Cerberus and Lazaridis may jointly bid for BlackBerry

By Chris Umiastowski on 1 Nov 2013 03:53 pm EDT

This afternoon the Wall Street Journal just posted a story saying that Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, co-founders of Research In Motion, may jointly bid for BlackBerry along with support from Cerberus Capital Management. The WSJ cites the usual anonymous “people familiar with the matter”.

As a reminder, Lazaridis and Fregin, together, own about 8% of BlackBerry stock, and are not currently viewed as partners with Fairfax. We also knew that Cerberus has been poking around the story, so their name is not new to the situation.  What is new is the potential for a tie-up between Lazaridis/Fregin and Cerberus.

I am not a fan of journalists making factual errors, so I will point out that November 4th is not a “deadline” of any kind with respect to BlackBerry’s agreement with Fairfax financial.  It’s a target date.  It’s not a life changing mistake, but it is a mistake nonetheless.

If you’re interested in what might happen on Monday, see our discussion of the possibilities from yesterday. Additionally, it is now being reported that Qualcomm may join Cerberus in a bid for BlackBerry.

Topics: BBRY Editorial

Reader comments

Cerberus and Lazaridis may jointly bid for BlackBerry


Haha we re all curious to know BlackBerry s faith.

I have a z10 and I'm thinking of upgrading to the z30. But, I ll wait and see what happens next week.

Quick question for our AWESOME CrackBerry team.. Is there a way to get desktop notifications from CrackBerry (on the Mac)? I'd really love to have the articles show up there instead of having to check myself for any news

Look down at the bottom of the page where it says "Follow Crackberry". You could subscribe to the RSS feed through whatever feed reader you like, or they probably send out something on Facebook or Twitter when they post a new story (I don't use either myself so not sure).

So u dont think about, support ? warranty service ? future upgrades ? resale value ?

these days u r not just buying a device, u r investing in a platform.

as much as i want to buy a bb10 device, im waiting to see where the company stands.

That's the main reason why they are dying so fast. Not because the bb10 line up is "underwhelming " and failed to impress. It's because people who think the same way also chose not to support them because of all the media hype of them dying. This approach only helped to push them down faster. Also all those legacy owners just sitting back and not upgrading to support them. They make me so mad.

Posted via CB10

I just upgraded to the Z30. Actually it was my wife that got the new phone, but she felt it was a bit large for her hands, so she took my Z10 and let me have her Z30. I love her.

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Nice! How you liking the phone so far?

I'm just bored of my z10 and want something better like the z30 lol

BlackBerry will survive. Ordered 3 z30's from Rogers. This phone is just too good to go unnoticed!

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

Nov 4th is no deadline BlackBerry doesn't make deadlines as seen by their software update and BBM rollouts

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I still can't really see what benefit going private will bring to BlackBerry. Phones will still be the same, software will be there. And they'll still be in the most competitive tech markets which means they'll still be in the public focus.

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Maybe if they are able to raise some capital as well for the company while and the fact that they will not need to disclose their financial info is huge for the company.

Going private will remove the negative spotlight on the company. I do believe that the marketing of BlackBerry does need vast improvement but so does the brand. Removing the spotlight from the financial focus and back to the product will help sales. How many companies and people did not buy Z10 because of the negative press? Take away the Negative press on sales numbers and refocus on marketing will turn around this company. Their products is well made. The perception of the products are the problem

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I agree with this 100%. I think what BlackBerry needs now more than anything is to hit the reset button with all of the negative press to get a truly fair chance to stand on their own two feet.

I find myself picturing a banner put on the main corporate offices stating "Under New Management", and then I laugh because it's really the D management just not the current management. :-)

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Major help is needed in marketing but I also think this analysis is spot on. When you're a public company the pressure is on to deliver for stockholders every quarter. Bad earnings reports or cuts in workforce are reported widely while new products or apps don't receive the same kind of attention.

