After years of struggling to compete with smartphone leaders Apple and Samsung, in January 2013 Research in Motion (RIM) officially changed its corporate name to BlackBerry (BBRY). Apparently the hope was that trading on the iconic brand would breathe new life into a company that was limping along. By summer, it had emerged that BlackBerry would seek a buyer to be saved.
Then, earlier this month, the news broke that BlackBerry has taken itself off the market and fired its CEO after a potential acquisition by its largest investor had fallen through.
Another "berry" recently in the news is Burberry, also an iconic brand, but in luxury goods. In mid-October, it was announced that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts had been hired by Apple to polish up the image of its retail stores.
Beyond the similarity in their names, is there a connection between BlackBerry and Burberry?
The situation Ahrendts faced when she came to Burberry in 2006 was not unlike the one facing BlackBerry several years ago. Known for its classic trench coats, which had become a basic in any man's wardrobe, the brand was still popular, but flagging. Ahrendts brought it back.
But Ahrendts had a huge advantage in that she had a core product (raincoats) with a hardcore loyal fan base to work with, Thorsten Heins (the now former CEO of BlackBerry) did not. All those young men in suits and ties who previously could not live without their BlackBerrys had given up on them.
In an blog post published yesterday in VentureBeat, founder and president Marty Wolf wrote about what ails BlackBerry and why we should not expect a turnaround similar to that of Burberry. He wrote, "I have always said that smart buyers typically buy an asset for future value. But most sellers have a hard time expressing to a potential buyer what their future value is. Nothing I have ever written is more relevant to BlackBerry in the year 2013."
What is the future value of BlackBerry? To learn more about Marty's perspective on this question and the company's prospects, read the complete article in VentureBeat.