Vector 14: Chris Umiastowski on sell-siding BlackBerry

Vector 14: Chris Umiastowski on sell-siding BlackBerry
By Rene Ritchie on 9 Oct 2013 12:54 pm EDT

Chris Umiastowski, former sell-side analyst, talks to Rene about the state of the mobile market, what led BlackBerry to the brink of sale, and what going private really means.




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Topics: Vector Podcasts

Reader comments

Vector 14: Chris Umiastowski on sell-siding BlackBerry


It was the hot topic of the week and Kevin, Chris, and I wanted to make sure all the best discussion was served up for CrackBerry and Mobile Nations!

Also, I'm Canadian, I care deeply about our tech industry, and BlackBerry is at the top of that industry.

Glad you worded it that way.
I've noticed that a lot of people forget that you guys work for Mobile Nations.

Fan boy-ism aside, tech information is tech information and i'm all ears if that information is coming from a proven reliable source.

Posted via CB10

Wasn't a slight against you, you are a great podcaster and should join team BlackBerrry. More of a call to the CrackBerry team to start delivering their long promised never delivered weekly podcasts.

I predict poor Chris will be grilled for the decision to dump his Z10 for an S4. Grab your popcorn.

I'll probably be grilled for it ... but it's a test.  I still pretty much use the Z10 daily for at least a few things (Wi-Fi only, my SIM is in the S4).  I'm now almost 2 weeks into the S4 test and I'm actually very much a fan of the device.  I still absolutely HATE the keyboard and can't stand typing on it.  But the S4 has Google's voice capabilities, which are actually amazing.

I wish senior folks at BBRY did these kinds of tests, made notes, and included all key learnings in product design.  Sadly I don't think they do.

if I recall correctly, Google's Eric Schmidt is often spotted using a BlackBerry Bold 9900...
it's the 101 of technology. Knowing what competition is doing.

Real question. Does google's machines read all the email on your phone like they do Gmail? I'm torn between Android and Windows phone. BBM may push me to Android but I really hate the Idea of Google knowing everything I do even if it's just on their servers somewhere.

Posted via CB10

I noticed you commented about battery life on the Z10 and that it was terrible. Have you been using the PlayBook charger, and if so, stop. It gives your phone a "false sense" of being charged.


Chris is a smart man. He has finally come to the understanding that BlackBerry is a sinking ship. He's now on to the #1 OS in the world. Once BBM goes cross platform, the rest of the world will follow suit.

BlackBerry is going to be chopped up & sold off! My S4 is so much better than your Z30!

To fragmented open source... that's why everything is all over the place in a Droid. Once BlackBerry goes down "if" they do id go Windows phone if they add a notification center then if not Apple.

But if BlackBerry still sells hardware directly on their website for a couple grand id stick with BlackBerry

Posted via Q10 using CB10

I will NEVER EVER roll out or support Android in my company!
And before you mark me as a hater: I used an Android as my primary phone for a month (at the expense of my Curve 9360). The web browser and apps were very nice, but other than that, I hated it: typing experience was terrible, awkward multitasking, the settings menu is a maze, its responsiveness leaves a lot to be desired, and so on. I reactived my 9360 after that month. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Android isn't the #1 OS because it's good, it's #1 because it's cheap.

All the useless gimmicks put aside, my Z10 is by far the superior device on almost any front that matters, especially in business.

So you're such a fan of the S4 but you're taking the time to comment on a BlackBerry related sites? Hmmm, don't see the logic in that. I'm sure it's plenty Android sites you can troll around on.

Please go back and read the post again.

Did you notice that he isn't a fan of the S4? No? Read the first sentence of this post again.

Makes me sad when I hear Chris of all people talk about Blackberry as a past company... That was pretty brutal to hear. Chris' comments are what gave me hope.

I think it's time BlackBerry come out with a new battery for Z10 mine is dying fast on a daily basis.

Posted via CB10

I'm not sure what it is either ... but if use my Z10 for a couple of hours in the morning (as in, heavy use for 2 hours) it's dead by lunch. Unreal.

Battery dies big time with Z10 on heavy use, but between car charger and portable battery charger, it meets my needs

That's why I want my Z30

Posted via CB10

I had a similar problem until I grabbed one of the newer 10.2 leaks 1725 and I'm fine all work day. Hopefully you can try out the Z30 for us after the S4. That would be a good comparison.

Posted via CB10

not a fix, nor a solution, but turning off LTE made the world of difference for me. LTE coverage sucks for me both at work and at home. with LTE on, I can get maybe 6 hours. with it off, easily 10-12, and I'm a heavy user with (easily) more than 100 emails a day, lots of web browsing, other apps and stuff.

