Should BlackBerry buy Sierra Wireless to dominate M2M computing?

By Chris Umiastowski on 5 Aug 2013 07:41 am EDT
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Ever since Thorsten Heins took over as the CEO of BlackBerry, there have been two big stated goals. The first was to make a comeback in smartphones, on the back of BlackBerry 10. The second was to be a clear leader in mobile computing, not just smartphones. Mobile computing includes machine to machine (M2M) communication.

The BlackBerry 10 smartphone comeback is something the company is quite publicly working on now, and the evidence of success is not particularly compelling yet. But their work on M2M is less discussed in public. This is probably because it’s a more complex topic, it’s earlier on its path towards commercialization, and it’s just not as interesting for most tech writers to pontificate on.

Within M2M, we’re probably all most familiar with the automotive industry. Thorsten has brought cars up on stage before during keynotes, and we all know that QNX has a deep rooting in the auto industry. Then we’ve heard a bit about things like building access management, and how a BlackBerry powered device could authorize the right people to secure areas of an office. I’m sure there is much more to the industry than those two examples.

There is another, smaller, Canadian company who can legitimately claim to be the leader in M2M computing, at least when it comes to hardware. And that company is Sierra Wireless (or just Sierra, as most people shorten it).

Sierra has the best possible customer list in the business, and it’s worth pointing out that they are the #1 player in deploying wireless modules into automobiles

Sierra has a market value of just over $400 million, less than one tenth of BlackBerry’s $4.6 billion valuation. Sierra is slightly profitable today, having sold off its AirCard business (a brand most people know) to California’s NETGEAR. Sierra is now a pure play in the M2M market, selling wireless modules, gateways, routers, and perhaps most important, bundled cloud services to a wide variety of customers. Sierra has the best possible customer list in the business, and it’s worth pointing out that they are the #1 player in deploying wireless modules into automobiles. Their modules are used by Toyota, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, PSA Peugot Citroën, Mercedes and Fiat. Even Tesla’s model S electric car uses Sierra Wireless to connect to the AT&T network in the US market.

Sierra has also been working really hard to build up a cloud-based application services platform called AirVantage. So when I think about what BlackBerry wants to do in M2M, and I look at the huge customer base that Sierra already has (and its growing cloud-hosted software capabilities), I can’t help but wonder why BlackBerry hasn’t already bought this market-leading Canadian company. I’m a shareholder of Sierra, so perhaps I’m biased ... but I admit it so it’s OK.

Growing by acquisition is a common strategy. BlackBerry has used acquisition to fill holes in its technology base, thereby giving it more growth potential. Sierra Wireless has largely consolidated the M2M hardware market through multiple acquisitions (AirLink, AirPrime, Wavecom, Sagemcom). For all the wonderful things I can say about Sierra, it seems they’re having a tough time to really grow their cloud-based application services. Maybe it’s an area that requires big effort for many years to bear fruit. I don’t know. But I do think that under the ownership and global brand power of BlackBerry, things could probably move along faster.

BlackBerry brings strength in enterprise. So many large companies in many vertical markets are already using BES. The cloud has been something BlackBerry has talked about for a very long time, but I am convinced they have not executed well here. Perhaps owning Sierra Wireless (and the good cloud-based app work they’ve done) would be a positive?

Maybe it would take $500 million to make a deal happen between the two companies. It’s not like BlackBerry is in a position to part with that much cash right now, but a mix of stock and cash could get the job done.

I’d like to see it happen, but I’m curious what others who know the M2M business think.

Thoughts?

Topics: BBRY Editorial

Reader comments

Should BlackBerry buy Sierra Wireless to dominate M2M computing?

139 Comments

They are trying to make money, not lose it. Last thing they want to do is become a wireless service provider and deal with people complaining about their $40/month unlimited service.

Wind doesn't deal with people complaining about $40/month unlimited service. They have a similar customer service perspective as Big 3.

Government wants competition. Make a fucking deal BBRY....

Posted via CB10

I don't think BlackBerry is in a position to "buy" anyone. They need to consider merging with or being bought out by Windows Phone if either of those two plan on making even a dent in iPhone/Android sales.