Correction: BlackBerry should have offered a quarterly dividend rather than relying on its stock market valuation to keep investors from demanding stupidly impossible quarter-after-quarter increasing profits.

That should say "really the old management". I'm not sure how my Z10 turned "old" into "D".

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I disagree, yes this would of made sense a year ago going into the bb10 launch, but now? I'm not sure it'll really matter. The first impressions have already been made, they can't be re made.

Bottom line is being private won't change the app situation and won't really help sales.

They'd of had more sales had they actually advertised their phones. Not if they were private.

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When you are trying to get out of a hole that you dug for yourself, you have to stop digging. Going private is one way to stop the digging. It gives them the flexibility to make moves and deals without having to disclose them. They can have more control over the narrative because they can release information that they want to know, not what they have to tell you.

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Your right that they should have gone private before the release of bb10. But what your suggesting is that they give up and not bother to go private.
BlackBerry has to fight now more than ever, staying public is not helping them do that.
I'm excited for this change especially after all the weeks of good things the company has done. Its going to be a good fight!

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im not saying that they should or shouldnt. im saying i dont see what the real benifit it.

I could of seen the benifits while going through the transition from BB7 a year ago to now, that would of made sense even, but now just seems like trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted.

As for saying they should give up, i never once said that, however maybe people wouldnt get that impression if they knew BlackBerry still existed. case in point, I havent senn one single advert for the Z30 other than what BlackBerry posted to twitter and Facebook. Today alone i have seen probably more than 5 iphone5S adverts.
Which am i more likely to purchase? the phone i know exists or the phone iv never heard of?

Like you say, they need to fight more than ever, and im yet to see them even trying.

This is off-topic and I'm really not trying to be an ass, but you have great posts minus one thing ...
It is not "could of" it is could HAVE or could've. The word "of" is not a substitute for the word "have."


If BlackBerry had been taken private in early 2012 prior to the launch of BlackBerry 10 the situation would have been favourable to the brand and the company. The truth is BlackBerry OS 10.2 should have been released with the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, in February 2012, instead of approximately eighteen months later. But we witnessed the same situation with the BlackBerry PlayBook running BlackBerry Tablet OS 1.0 when it was not until BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 that the tablet software was at a truly usable state. Over the course of the past 3 years we have given BlackBerry management thousands of suggestions and recommendations yet for the most part we were ignored ultimately receiving spit in the face when the BlackBerry PlayBook, more generally tablets in general, was declared irrelevant by BlackBerry (Research In Motion) Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins in 2013.

Think of it this way.. based on the fact that BB is a publicly traded company, BB must disclosed financially how it is performing every quarter. So every quarter that BB discloses that it is not competitive with Apple and Google they get killed by the Media and the Street on "expectation". Going private allows them to not show these figures as required by law (# of phones sold, total revenue, profits made, etc.) and further allows BB to manage their business accordingly without the pressure of satisfying the Media and the Street expectations.
Rremember what happened in Q2; if you look at the financials BB didn't do too badly, actually it was an overall increase from Q1.. what tanked the stock and created all the negativity was that the BB10 devices did not meet the Streets target by 400K BB10 phones. In Q3, there were too many phones produced/not sold due to again all the continued negativity surrounding BB and BB being forced to compete directly with well-established Apple and Google - so a major write-down was taken. With the Media/Street continually pummeling and pushing the negative sentiment into the Public there is no chance for BB to gain traction. Now imagine if BB did have to indicate any information to the public on what they were doing and how well they were doing with respect to Apple/Google and went merrily along improving BB10 and producing handsets managing to what the market would accept in Enterprise or Consumer business industry. No more negative connotation because there would be no need because public shareholders are no longer affected. To me it's the only recourse for BB at this point.
BB needs to get divorced and quickly of how the Public perceives them - the Media and the Street just needs to stop talking about them.. because none of it has been positive

if ya honestly believe they will be able to hide all the figures then good luck with that.

