如今，指摘黑莓非常容易。过去五年，公司前一个管理团队的拙劣表现，或许将成为商学院课堂上的经典负面教材，被一届又一届的学生们用来研究一家公司在面临竞争时是如何坐以待毙的。但无论如何，现在的黑莓正处于上升期。公司股票比去年的最低点上涨了超过一倍，而且，经过两年的发展（在科技界已经是很长时间）后，公司凭借最新推出的操作系统 Blackberry 10以及Z10、Q10和最近发布的Q5等几款新手机，终于重回正轨。
Blackberry's decision to make its free messaging service, BBM, available on other mobile phone platforms is a Hail Mary play for a damaged company that pretty much has nothing to lose at this point. By giving away the stickiest feature available to Blackberry's dwindling consumer base to Android and iOS users for free, the company is hoping that it will be able to expand, or at the very least maintain, its once lucrative ecosystem.
It is extremely easy to bash on Blackberry (BBRY) these days. The bunglings of its former management team over the last five years will probably be studied in business schools for generations as how not to do just about everything. But Blackberry is on an upswing of sorts at the moment. Its stock has more than doubled from its lows hit last year, and after two years of development (light years in the tech world) the company is "back in the game" with the launch of its new operating system, Blackberry 10, and a few new handsets, the Z10, Q10, and the recently announced Q5.
Yet despite the recent optimism over the launch of the Blackberry 10 series, the company will almost certainly continue to lose market share in the crowded consumer hardware space to rivals that use Google's (GOOG) Android platform. Phones shipped with the Blackberry operating system made up just 2.9% of mobile phones sold in the first quarter of this year, down 35% from last year, according to new sale numbers released by IDC on Thursday. Phones running Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows operating system outsold Blackberry for what appears to be the first time, capturing 3.2% of the market. But phones running either Android or Apple's (AAPL) iOS, captured 92% of all mobile sales -- with Android garnering 59% of the total market, an 80% increase from the same time last year. With that, Android now runs on 75% of the world's smartphones.
To be fair, those first-quarter sales numbers just reflect eight days of sales for the new Blackberry phones in the U.S. and just a couple of months of sales in Canada. Nevertheless, the public's lukewarm reception to the product -- no one was camping out for the new Z10 -- isn't encouraging. The phone has reportedly passed the 1 million shipped mark in its first quarter of launch, which isn't bad, but isn't great for a company with such huge brand recognition. By contrast, nearly 5 million iPhones were sold in the first week of its launch back in September.
There really isn't much you can do on a Blackberry that you can't do on an Android phone these days. There aren't a bunch of must-have apps that run exclusively on Blackberry, for example. Indeed, Blackberry seems to have surrendered the app development space to Google as it considers the new Blackberry 10's ability to run Android app clones as a major selling point.
But there is one consumer-focused feature that Blackberry offers that no other handset maker or mobile platform has -- its Blackberry Messaging Service (BBM). The service allows Blackberry users to send and receive messages, share files, and even exchange music with other Blackberry users without incurring special messaging charges from their wireless carrier. It has proven to be very sticky in places like Indonesia, Haiti, and Nigeria where wireless service is unreliable.