#truthhurts

Are you kidding me? Woindows Phone? Microsoft can't make up their mind about anything, they wasted MS Zune and now they are screwing up WP8 and the Tablet. If we want BlackBerry to survive it has to be through a different company.

Very interesting read as always Chris.. I think you're right in terms of strategy application here.. Blackberry should use the "grow by acquisition" strategy in order to strengthen its position on the automotive market. I think QNX and Sierra are very complimentary and in my opinion the ideal solution for Blackberry to gain more reach in the automotive sector..

Especially now that Apple is bringing iOS to the automotive space. It would be a step in the right direction, maybe even as big as their acquisition of QNX.

BlackBerry Z10 | Verizon | 10.2.0.1047

Apple in the automotive space.. smh... a phone that can't even pair with other phones? Maybe Apple phone owners will feel special when paying for gas with an Itunes card... "Pump different"... *sigh*

Yes, I agree great article Chris.
It sounds like a deal between the two would be great. I would support it and I support the growth be acquisitions strategy so long as they maintain liquidity.

Posted via CB10

Not sure that BlackBerry stock would interest Sierra shareholders.

I think BlackBerry is in a preserve cash situation for the moment. But this doesn't bar them from creating strategic alliances, which cost much less and are much less risky.

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With a market value of $400 million, BlackBerry could buy the company with the increase in cash on hand from last year.

Use debt. Currently they have no debt. I sure they could get a credit line for a Billion just to give themselves the flexibility to explore these possibilities. Or maybe a Billion in preferred shares to keep from diluting existing shareholders. Then quickly pay it down from cash flow of acquisition and rationalization savings.

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

BlackBerry is not in a preserve cash position at the moment. Why would they be?
An acquisition of Sierra Wireless is a logical step forward and an addition to their core business. Sierra Wireless is an established name and they rely on BBRY for their products. BBRY isn't established at all (in that industry). It's a no-brainer.

Acquiring SW will eliminate some bottlenecks and will allow for faster updating and more uniform integration in hardware. Think about it how many people BlackBerry will have allocated to work with these vendors to tailor QNX to their hardware modules and specific needs. Eliminating the bottleneck is never a bad choice and BBRY is in a position to do so.

Not to mention the increased close-business-contact with all the hardware manufacturers SW delivers hardware too. Getting closer to your end-product users is a valuable tool you can't underestimate.
Talking to the automobile industry now wouldn't get BBRY very far, there is no incentive for the industry as for all they know BBRY is a company they never deal with. If they can cut out the middle man, showcase what BlackBerry's can do together with an M2M solution or just build up relations directly from BBRY to the automobile industry, BBRY can hook themselves even further and will have a way in with the companies (FIAT, FORD, ...) Think of all the BES Servers, the Mobile Fusion licenses, the BlackBerry's that return to the workfloor...

BUY BABY BUY.

Can BB absorb Sierra w/o losing focus? Is this a distraction? Would a close partnership suffice (as they have done with so many others)?

Well take a look at their earnings report for the Q2 2013 http://www.sierrawireless.com/~/media/pdf/investors/2013/2013_Q2_Press_R.... They're doing well, and could use the kind of management Heins is dishing out at BlackBerry.
The fact you're buying a profitable company is a good choice, but with Sierra Wireless, it goes much further than that. Just take a look here: http://www.sierrawireless.com/Partners.aspx
You're buying technology, sure but what you're buying most of all, is partners. Big, valuable partners who can make a positive dent in your operations.
BlackBerry will suddenly be transformed from a Smartphone company to a M2M service company with a renewed focus and a complete all-in-one solution from software to hardware.
Like i said before, you'll be eliminating a bottleneck and getting your foot in the door for more hardware sales while giving direct support.

Win - Win.

I see a lot of "synergy" (and I hate that word but it fits here) between QNX and Sierra, especially.

Cisco has been talking up this whole "Internet of Things" idea now for a couple of years. This absolutely fits.