Try turning off Box, Dropbox and BlackBerry Link, use 3G if your on wifi. Some class 2 SD cards I've heard cause issues and even some phone cases can cause overheating and drain battery life.

What I would do first is backup your phone with Link. Wipe your phone and format or get a new class 10 SD card.

Gmail calendar might be the problem, check to make sure it's syncing properly.

Diffinitly check your outlook account and see what it's syncing, turn off any that you don't need to sync automatically and just do it manually. I turned off contacts, memos, tasks and VPN.

Most battery problems I've had have been caused by some sync setting that isn't working properly, or that just doesn't need to be sync automatically.

Hope this helps, let me know how it goes.

Posted via CB10

Lol is the z10 purposely put in the pic amongst other devices with only the device in dying battery condition?

Posted via CB10

10.2 leaks are far better on the battery yes. Also, if you are in a poor reception area for 4G turn your radio settings to 3G, 2G instead of 4G, 3G, 2G

All I can say is ... look at that picture the iPhone looks like it's from Lego Land. Only Apple could get away with putting out crap like that. I used Apple products (basically everything they made) for years until I really felt like they are laughing at me. Charging high prices for mediocre garbage and telling me it looks good. That screen is a bloody mess and barely a peep about it in the media. It's almost as bad as Apple maps. Really the CEO should apologize for the hideous UI.

They more we hear from Mobile Nations staff, the better. Love hearing other views and opinions. This is what Mobile Nations should be anyways. Thanks for the Podcast. Great job.

Posted via CB10

Great discussion.

Chris, I think you may have missed a chance to explain to Rene and listeners the concept of valuation; a good company does not necessarily make a good investment, nor does a dying company make a bad investment - it also depends on the price you pay. (Rene's comments on Apple the company vs. Apple the stock showed this disconnect and I think your long-term/short-term discussion missed his key point of confusion.) The uninformed often assume that because a company is doing well the stock should do well also. Okay, then by that logic the price of a good and improving company could never be too high. Or could it? Using your pizza analogy, a fresh slice of a good pizza should be worth more than a slice of a low-quality frozen pizza. But how good would a pizza have to be before you pay $1000 for a slice? Even if it is way better, and some enthusiastic person with more money than brains did pay $1000 for a slice, I would expect slices to trade hands for less in the future. So, to Rene's point: Apple at $700 or at $400 doesn't change whether or not it is a good company but it does change how good of an investment it is. The street and the market make plenty of errors, short and/or long term, because their crystal balls just aren't that good. The stock can (and often does) behave very differently from the company and there is often not a lot of sense to it over any shorter time period.

I found it interesting that the discussion about BlackBerry was almost all about its history. The discussion around the company seems to be predominantly in the past tense these days. It sounds to me like the biggest takeaway was BlackBerry was (again, past tense) way too slow at picking up on trends and brutal at marketing, marketing, marketing, and controlling the message. Related to that, I also found the proposal of having outsiders speak to the board with brutal honesty about the pros and cons of various products, prospects and ideas very relevant. I'm curious if the two of you, given the same chance, would say to the board it is past "too late" for BlackBerry, or can you propose a realistic way for the company to use its existing assets with a big change in emphasis (i.e. marketing) to re-enter the consumer space some day?

Great listen there very much appreciated. I understood your disclosure on all 3 companies and your long positions on Google and apple but i didn't hear it on BlackBerry? I expect that it may not be relevant to disclose on BlackBerry at this point but i would like to hear your opinion long or short on BlackBerry at this price.
I also agree on your statements about the media not being a conspirator to the downfall of BlackBerry sales however i believe it should also be stated that there are "media" traders and analysts that are compensated for being negative and short the stock.

Posted via CB10

I don't think the media conspired to do in BB. I do think that the media gets lazy and loves reporting sensational stories about the great falling. BB made or makes a good story.

I think it's a shame that the board did not have any vision to turn BB around after initial OS 10 sales were poor. Also,.that they did not have any vision on how to market OS 10. Of course, if they had a CEO with vision that might have been enough.

So basically Chris is saying..... if BlackBerry falls, go for an S4!...

I'm kidding..

Posted via CB10

Chris poor battery life occurred for me my daughter and my ex wife. I had to back up and reinstall the OS and it was fine.

Takes a bit of time with that clinker BlackBerry Link but once you do that it runs much cooler and battery goes from lasting 3 hours to 10.

Good luck. - Mobile: Monitor. Manage.