On Friday, Blackberry dropped the bomb that everyone knew was coming, but were waiting for the extent of the damage. It seems the Canadian company cannot catch a break.
In the third quarter of 2013, Blackberry posted a $4.4 billion loss, which includes a write-down on the current inventory of $1.6 billion. In terms of sales, this quarter only yielded $1.2 billion in revenue, down 24 percent from last quarter, and 40 percent of that revenue came from the 1.9 million smart phones sold, down from 3.7 million last quarter.
Though things seem pretty dire for the tech company that ushered in the era of BBM’s and still counts POTUS as a customer (the President uses Blackberry for security reasons, but has expressed desire to switch to the iPhone), the company is not down and out yet. Along with the sales loss announcement, Blackberry laid out its plans to bounce back.
The most prevalent plan is a five-year deal with electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The plan would relinquish much of Blackberry’s inventory control to Foxconn. “Essentially, it sounds much more like BlackBerry is making Foxconn a licensee with more or less full control over its smartphone division, while it continues to work on services and software in-house,” writes Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch. “It could be a good way to offload the risk and responsibility of handset production while still selling to its remaining market strongholds.”
In a statement, Blackberry interimCEO John Chen says recent leadership shuffling and an increased focus on software and social media over devices will be key to turning the company around. The smart phone side of Blackberry won’t be going away however – Mr. Chen says the focus will now be capturing emerging markets such as “Indonesia and other fast-growing markets in early 2014.”
Let’s back up for a second – how did Blackberry get here? In 2009, it was named one of the fastest growing companies.
Time’s Sam Gustin says that Blackberry’s biggest failure was not their device, but that they didn’t anticipate that smart phone growth would stem from consumers – not business people.
“BlackBerry was completely blindsided by the emergence of the ‘app economy,’ which drove massive adoption of iPhone and Android-based devices,” he writes. “BlackBerry failed to learn that smartphones would evolve beyond mere communication devices to become full-fledged mobile entertainment hubs.”
Chen has an uphill battle ahead of him, but a massive shake up may be exactly what Blackberry needs after reporting massive losses.
Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News traveled there recently and filed this report.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: In a small town in Bulgaria, a refugee camp like no other in Europe. Over 1,000 Syrians are crammed into housing meant for just 400. Many of them have been living without electricity or hot water for weeks. And because there aren’t enough prefab huts, some are facing winter in Bulgarian army tents.
Whatever the horrors of war they left behind, nothing prepared these Syrians for a European welcome as warm as this.
Jadia Al-Daim was a teacher, now finding herself sharing a tent with three Syrian families many miles from home.
WOMAN: I have family back there, so I have — I’m thinking about them all the time. It’s not easy. I didn’t say goodbye to my family. And they came here. I thought it would be much better. But I was wrong.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Would you ever go back?
WOMAN: Yes, I will go back today, before tomorrow.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: But there is no turning back. These families, mostly Kurds from Northern Syria, have already paid smugglers 300 euros each to cross into Europe from Turkey. It can take up to a month to be registered as a refugee here.
And then the Bulgarians give them just one euro a day each with which to feed themselves. Menau told me she and her children had fled from jihadist groups and that their home was bombed. Rashid was once a tour guide in Damascus. His own tour of Europe has not started well.
RASHID JAMIL, refugee: And coming here, it’s different, not what we think or what we have dreamed or something like that. That’s a big problem for us, but what we can do? We are in here now.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Rashid walked for 10 hours to reach Bulgaria, one of a steady stream of Syrians caught here on heat-sensitive cameras by Bulgarian police.
Here, the border guards are waiting to ambush new arrivals. When they do, the refugees can be seen cowering as they are rounded up in the early hours of the morning. We joined a Bulgarian border patrol. The guards say this route into Europe has become popular since the Greeks built a fence last year. Now the Bulgarians have begun building a fence of their own.
They are catching 10 times the numbers they did a year ago, rounding them up in this processing center which is full to overflowing. The U.N. has repeatedly described conditions for refugees here as unsafe and dire. But we weren’t allowed to meet these brand-new arrivals.
The camps in Turkey are already overloaded, and the Bulgarians say they too are in danger of being overwhelmed. Turkey, which is just on my right here, has taken in about half-a-million Syrian refugees, Bulgaria, by comparison, about 5,000, but this is fortress Europe at a time of austerity. And the presence of some 5,000 Syrian refugees has become one of the biggest political issues of the day here.
In the capital, Sofia, crowds have been protesting that the poorest country in Europe can’t take any more foreigners and that the border should be sealed shut.
MAN (through interpreter): We have warned that the increase in legal immigrants will increase the criminal situation. It will start clashes and increase tensions, leading to social, religious and social unrest in Bulgaria.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Syrians now live with the constant threat of racial violence. In a hospital, we found the brothers and sisters of 17-year-old Ali from Aleppo comforting him after he was punched and stabbed. His mother showed me the wound inflicted by an attacker on the outskirts of the refugee camp in the capital.
MAN (through interpreter): When I started screaming, he escaped.
And then I went to the police at the checkpoint. I told them that I had been stabbed, so they called the ambulance and took me to the hospital.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Ali was attacked outside this derelict school, which is home to some 800 Syrian refugees. Fifteen members of his extended family now live and sleep in this one room. They say their home was hit by Syrian jets, so they crossed into Turkey, and carried this old woman for much of their six-hour trek to Europe.