Well there is a lot of synergy cause it's basically a BlackBerry product being adapted in specific hardware and sold as something entirely new.
Look at the Cisco acquisitions http://www.cisco.com/web/about/doing_business/corporate_development/acqu...
They're doing the exact same. Buying up companies to further cement their hold in an area they're leader in with IP acquisitions that are not only compatible but similar and a logical extension to their own product portfolio.
They're buying themselves a userbase they can sell their own products to and products that are an extension to their own.

Take heed BlackBerry! Take heed!

Going only with this article and no research into the matter, it sounds good. Call me crazy but, I also think that Blackberry NEEDS a real TABLET product too. Look at Apple; they're making a killing with their pathetic iPads.

Just because Apple has been making a kill from tablets does not mean BlackBerry can also. With 74+ million BlackBerry users, how many PlayBook's did they sell? You would of thought a lot more considering the bridge feature. Also, the iPad is under increasing competition from low cost Android tablets

Posted via CB10

Very good points. The playbook is trash! I'm a HUGE Blackberry fan and even I didn't get one. A low cost Android compatible upgrade to the playbook or a new tablet may do the trick. They have to go after the business market using security as a selling point. Every major hospital now uses tablets. The market is there.

Business have adopted the iPad. I can understand your argument regarding more sensitive sectors. As for hospitals and the medical profession, you have to remember that apps have been developed for this industry. BlackBerry can't even get Netflix to jump on board, do you think that these developers would be interested? They should focus their marketing dollars on BlackBerry 10 devices, anything else would be a complete waste.

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Very good counterpoint. But, there is always a market for a good product. Consider the military, they NEED a secure and cheap solution. Last I cheched, the govt has and is using something like 450,000 Blackberry's. Then there is the international maeket in which Blackberry is far stronger. Being a "one trick pony" is being in a weak position no matter how good the BB10 may be. Incidentally, the BB10, while good it is not an "iPhone killer."

To enter into the tablet market you are going to need something more than a good product. It has taken Android 3 years to be competitive with Android. They did this by having the dominance of the Android smartphone, making a tablet friendly OS, a comparable app market with Apples app store, and being a lower cost alternative to the iPad. You may disagree, but when the PlayBook came out over two years ago it was a great tablet. I could run Need For Speed and an HD video at the same time! It suffered because of apps, negative press regarding lack of an email client, and the dominance that the iPad had at the time. Of course, if you had a BlackBerry why would you need an email client when you could bridge? So, if they want to release a new tablet, it better be f***ing spectacular.

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Instead of over engineering like Apple has, a cheap ($99.95) tablet that is effective, can synch with the phone via bridge and can sideload Android is the way to go. I talk to people every day, more and more people are moving away from the computer platform and going mobile (phone and pads) and that is WHY the folks at Apple have been so successful; they have both products and they synch up and are both made by the same company.

Not going to make much money selling $100 tablets, and you might lose money when you factor in R&D and marketing.

Posted via CB10

Wouldn't a portable touch screen that your BB10 smartphone device could connect to and mirror work? The phone being/having the processing power for the portable screen? Make them simple, quality, different sizes, 10", 12", 15", etc?

I forgot to comment on the military. They don't seem to have a problem with the iPads they are already using. Apple and Android are catching up to BlackBerry regarding security, and many US government agencies are ditching BlackBerry. Also the demand for tablets are only going to be a fraction to the number of smartphones.

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Blackberry had the world smart phone market to itself. If Steve Jobs would have followed your logic, neither the iPhone or iPhad would exist.

Those were different times and the iPhone and iPad were revolutionary devices at the time. Today you have to be revolutionary if you want to get enter this market. Having said that, perhaps in a couple of years and 100 million BB 10 devices on the market, BlackBerry so consider this.

My comment above may be misinterpreted regarding tablets being a fraction of smartphones, I was referring to government agencies and not the consumer market.

Posted via CB10

No need to explain. Your comment was correct without caveats. Smartphone market dwarfs tablet market in units and revenues.

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

Companies like Amazon and Google are not looking to make money from hardware sales but rather from selling content and services. That is why their hardware does not cost as much as the iPad. So how can BlackBerry compete in the tablet market?

Posted via CB10

Look at my reply to Mister-E above. Marketing, marketing! Marketing is what Blackberry is miserably failing at and I love Blackberry.