They might not say how many they sell or what profits they make, but places like IDC and gFK will still do quarterly info, so sales will always be known.
That will be a continued datapoint be they public or private, by which people will judge how BB handsets are doing.

I have never seen the media report about marketshare. I have only seen them report about usually negative earnings (but it could just be me). The only media I know of that report about marketshare studies are tech blogs and the people that frequent those sites are already aware of the whole BlackBerry situation and most likely have other reasons for not liking the phones or company anyway. Perception won't change over night which is why they need a buyer with some capital to work with so that they can ride the waves for some time more.

Being public affords companies growth, valuation and liquidity mechanisms, that being private doesn't.

Posted via CB10

Going private will eliminate some of the reporting requirements of a publicly traded company, but the notion that it will magically remove BlackBerry from the spotlight - negative or otherwise- is optimistic at best. The negative financial reporting itself will obviously be eliminated as fodder for those who would cast BlackBerry in a negative light as a matter of practice. However, if BlackBerry is to continue competing in the market, every reportable misstep and every measurable occurrence of under performance (as defined by BlackBerry detractors) WILL be highlighted by the same. If BlackBerry is to survive it will be through improved performance and the elimination of missteps in marketing and elsewhere - NOT by going into hiding.


I disagree that being private is some sort of panacea. If you can't perform in this sort of an environment with the press seeing your books, you can't compete.

Imagine if Lebron James kept losing in the playoffs and people started saying that if they closed the games to the public, he would have a better chance of winning because the pressure was too much for him. It's absurd. If the stock price goes down, it does not matter for the company's survival unless they are trying to issue new shares -- which they are not.

Going private could only help if the private owner had better vision and execution than the current BOD and CEO. This is not unlikely, but it still is not an instant fix of anything.

Whatever news the don't make by going private will be made up by the little ads they send out to bbm users on other platforms. That's a direct advertising portal if I ever saw one.


The fact that Mike L is not partnering with Fairfax makes me very uneasy about Watsa's plans for BlackBerry. I hope Mike & Co pull off a successful bid.

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Why is it that people assume that he would be the CEO again? He could just as easily be the chairman and hire a president and CEO to run the company day to day.

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Me too!
For the simple fact that I can't see Mike wanting to break up the company. To me it seems very strange that those 2 are not in it together

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So much talk, I really hope that BlackBerry doesn't change... no matter who takes over, or else I'm gone for sure

Posted on my Z10.... At your Girls House!!!

The more potential bidders there are the better the outcome. I think this weekend the wheeler and dealers will go into hyper drive to try and organize an attractive bid.

What does this mean for the relationship between Lazaridis and Watsa? Clearly not good and explains the board departure.

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Media coverage has been nothing but pathetic for BlackBerry, I can't imagine how educated people could make so many mistakes and still hold a job. November the 4th only means something o PW and the BBRY shareholders. Everyone else has their own agenda for dealing with BBRY offers.

You know. I thought the same. I ranted for a few days. I think now though. DB would want it's own platform. It knows marketing. It could be very successful. On the down side. Our lock screens will be scrolling ads. Status updates and f+;*in crap off your contacts pages. Even though we may not have active accounts. It could be very bad. Lol. I am lost.

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The horror! I greatly admire mr. Lazaridis his technological achievements in the past, but now BlackBerry needs someone with a new and fresh vision for the future. Plus I really distrust those Cerberus guys. Next thing you know, they join with the reapers and I'll have to save the galaxy. Oh wait, that was in a video game... but still....

I agree with others. I think someone fresh is needed. Don't share others excitement of Mike L coming back into the mix.

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Yea looking at Cerberus's track record I'm not sure them running BlackBerry is a good thing.

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"The Wall Street Journal posted a story saying..." aha ha ha ha... there is no such thing as journalism or a story coming from that rag! Its all just, musings, brainfarts, and very, very, very wrong predictions and incorrect speculation. They are worth about as much as the New York Post...which in turn is worth about as much as Rupert Murdoch's shrunken testicles...just saying...

