BlackBerry co-founders officially declare interest in buying back company

The soap opera that is the BlackBerry company saga continues to take new twists and turns. A few weeks after the smartphone company agreed to be bought out by Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7 billion, two of the company's co-founders have officially declared their own interest in buying back the business they started.

In a filing made today by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, who together own about eight percent of the company's stock, have revealed plans to front an exploratory effort that, if successful, would have the duo buy the rest of the shares in BlackBerry they don't already own. Lazaridis was previously rumored to be thinking about taking back BlackBerry before the Fairfax Financial Holdings announcement.

If you thought that Fairfax had the inside track to acquiring the Canadian company, think again. There is considerable doubt among financial analysts that the group will be able to raise the money needed to make its offer work. On the other hand, today's SEC filing indicates that Lazaridis and Fregin have hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to be their financial advisers.

Late last week, Reuters reported, via unnamed sources, that BlackBerry was in talks with companies like Cisco, Google, and SAP about selling off parts or even all of Blackberry to interested parties. Add it all up, and the future of the once dominant name in smartphones is officially up in the air.

Source: SEC

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They need to make some cheaper phones...Not everyone wants to spend so much on a phone...Especially from a company that might be going under...I would love to have one to try it out. But, I like to buy my phone all at once, not over two or three years..So I'm not going to spend some 600$ on a phone.

I know a lot of people that swear by the BlackBerry hardware, i agree too, ive seen some blackberrys that have been really bashed around, my own company one was always thrown in my bag and it never had a problem. The battery is also really good.

Although i don't agree with the Android or WP route. The reason is that i think BlackBerry should concentrate on the standard blackberry form factor (Q10) and relegate the Z10 full screen device as a secondary. When you say blackberry the first thing that comes to mind if the phone with half a screen half a keyboard, there is still a big market for this kind of consumer/business consumer. I don't think Android or WP is optimized for this kind of setup. I know that android has/did appear on some keyboard based phones, however the primary design is that of a slate full screen phone, even more so with WP8.

It does sound easy to simply stick Android or WP OS onto a blackberry as half a screen will still work right? The problem is that blackberry's are optimised for keyboard use, meaning there are thousands of design elements and shortcuts all based around the keyboard. Ask any blackberry power user and they will tell you how they can quickly switch around, move through emails efficently using just the keyboard. Android and WP is optimised with gestures all around the concept of a full screen device with a soft keyboard. Both would work with a blackberry configuration, however i don't think the experience will be as good, i think it will feel hackish.

The second problem is that going android means going up against samsung which has shed loads of money to throw at most problems. Going WP means going up against Nokia, perhaps they might carve out a niche by being the first keyboard WP, however how long would that last, if that made inroads then nokia would simply do the same (just look at the nokia E61 aka nokia's answer to blackberry). The other problem with WP is that it's still not quite ready for the enterprise, missing features such as VPN could be a problem getting enterprise acceptance.

Personally i think the BB OS X based on QNX (incredible OS) is a good fit and they should continue with it.

To me BlackBerry needs to go back to it's roots. Back to the enterprise! A lot of IT people liked the BES config as it allowed them to secure blackberrys really well, you could tie down everything pretty easily. A lot of business/enterprise users will be happy, yeah theres a slight learning curve with the new OS but they would get into the swing of things really quickly. However at the core of all of this has to be the Q10 front and centre. It's a waste of time blackberry showing the Z10/30, the iPhone, Nokia 1020 and Samsung S4 can easily wipe that away from peoples memories, the Q10 though stands apart and is the visual representation of blackberry.

A lot of people cite apps as being the BlackBerry's achiellies heel, i think what they need to do is ask enterprise customers what apps they want. Ignore facebook and the rest of the consumer apps, the app world is already handled very well by Apple and Google and it'll require a lot of investment to get an app store going, just ask microsoft.

Blackberry will also have to be a lean company, almost a start up, shrink, stablise and then grow again.

For the record i hate using blackberry's i find them slow, i don't like the physical keyboard, however i like choice and the more phone manufacturers the market the better, i also understand that just because i hate physical keyboards on phones that there are a lot of people that love them and from my experience BlackBerry is the best of the bunch for this.

REM2000 said,

Going WP means going up against Nokia, perhaps they might carve out a niche by being the first keyboard WP, however how long would that last, if that made inroads then nokia would simply do the same (just look at the nokia E61 aka nokia's answer to blackberry).

Although it's technically WP7 (you just only said WP), the HTC Arrive was the first and I believe only physical QWERTY keyboard for a Windows Phone device. There hasn't been any WP8 ones though.

BB's hardware is awesome! I love the design and the built quality is great. Maybe they should offer Android or WP on it. I would love to pick one.