Windows has been marketing, marketing, marketing and their numbers are a disappointment

Posted via Z10

Microsoft? They suck! Their tablet O/S is horrible and their price is too high. Throwing millions in stupid commercials for a bad product is NOT marketing, I know, I have a major in marketing and psychology. I may not have all of the answers but I don't kiss corporate butt and know what works. Keep it simple, reliable & effective. That is why another product which is quite old is still going strong: the AK-47 assault rifle. Kalashnikov stated, it is simple, cheap, reliable and it gets the job done every time. That is a good success formula and it works no matter the product. Instead of over engineering like Apple has, a cheap ($99.95) tablet that is effective, can synch with the phone via bridge and can sideload Android is the way to go.

If they can supply build software for Windows tablets as a dual boot or something. I think it would be a great start to get recognized as a competent tablet player.

Posted via CB10

i'm a loyal BB fan and user, but if there's a device where iOS really works, is on the iPad ! on the phone ? i don't think so. BlackBerry should keep on spreading BB10 OS, when that's done, then they can think about a tablet.

BB has a cloud service they just haven't announced it. There's a cloud BES10 trial going on also how do you think BB will deliver the car updates with no cloud service?? How do you think they could control the qnx bentley windows and lights.the dev pretty much said goes up into the cloud and back down again.He The cloud service is there BB just hasn't announced it they will probably keep the announcement next BB event.

Yup - of course BlackBerry has a cloud. But with a different focus. I think they could consolidate to a single cloud with SW.

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I thought BlackBerry has sold off it's cloud based acquisition a few years ago at a loss of over 100mil?

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Depends what you call a loss.BB probably took all the tech and patents,engineers and sold it off fr 55 mill.So is it a loss in your mind?? Maybe an engineer or mechanic can give you best answer.I think BB did well to be honest.

pff i don't know Chris I don't know about BB buying hardware company's unless they are at bargain which is not the case here.But on the software engineering acquiring dev talent front BB could do with SW. I think BB will go into the cars,medical first once that is set up and able to generate then they will make purchases.I don't see BB buying anything big unless its a game changer and unless its bargain and undervalued.

Bringing BES into this discussion makes things a lot more interesting. Between the QNX and a potential acquisition of Sierra, it's not hard to imagine BES becoming a huge, overarching device management system. Access management, controls management... why not? It seems like a logical extension to simple MDM.

Why buy the company when BlackBerry can just make sure BB10 works well with the wireless modules? If AirVantage is not doing well, then there is an opportunity for BB to promote their own cloud services.

The only reason to acquire Sierra would be to avoid getting locked out by a competitor like Apple of Google.

Agreed, they need to begin making a reality of the potential and possibility of M2M. If this begins to establish them as a "go to" player as a one stop solution and begins to create a competitive barrier for entry to the space, and creates growing revenue and profit flows, then I can see lots of good reasons to make the move. Use debt and pay it down quickly using cash flows and rationalization savings to keep things conservative on the balance sheet.

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

Agreed. Also, purchasing Sierra would be a good preemptive defensive move as well. Making sure no other companies purchased them in order to get into that space seems to make strategic sense to me. And if Sierra is doing well financially, they would help boost BBRY's cash-flow and help offset the diminishing income from subscription fees. It sounds like a well run company that they could aquire, but not need to worry about running (already have good management). This would help incorporate them into BBRY's current market strategy, without having to relocate their already limited resources. I'd be quite pleased to see this happen.

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10!

It would definitely help them get ahead in the game if they bought Sierra Wireless.

Posted via my sexy new BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Very good idea and i think it's a good move but i think they should wait until they have a strong quarter, they are coming off reporting a pretty big loss, worst quarter to date i believe. Maybe a good move once they hit a break even quarter, and then they can also make this move and show ppl they are officially back in the game.

Posted via CB10

Yes, I think BlackBerry should buy any company that will expand its M2M capabilities and reach and then highly leverage those abilities in the BB10 devices.

Diversifying the technologies they support only makes them stronger in the long run.

Look at Canon - they do a lot and thus can survive downturns in none business area a lot better than a more specialised company.