As for Mike "Assclown" Lazaridis...sure why not, if the goal is to gut and kill BlackBerry for good, why not the very same numbnuts who pushed it to the brink of the abyss....

Winter Is Coming

No, not really...but thanks for that weird offer...really, you'd be willing to hug a complete stranger off of the Internet...from a chat room...more power to you!

Besides don't worry there is nothing a hug can cure that alcohol can't!

So let's see...hmm alcohol versus a hug offer from a complete stranger from the
Internet...what to do? Nah I think I'll stick with the alcohol...

Winter Is Coming

Possibilities:BlackBerry: Looking For a Mutually Beneficial Partnership

In summary, BlackBerry needs capital to market its new BlackBerry 10 portfolio and to buy it time to do so while completing its transition to the new platform while bringing new NOC services to the public/enterprise, BES10, BBM and BBM Channels.  The two most obvious/often recognized suitors that would also gain most from a partnership with BlackBerry, are Lenovo and Facebook.  Sony would also gain as much, if not as prominent a suitor. It’s not likely that Facebook has the assets on hand to flat out buy BlackBerry.  Even if Lenovo could do so, it would face regulatory issues in Canada and the USA, leaving a partnership option the only path to move forward.  Apple, Microsoft and Google, would have less to gain from a partnership with BlackBerry, having their own hardware/software vertically integrated, already.  These three companies, as well as Samsung, would most likely use the patent portfolio and the NOC/BES10 secure servers/software to their advantages in gaining access to enterprise clients.


Posted via CB10

I see CrackBerry are reporting "news" based on nothing again. The fact is, come Nov 4th, nobody knows what will happen.

If BlackBerry are taken private, they'll be an announcement.

So what should they be reporting? Care to enlighten us? Or are you too busy making idiotic generalized remarks.

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Nobody should...but unfortunately it is a tech blog that continues to spread "doom and gloom" and misinformation about BBRY.

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Baby steps as long as they are all positive at this point BlackBerry should stay in the game.

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sounds like Qualcomm has also joined in the bid - and as a shareholder, i'm hoping that that bid is higher than Fairfax's $9/share...

Well, now they're reporting that Fairfax likely won't be able to raise the money, so I do hope this comes through. Doesn't seem they have to beat any bid, though. Maybe everyone's just playing their cards close to their chests.

Not saying going private is good or bad, but, do we really need BB to be saying less than they already do. "Earth to TH, hullo, hullo"(silence)

Anyone who has played Mass Effect would be concerned that Cerberus may soon own BlackBerry!!!

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hmm now they are saying that Qualcomm may join Cerberus and Lazaridis in their Bid.

I wouldn't mind seeing a bid by Prem, Qualcomm, Doug and Mike Lazaridis. That way it stays mainly Canadian & Cerberus (who I don't trust) would not be involved.

I could see a lot of advantages to both Qualcomm & BlackBerry/QNX if they were partnered.

Hmm, an alliance of an old has-been and a company that specializes in asset stripping of distressed companies. Doesn't sound promising.

This is good news because if they are involved, they will most likely run the company as far as advising what to do for the future and I'm sure Lazaridis wants BlackBerry to keep making hardware and stay in the smartphone market! Or else he wouldn't want any part of BlackBerry since he already stepped down as CEO..

I have often wondered if there were some hidden alliances between all these "rumored suitors". Because none of them could get the funding to do it individually, but they may have interest in keeping it secret. And, they would want to look at the situation independently.

Mike L. never bothered me like Jimmy B. did... he was the "king of overstating"... ironically... some are starting to accuse Tim Cookie of some of the same tactics....

BlackBerry with Qualcomm...Mike L... maybe Sculley and a little financing from Cerebus at $20 and we can "Write Er Up"...