WOMAN (through interpreter): We had four rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs. Our home was a two-story building. At least the children can sleep here, because they cannot hear the sound of bombing and warplanes.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Her children are too frightened to play with those outside, even though the camp is guarded by Bulgarian police. So they play in the schools’ corridors, which double up as dormitories.
This used to be a classroom. Now 10 Syrian families live in each one. There is no laundry and no kitchen either, not even a sink to wash the dishes. “Bulgarians are poor,” this woman said. “They can’t be expected to help us. Other nations should.”
An avenue of homes screened off with the help of tree branches, even though E.U. law demands a dignified standard of living for refugees. There is a barber, though, who says he has no regrets coming here, escaping the shadow of Syria’s civil war. But the camp’s Bulgarian commandant complains that there are no doctors, with ambulances several times a day ferrying off the sick.
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MAN (through interpreter): The capacity of the camp is full. But when a family with five to 10 children arrive at midnight and they don’t have anywhere to sleep, I force myself to do the impossible and accommodate them.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Yet, none of this reflects well on Bulgaria, accused of keeping conditions deliberately awful to deter more Syrians from coming.
You have got a situation leer where you have Syrian refugees who are living with no heating, no electricity, no running water, no doctors in the camp. Isn’t that a disgrace for a European country?
VASIL MARINOV, Bulgarian Deputy Interior Minister (through interpreter): At the moment, we are working on the water and the electricity. Articles:
You should know that Bulgaria is one of the countries with the lowest gross domestic product per capita.
ILIANA SAVOVA, State Agency for Refugees: For me as a Bulgarian, I’m really ashamed of the conditions that we put these people to, because these are people who came from war.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: But this is a poor country. That is what a lot of Bulgarians would say.
ILIANA SAVOVA: I mean, come on. It is a poor country, that’s right. But, I mean, we should be able to provide at least basic standards to these people, at least some hospitality and some basic things, like, you know, feeding them, keeping them warm, and giving them the medical, you know, attention they need.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Europe was a dream for these refugees. Now seeking sanctuary here seems like a desperate gamble. And faced with conditions like these, their journey west in search of a brighter future will surely begin again.
NEW YORK (AP) - Stock futures rose sharply ahead of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting. There was also a pair of multibillion-dollar buyouts Monday. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 91 points to 15,792. S&P futures gained 9.7 points to 1,778.20. Nasdaq futures tacked on 15.75 points to 3,469. The U.S. Federal Reserve will release a statement and projections for the economy Wednesday and the wording of that statement will be key.
Economists were almost unanimous in believing that the U.S. Federal Reserve would not begin winding down its monthly $85 billion bond-buying program just yet.
Recent economic data on jobs and consumer behavior now have some thinking that policymakers may begin hinting at a withdrawal.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said over the summer that before the government begins to pull back, he’d like to see a more stable employment picture, an inflation rate closer to the Fed’s 2 percent target, and rising economic activity.
The government reported Monday that U.S. workers increased productivity from July through September, the fastest clip since late 2009.
It was the latest potential indicator of sustained economic growth.
Also on Monday, AIG announced the sale of its aircraft leasing business for about $5.4 billion. And the chipmaker Avago Technologies is buying LSI Corp. for $6.6 billion.
The Fed reports on output for industrial production in November as well Monday.
A closely watched report from the Institute for Supply Management, a private group of purchasing managers, recently showed factory activity climbed in November at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years.
Looking back over a lifetime in the legal profession and the complex world of politics, I realized that what has actually brought me the most happiness are a few, simple pleasures. One of them is seeing my beautiful wife, Liane, smile. Another pleasure, more accessible to the general public, is to walk on our beautiful Atlantic County beaches in the autumn and winter months.
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An early morning stroll at water’s edge in the “off-season” fills me with a powerful sense of being one with the earth and the sea, a sense which cannot arise in the noisy swirl of summer visitors and their radios and iPods.
While the air may be chill and the wind brisk, the beach in fall or even winter offers an unspoiled wilderness of waves where one can be alone with the universe. Embraced by the ocean’s roar, buffeted by an off-shore breeze, engulfed in a sky slowly changing to a luminous blue, I gain a profound perspective on all of life. Related businesses:
I stare at footprints in the sand, imagining what or who has made them, pondering that some rise before dawn to leave their ephemeral marks upon the shore.
The birds, which fill the sky or hop over the sand have no fear of humans but accept us as harmless fellow journeyers on this blue world spinning among the stars.
Please take my advice and leave your ear buds home and welcome instead the call of those myriad shore birds, their song unchanged for millions of years. Join with me in quietly hunting for pretty shells, a simple joy we first develop as children but retain through our “mature” years.
Occasionally, as we perambulate, we will see a patient fisherman, nod to him as we pass, knowing that there are a precious few others savoring this unique scene. The fisherman knows the value of persistence and of an inner calm, waiting for nature to reward his lonely vigil.
In the morning twilight, ruminating on all these thoughts, the lines of William Wordsworth’s poem “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” fill my mind. You may remember them from the classic movie “Splendor in the Grass,” starring a fresh-faced Warren Beatty and a beautiful Natalie Wood as young lovers destined to live apart.
What though radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind…
Lloyd D. Levenson is Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic City-based law firm Cooper Levenson and Chairman of the firm’s Casino Law Departments in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Mr. Levenson may be reached at (609)344-3161 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.