If BlackBerry sells phones alongside supplying QNX to the world's industries, then that can only be a god thing - because it ensures their long term survival.

Posted via CB10

Is IBM missing this vs HP Moon Shot Servers. Talked to somebody in IBM and they told me Blackberry is going down the wrong path ! " BlackBerry promoting Mobile phone as a productivity tool and mobile computing has no chance " .....wow I almost fell off my seat !!

I do not have the technology background back yes his comment was concerning so hence Chris's article should Blackberry buy SWIR and will M2M be the future ?? Yes to both from me !!

IBM doesn't always get things right. Remember the PC Jr?

Seriously, though, it's hard to see anything BUT mobile computing as the future.

That sounds pretty defeatist. The fact is that they're actually executing brilliantly compared to the year before Heins took over as CEO.

Here's one: It's certainly a great read and i'm for anything to bring the BlackBerry brand back to the forefront but growth by acquisition is something BlackBerry has failed miserably at. Just look at the timeline of their acquisitions and notice how their market value has dropped progressively. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_BlackBerry

That being said, an acquisition of the sort may very well grow the company but my bet will be on it significantly improving the end user experience. Not a lot of end users care if you use Sierra services or some mom and pop store; as long as the product does what it is supposed to and does it well.

I don't know why you're so critical of that list of acquisitions; about the only one I can see on there that I'd say turned out badly was NewBay, and even that seemed like a good idea at the time. Many of the rest of them have contributed to BB's value considerably.

They should buy them. This will help them move forward in the m2m industry. The fact that Sierra is making money too is a good thing.

BlackBerry for leaders, not followers.

Chris,

Ever thought about asking Thorston for a job? You would fit in well with the company with your ideas and knowledge.

Great article. Always enjoy your editorials.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry needs to be extremely smart right now. I do like the idea of owning an important market. Seeing that SW isn't getting much SP credit. Maybe BlackBerry should take a strategic position in SW, sign a deal or even a memorandum of understanding with them. Save cash for now.

Posted via CB10

I completely agree. Acquiring it would help in the long-run, but right now they aren't in much of a position to be playing with investment ventures. ONLY if there would be an immediate and significant ROI it's a very risky gamble.

^^^this^^^ ,,, tho it's just not Thor,,, the rest of the old guard gotta go too,,, that includes the guy(s) yankin' on Thors' strings backstage...

Why wouldn't they? Canadian firm buys Canadian firm.

An argument for M2M monopoly would not be enough to warrant a veto. Plus the ministry is more concerned with the wireless carrier debate lol

Posted via CB10

I do believe if we're talking about, BlackBerry must have considered it and would understand the cost, benefits and if they were good, synergistic .

Posted via CB10

Strategically this is a very interesting idea. I think that Blackberry does bring something to the M2M silo that Sierra works in and that is distribution and relationships. M2M requires integrating together a local carrier relationship with an application requirement, and Blackberry does have a number of good carrier relationships throughout the world. M2M is not just cars and vehicle tracking, and I think these two companies would complement each other, and potentially utilize strengths.

Something has got to give. I was in New York this weekend and was in time square, 1000s of people everywhere , huge Blackberry ads on the big flashing screens and yet I did not see a single person with a non legacy BB. Clearly BlackBerry 10 is not a compelling enough solution in the market today. BBM and BES services are also not enough to reinvent blackberry the way shareholders hope. For me of course, I happy to have them as a small niche player, but that obviously will not do it for investors and others with a vested interest. It will be investing times ahead for blackberry.

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Yo, I was there two weeks ago visiting, my buddy works for an insurance company and all the 300 staff are using Q10 and love the phone. Problem is they also use a S3 or iP5 since their old 9900 browser was the pits along with small 9900 screen real estate. But they are also getting use to the Q10 offering as a social tool. Why Blackberry went with a 3.1 screen on the Q10 is a mistake in my books. 3.85 inch or 4 inch would of been great $$$

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I think they should be a lot of ppl buy an use netgear an if they can make a profit... which I kno they will that would free up a lot of money to put in the BB10 like apps an such

WhiteBlackBerryZ10

Chris great read. I think you and Crackberry Kevin need to send an email to Thor about this!!! At least forward your article to him or at least to some big wigs around at BlackBerry headquarters!!! ASAP

Posted via CB10

So long as it doesn't result in BB10 being stuffed with something as equally useless and unremovable as the "Games" application, the devil spawn of a previous aquisition on the road to world domination, they can blow their money on what they want

M2M is not a big enough business to replace the handset division. It would be an interesting buy. I think they can buy other things in the mobile space though.

