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BlackBerry exec says company will likely sell off parts to become ‘niche’ player

Published Aug 30th, 2013 2:40PM EDT
BlackBerry Executive Nordberg Interview

BlackBerry knows that it’s never going to move as many smartphones as Apple or Samsung. All the same, the company thinks that it can be a competitive niche player in the mobile world if it cuts off some of the excess baggage that it’s been lugging around for years. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, BlackBerry director Bert Nordberg explained that the company needed to get leaner so that it could focus more on its core strengths. This will likely mean selling off some of its components that don’t fit in with its revised business plan.

Specifically, Nordberg said that there are “subsets within the company that it can get rid of” in the future, although he didn’t specify which subsets it would try to lop off. Regardless, it seems that the company is giving up its past ambitions to compete with iOS and Android in the mass consumer market.

“I think BlackBerry is able to survive as a niche company,” he said. “But being a niche company means deciding to be a niche company. Historically, BlackBerry has had larger ambitions. But battling giants like Apple, Google and Samsung is tough.”

Nordberg, who once served as CEO of Sony Ericsson, also dismissed the idea that the company’s problems would be solved by simply switching to Android and noted that the open-source platform’s security issues aren’t something that plays into the company’s strengths with enterprise users.

“As a CEO of Sony Ericsson, deciding to bet on Android was an easy decision,” he explained. “With BlackBerry things are definitely much harder. Blackberry’s security framework is built into the mobile software, so you can’t just decide to change operating system. But BlackBerry has cash and it has no debt, so I’m sure that we’ll piece something together at the end of the day.”

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.