You have always known that BlackBerry is different, that BlackBerry can set you apart.”
Left unsaid is that BlackBerry may not even exist soon. Several entities – including current investor Fairfax Financial and a team lead by co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin – are considering a buyout. Some of those acquirers are said to be interested in breaking up the company, and unlocking the value in its intellectual property, rather than its products.