You don't get into M2M to win the race. You do it so it keeps you competitive and allows you to have more cash to put into research and development as well as marketing of personal products.

Posted via CB10

It is good to diversify the business. It would not impact on the short-term but it might on the long-term.

+100000 that is one giant leave forward if that ever happens, BBRY needs to be notified of this blog on their site etc

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry does want to 'keep moving' which they can after buying this. Google has bought many companies and created many different products, and look where they are now..

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

As we all learn in Monopoly, if you are not buying or being bought, you are likely on your way out. The lesson here is the same.

Posted via CB10

QNX powers a lot of hospital equipment. This is to the guys arguing about a viable tablet for hospitals and what not. Anyway, yeah - buy it.

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I completely agree...i was wondering when someone would pose this question on a blog somewhere. it would only make sense for these two to be married to create a M2M powerhouse. I do have shares in both BlackBerry and Sierra so I may also be biased, but when one looks at the direction Thorsten wants to bring BlackBerry, Sierra should be on their M&A hit list.

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Soon people's smartphones (phablets) will replace these tablets that people buy now. Seriously Bro. LoL

Soon a person will walk around with their Z30 that replaced their ipad / iPhone combination. Because BlackBerry are the M2M kings by way of this purchase, their Z30 and beyond will wirelessly talk to other, larger screens permanently affixed around them, seamlessly. Eliminating any middle hardware or software. The devices will simply connect to everything. No need for a tablet or computer "middle man".

Seriously folks.

Posted via CB10

Everything will funnel down into simple, one device does everything, superphone systems requiring no other layers of BS hardware.

Posted via CB10

I believe there is a place and a role for BlackBerry to play in the Home Security space. As the visible brand and as the back end communication. Security.

From my sweet BB10 Neutrino powered Z10 :D

1. give me a Secure cloud Service for my Z10 ! I can move Files from my Laptop to the cloud while im on the Road...
2. they can make Hardware together both Saving money ....
3. Throw QNX in and they and a Prime Marketing ....
In 2 years they are # 1

i don't know the business, but my opinion is BB should hang on to their cash right now,,, they may be going further out on a limb & spreading themselves too thin by laying out the cash it'll take to aquire them(Sierra Wireless)...

Have no knowledge on this topic, but to me it seems like this won't happen as BBs focus is toward becoming ultra lean by, grabbing and stashing cash and reducing overheads.

Going off topic, I'm wondering if BlackBerry can create their own secure currency ( BlackBerry bits or Bb for short ) somthing a bit like Bit-coin.

BB really needs to find a strong angle and revenue stream based on secure currency transfer and make this security pedigree work for them.

Chris just to clarify things, is this a rumour that has been circulating around or just a suggestion about something that may help BlackBerry

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BlackBerry should consider to buy whatsapp with all the user base would benefit BlackBerry tremendously.

Posted via CB10

The moment BlackBerry starts turning a profit again the only company they should be looking to immediately buy is Tom Tom.

Why? For around 1.2 billion US dollars it would immediately make The worlds largest tech company reliant on them for a major part of their platform. Buying Tom Tom would instantly elevate BlackBerry and also would have parallels with their ambitions in the automotive sector.

And what would be the upside to Sierra if BlackBerry bought them? Right now, they own the market share in pure M2M. Being bought out by BlackBerry has no benefit to them IMO. Everyone forgets, both sides have to be willing participants.

Posted via CB10

Not a bad idea. I think they should also buy the top 1-2 MDM vendor. While BES10 is clearly competitor to these vendors they can buy up client lists, consolidate the industry and boost their service revenue.