Just upgraded to 10.2. Personally I think it's now a great OS. Going private definitely deprives the shareholders of long term value but allows BlackBerry a great chance to stick to their guns. Basically we have been witness to the birth of a new OS and hardware product to match " warts and all". Its an interesting time " the king is dead, long live the king".

Posted via CB10

Private is the only way to go. This will remove the ability to affect the stock price via the orchestrates shorting campaign, planting of stories, manipulation of media and news. There will be no public spotlight no need to announce sales or revenue. It will be up to the new owners to decide what will be done when. It will also stabilize the company and give confidence back to the BB brand. Who ends up as the new owners will be part of the recovery. Lazaradis and a partner would be good. Fairfax may still just break the company up. Need to see what transpires. Fairfax basically put a floor to the stock price when they announced their offer. If there are other potential offers, I am sure the BlackBerry board will ask Fairfax to extend their bid. If Fairfax really wanted BB, they would have had a firm takeover date. Hey were really trying to shake other offers out of the trees. I m sure Monday will bring some news although it may not the expected news.

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That Qualcomm bit at the end surprised me for the better. If it were to happen that could mean cheaper prices for components and in the end, cheaper devices. Or so I believe...

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This shouldn't happen. Simply put, BlackBerry needs new life, new blood. Understood he made it to what it is today but that certainly includes it's decline. New focus is needed.

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BlackBerry needs a reprieve from the bad press where every other mobile companies can make mistakes but still aren't targets of it...and frankly, as good as apple or android appear to be, I am sick at how those two specially can appear to do no wrong, make no mistakes or give the world everything that can make one happy and there is no accountability if they do.
I have seen specifically how the latest iOS has screwed up and caused crap loads of issues for clients on a corporate level...missing emails, calendar issues, etc
2 weeks of frustration and wasted ressources.
BlackBerry has protocols in place, measures of security and a much better reaction time when needed for support.
They are not perfect and contrary to popular opinion, they have brought a magnificent new brand of products.

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Yeah... that's what I'm talkin' about my friend! Finally; there is someone else that sees apple and android in the proper perspective. I cannot for the life of me figure out how or why consumers would pick their product over BB10!

BB10 IS the best!

Bloomberg talks about potential bids in an article today. At one point it quotes: "“Fairfax may not have been able to articulate a business plan,” said Sachin Shah, a strategist in special situations and merger arbitrage at New York-based Albert Fried & Co. That may be the reason its bid has struggled, he said."
Watsa is trying to get funding to spend billions of dollars on BB and he has no business plan, at this late stage? Can this be true? If so, BB is probably much better off with a Cerberus/Qualcomm buyout.

Why would it be good if the guy who helped BlackBerry fall behind the times to now own the company? Regardless if he is the owner with a new mgt team, he would have influence on the direction. His track record for the last few years isn't that great.

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What the hell the chair of celebus was probably the worst VP ever.. no thanks... we want an increase in management quality not worse.

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Cerbeus definitely has the money. Hopefully they can turn BlackBerry around and sell it for double.

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I just hope he fires all current management and marketing hires new ones, and keeps himself a healthy distance away from things,....

"Mike, go to the radio lab, and design us a better radio".

And STAY there!


Let's all hope this is the outcome! Otherwise BlackBerry will be piecemealed to highest bidders.

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Im really hoping things work out, im sure they will but the whole waiting to see what happens is killing me

Posted on my Z10 via CB10

Blackberry is dead. They will be out of the business of manufacturing phones by the end of 2013. It is just that simple. The "suits" are trying to come to terms with how to cut the company up. That's all. BB cannot survive manufacturing phones. That's clear. They have no presence at all in the consumer market. None.

U.S. carriers are not pushing Blackberry's new devices in their retail stores. BB has no advertising presence.

This is a case study in managerial malfeasance. Shareholders are resigned to the fact that their money is lost. Period.

A number of you diehards are probably secretly purchasing iPhones or other devices. The reign of Blackberry is over.

