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商业 - 科技

收购黑莓有什么好处?

Cyrus Sanati 2013年08月15日

黑莓能提供给收购者的不仅仅是数据安全性。它还拥有许多忠诚的企业客户、以及大量有价值的专利。微软、谷歌、苹果,无论这三家中的哪家公司收购了黑莓,都能进一步巩固自己在智能手机市场的竞争优势。同时,黑莓是一家加拿大公司,这三家公司可以动用海外资金收购,借此省下大笔税款。

    谷歌(Google)、苹果(Apple)和微软(Microsoft)这三大巨头,不管谁能收购一度如日中天、如今却落花流水的黑莓手机(Blackberry),谁就能借此如虎添翼。虽然黑莓的销量早已跌入低谷,市场也一蹶不振,但我们不能忘了它还有一个强大的安全数据网络、许多忠诚的企业客户、以及大量有价值的专利,因此它对于一个战略收购者而言是一笔极划算的交易。不仅如此,由于收购者或许可以通过尚未被美国政府课税的海外收益来收购黑莓,因此这笔交易还会给收购者带来一些相当划算的税务优势。

    黑莓在移动市场上的失利已经给股东造成了重大的损失。2008年的时候,作为智能手机行业的先驱,黑莓的市值曾高达840亿美元,控制了智能手机市场五成以上的份额。而五年后,这家公司的市值已经缩水到了上周的48亿美元,市场份额也暴跌到可怜的3%。

    过去这五年里,黑莓走了很多弯路。简而言之,黑莓错在没有及时开发出让消费者轻松快捷上网的定制应用。而且黑莓花了好几年的时间才推出一块真正好用的、以消费者体验为中心的触摸屏和一个还算合格的操作系统。

    黑莓在今年年初推出了全新的“黑莓10”系列智能手机和操作系统,这是公司新管理层上台后,为了重返消费者市场而迈出的勇敢的一步。黑莓10手机即便与市面上的其它高端手机相比也不遑多让,而且系统也很流畅,相对来说比较好用。但是无论如何,公司仅凭黑莓10已经无力扭转大局。它的影响力太小,来得也太晚了。消费者已经被锁定在了苹果、谷歌或是微软的移动平台上。要想从其它平台回到黑莓的平台上会导致昂贵的换机成本,很多消费者都过不了这一关。

    本周一,黑莓正式宣布成立了一个特别委员会,寻求其它战略性的替代方案,以“提高公司的价值和规模,加速黑莓10的部署”。黑莓表示,它会考虑任何替代方案,包括“可能建立合资企业、战略合作伙伴关系或结盟,甚至将公司出售,或其它可能的交易。”|

    目前,走私有化道路不会给黑莓带来任何好处。如果在几年前或是在杠杆收购正流行的时候走私有化,可能还会好一些,但是绝不是今天。当然,等公司私有化之后再进行切割或出售是比较容易的,但是黑莓的资金是逐渐减值的,先私有化再谈判需要花的时间太长了,等到那时,黑莓10又成了“老人机”,公司届时可能已经烧干了它的31亿美元现金,却什么也没有得到。把黑莓卖给战略竞争对手的时间就是现在,而不是以后。

    现在苹果、谷歌、微软这三大运营商都在为了争夺智能手机市场的最后一点份额而鏖战,无论黑莓花落谁家,都会增强竞争优势。比如iPhone的iMessage功能可以让用户免费发送短信给其它iPhone用户,事实证明,它简单有效地把很多客户锁定在了iOS平台上。无论是谷歌的Android还是微软的WP平台暂时都没有能和它抗衡的对手,只是有传言说这两大平台都在研发类似的产品。而黑莓的BBM系统的功能与iMessage相差无几,而且在某些地区还极为流行,其中既包括英国这样的国家,也包括海地这样的第三世界国家。如果谷歌和微软把BBM融合到他们的平台上,那么他们就有实力在免费短信市场上与苹果分庭抗礼,同时也会给他们带来全球各地的大量忠诚客户,而且他们还可能会把这个平台介绍给其他用户。光是这一项,就可能给谷歌或微软带来几十亿美元的未来收益。

    One of the "Big Three" mobile computing giants – Google, Apple or Microsoft - could win big by picking up a loser: the once great BlackBerry. Despite its poor sales and sad marketing, BlackBerry (BBRY) actually has a great deal to offer a strategic acquirer with its secure data network, loyal corporate clientele and slew of valuable patents. But that's not all. Such a deal also offers some sweet tax advantages for the Big Three as Blackberry could possibly be paid for using foreign earnings that have yet to be taxed by U.S. authorities.

    BlackBerry's failure to admit defeat has come at a great cost to its shareholders. In 2008, the mobile pioneer had a market value topping $84 billion and commanded more than 50% of the smartphone market. Five years later, the company's market value, as of the close of last week, came in at $4.8 billion, while its share of the smartphone market had fallen to a pathetic 3%.

    The company made many missteps during that time, but, in a nutshell, BlackBerry missed the boat when it came to developing bespoke applications that made using the mobile web easier and faster for consumers. It also took years to offer a truly usable consumer-focused touch screen with a decent operating system.

    The unveiling of the "BlackBerry 10" series smartphones and operating system earlier this year were valiant attempts by the company's new management to reenter the consumer market. The phones were comparable to other high-end phones on the market, and the operating system was smooth and relatively easy to use. But the 10 wasn't a game changer in any sense of the word and was simply too little too late. Consumers had already been locked into either Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) or Microsoft's (MSFT) operating platforms. Moving from one of the other platforms back to BlackBerry would have entailed large switching costs, which ultimately proved too high of a hurdle for consumers to leap over.

    On Monday Blackberry formally announced that it had formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives that would "enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment." The company said it was open to all alternatives, including "possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions."

    Going private doesn't really offer Blackberry any real advantages at this point. It would have been better to do so a couple years ago or during the leverage buy-out boom, but not today. Sure, it is easier to chop up and sell the company while it is private, but Blackberry's assets have a degrading shelf life. The time it would take to rustle up all the offers and to go private and then to negotiate deals is too long of a time table. The 10 series would look ancient by then and the company would have burned up more of its $3.1 billion cash pile for nothing. The time to sell BlackBerry to a strategic competitor is now, not tomorrow.

    Apple, Google and Microsoft could each leverage Blackberry's platform to make them more competitive as the three companies wrestle for the last bits of the smartphone market. For example, the iPhone's iMessage feature, which allows users to send free text messages to other iPhone users, has been an easy and cost effective way for Apple to lock people into its network. There is really no universal equivalent of iMessage on Google's Android operating platform or Microsoft's Window's platform, yet, despite rumors that they both were developing such a system. Blackberry's BBM system is similar to iMessage and is extremely popular in places as diverse as the United Kingdom and Haiti. Incorporation of BBM into their platforms would not only put Google and Microsoft on equal footing with Apple in the free text market, but it would also give them a built-in set of consumers from around the globe who can help spread their platform to other users. That alone could be worth billions of dollars of future revenue down the line.

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