BES10 may or may not displace other MDM vendors riding the BYOD wave or it may not. In the short term buy the MDM vendor and let the products compete. Over time migrate the firms to BES10 and or integrate the tech.

personally I'd like to see some solid plans from BBRY before they start throwin money and companies like this. Sure the idea is sound and sounds promising but would their QNX software benefit from this acquisition or is it all about the hard and the programmers behind it?

I want to see where BBRY is heading with their software for businesses other than automotive.

dominating M2M sounds great but I just don't see it a positive acquisition that'll take them to far then where they're already heading.

How many high end clients will they gain if not already a partner with in the automotive industry.

I think its 400 million too much.

"Should BlackBerry buy Sierra Wireless to dominate M2M computing?"

I haven't seen the word "dominate" used in he same sentence as BlackBerry in a long time. I'd like to see BlackBerry be able to execute whatever mobile computing vision they have. I currently don't see it, but I'm hoping they could pull it off. M2M and the automobile industry will be big. Leveraging on their existing infrastructure to innovate various services is key.

Man I just don't know. Its a lot of money BlackBerry were making money wouldn't question it but right now they would need something to work asap. The cars is a solid start but the QNX transition still happening now you add SW and even more transitions let the phones and Bes 10 roll out. Then they can consider it. Its just the money that does'nt sit well with me BlackBerry just can't splurge yet in n'y mind.

While acquiring Sierra might be smart from a product or technology perspective, it likely would garner a ho-hum response from investors and media. As you mentioned, M2M isn't an interesting or exciting sector (not yet, anyways) and BB's acquisition would do little to change that. And unfortunately, there's little reason for anyone to think BB's execution in this space would be any better than its execution in the smartphone space.

Plus, such an acquisition is too much of a long-term play in a time when BB's long-term prognosis is questioned daily. If it's going to start buying companies, it should target those that can help it now. And it should place a premium on those that can help it generate buzz and positive press...moves that even the biggest BlackBerry Debbie-Downer would say are bold or forward-thinking.

To me, ideal targets would immediately help BB address its ecosystem gap while bringing along a growing user base. And, they should have a vanity appeal. While these might not be good or even viable options for various reason, names that come to mind are Spotify, Evernote, and Dropbox. Spotify would be interesting since it's based in the UK where BB's reputation is less battered.

I don't know much about Sierra. The decision should weigh highly if their management can benefit BlackBerry. Does Sierra compliment BlackBerry weaknesses and vice versa? Sounds like they may have the same problems of building momentum, developing and promoting their products.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry should think really hard where they choose to invest and spend their money. Unlike most of its competitors BlackBerry does not have large cash reserves or a "rainy day fund". They cannot afford large scale failures anymore.

Firing 250 employees and loosing another 3 top executives is surely not a very encouraging sign...

Posted via CB10

I say they need an inexpensive solution to linking your smartphone to any common television and vehicle as well as industrial machinery. Rolling out a device to plug in can work, Google is doing it.

Posted via CB10

Buying another company would not be a good idea for BlackBerry at the moment. They can barely keep it together on their own right now. They've lost alot of talent and personnel with talent are moving on because they don't see a future there. First they need to get their act together before trying to acquire another comapny they won't be able to handle then they should acquire other ventures.

In the technology sphere advancement tends to come from internal innovation, or acquisition so on that basis this prospect is an excellent one--what's missing from the scenario however is the operational strength BlackBerry would need in order to execute this deal smoothly, quickly and efficiently.

If we look at net debt-to-ebitda (a common means by which finance folk try to get an idea of 'credit strength') we see BBRY was at -2.6x in 2Q whilst Nokia was at -3.8x and Google at -2.9x. But BBRY has $2.6B in cash and investments while NOK had $13.7B in Dec 2012 and GOOGLE had $48B. Then let's look at operating margin. At 2Q, BBRY's was -6.9% whilst NOK was at +0.5% and GOOG was at a ridiculous +23.8%.

On this moderate slice of comparative financial evidence, I of course wouldn't argue that the acquisition were not possible to attempt, but I would suggest that BBRY simply is not in a strong enough position to successfully execute an acquisition of this size at the moment.

I think it's too big a risk.

By the way folks, I have not read one single comment from dumb troll on this thread! Long may it last!