I waited for close to three years for the heralded Q10 device. It is a disappointing phone. The form factor sucks. The Z10 is sitting in warehouses. No one is buying the phone.

What other option is left for BB? The "suits" will buy the firm, take it private, and chop it up. BB is now officially out of the phone business. Mark my word.

A completely anecdotal, totally outside of my expertise opinion:

Cerberus had at least one major outfit in the area where I grew up (rust belt, blue collar) and they worked very hard to make sure the operations tehre were first rate, and that their reps who came in to review or for business purposes were well taken care of, as well as the businesses which supported their business travelers.

Unless something has changed in the past four years, I'd gladly welcome Cerberus and Laziridis back as owners. I think that tag team could do some good things, not to mention help with damage control.

Going private is a good strategy to remove Street expectations, but it doesn't absolve the company of the need to execute on an effective strategy. Despite the talk of investment being a long term game, brokers and investment houses are focused on quarterly returns. If a turnaround plan is truly going to take a year or longer for BlackBerry they'd get hammered in the mean time.

My main hope is that a transition to a private company brings a little more hunger to BlackBerry. There's a lot of ground to make up and a lot of ill will to remove from people's perceptions of the firm.

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You know I think it would be a good thing if they got their hands back on bb, I actually just made the switch back about 3 months ago even with this news I'm still debating the z30. I would prefer some people with knowledge regarding the platform and market base then a company bidding on BlackBerry to make it more information leak friendly. I mean hey if I wanted that I'd fire up my htc,or my iPhone, I hope they make a bid and I hope they can get the funds seeing as so many have passed on funding Fairfax to back their bid. So in the mean time show off your BlackBerry and brag it up I mean it's a pretty bad ass device.

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I also think that if they kept their phones to 4 devices two touch and two with keyboards and do what apple did with their 1st gen and 2nd gen and I believe 3rd gen iphones by eliminating software updates and ect... liquidate those devices and focus on the 4 devices they'll be successful I promise. And with this whole BlackBerry dying is bull they'll still get government contracts for phones based on security alone some companies prefer BlackBerry over the other companies because so much information is transferred between devices and to have phones that dump so much information can screw a company into the ground so no they'll be around just maybe not for the masses.

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I am not a fan of journalists making factual errors......

“We believe there is enough evidence to suggest Apple will launch such a device. In our view, the appearance of the iPhone (or something like it) poses little risk to RIM’s business.”
Chris Umiastowski, TD Securities, 12 December 2006

I don't think anyone could have truly known that Apple would revolutionize the smartphone industry. If so we would all be billionaires. Mike and Steve Balmer had the same opinion of Apple. BB tried to compete with the Storm and it was a failure. When you rest on your laurels you lose. If BB survives it will be with the corporate side (a niche player like Mercedes and BMW) as they have lost the consumer race. We can all learn from our mistakes but if Mike and his crew do not then BB will be but a memory.

I waited and waited and waited trying to decide to get the z10 or z30 for my wife and I. I knew it was a great platform and a great product, but media reports slowed me down. Last week we just decided to take the plunge. Z10 for her and z10 for me. To all those who are waiting, you are missing out on one of the best mobile productivity devices made. I'm really sorry I waited. These are top drawer devices. I care about my productivity, communication and ease. The prime apps I need are there. One I side loaded from android. Overwhelmingly I find most app libraries on earth are games, and I don' t have time for games. I need to get things done, and communicate well and remain plugged in to my channels. Unless I'm mistaken BlackBerry still have quite a bit of time remaining on their government contract. Regardless, I am very happy with the platform and devices. You won't regret it. Go for the best, go BB.

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If 'going private' = buyout of shareholders for a sh!t bid like that weasel Prem, then mike et. al can go pump sand.

We need a REAL heavy hitter to step up with a REAL plan, because if I know Cerberus, they will hack BlackBerry to hell and sell for scrap.