What if Cisco bought BlackBerry?

Cisco and BlackBerry
By Simon Sage on 28 Aug 2013 01:46 pm EDT
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Ever since BlackBerry announced that they’re assessing strategic options, including (but not limited to) selling the company, everybody’s been talking about who would buy them. Of course we’re all rooting for BlackBerry and hope that it doesn’t come to an outright sale, but there are a lot of different ways the next few quarters could pan out. Patents could be bid on by a consortium of manufacturers, BlackBerry could be split up into service and handset businesses, and who knows how much of the company buyers would hang onto or simply liquidate.

Those are grim outcomes that few BlackBerry fans want to face, but that doesn’t make those possibilities any less real. In the spirit of making sure we don’t have our heads stuck in the ground about BlackBerry’s present situation, and potentially discovering some best-case scenarios for the future, let’s take a look at who could buy BlackBerry, why they would be interested, and how such an acquisition would work out. Let’s start with Cisco.

Cisco has been my top pick for a BlackBerry partnership, merger, or acquisition for a long time. Both companies are steeped in the enterprise space with a particular focus on infrastructure. For those unfamiliar, Cisco sells business-grade routers, call conferencing solutions, collaboration tools, data centers, and the like.

Could Cisco afford to buy BlackBerry?

Cisco certainly could afford an acquisition of BlackBerry.  The router giant's market value exceeds $125 billion, and they hold a whopping $50 billion of cash on their balance sheet, along with $16 billion of debt. Financials wouldn't get in  the way if Cisco wanted to either do a stock, cash, or combination deal to acquire BlackBerry. 

Cisco also has a long track record of doing acquisitions, having acquired over 140 companies.  That said, most of the deals have been much smaller than a potential BlackBerry acquisition.  Its largest deal?  Paying $6.9 billion to buy Scientific Atlanta.  Other billion plus dollar deals include Tandberg (video conferencing) for $3.3 billion and Webex (webinar platform) for $3.2 billion.  They also bought Starent (mobile IP networks) for $2.9 billion and Adiamo Networks (a storage area networking company) for $2.5 billion. 

As you can see, Cisco's got the cash and financial strength to acquire BlackBerry, and it's up for debate whether or not BlackBerry fits in well with Cisco's past buying patterns.

Why would Cisco want to buy BlackBerry?

The most important part for me is that Cisco has shown an interest in getting into devices with their Cius tablet

When it comes to assessing Cisco's motivations for a hypothetical purchase of BlackBerry, the most important part for me is that Cisco has shown an interest in getting into devices with their Cius tablet. They stopped shy of moving aggressively into the mainstream smartphone and tablet market however, opting for direct enterprise sales instead. The Cius got axed before it had been out for even a year, and Cisco laid the blame squarely on the bring-your-own-device movement in enterprise.  BlackBerry has been wise to this trend and has been expanding their management solutions to include rival platforms. Though BlackBerry could provide an all-in-one foothold for Cisco to get in on the device game, they would also be flexible enough to support multiple platforms. Even if this required BlackBerry to dial back its consumer business and focus on providing specialized solutions for enterprise, I think it would be a good fit for BlackBerry given the company’s legacy in the corporate sphere.

As you can see above, Cisco is also very much a part of wireless service backbones, and they see BlackBerry as a part of that ecosystem. With BlackBerry in the fold, consumer or business devices could be tailor-made to networks running on Cisco hardware. Even if BlackBerry becomes a device you no longer see on carrier shelves, BlackBerry's acquisition of QNX indicates that they're interested in spreading out into the wider internet of things, and being a part of Cisco could enable that transition. 

Pros and cons of Cisco acquiring BlackBerry

Pros
  • Great synergies between existing businesses: BBM Video and telepresence, QNX and routers, MVS and unified communications, BES10 and Meraki MDM, and more
  • BlackBerry devices and software could potentially live on in their current state if Cisco wants to make a concerted play in mobile
  • Carrier relationships could carry over to Cisco's backhaul solutions
Cons
  • Would limit BlackBerry to enterprise market
  • Smartphone unit could face shut-down if Cisco only wants BlackBerry's server and infrastructure components

How likely is Cisco to buy BlackBerry?

The problem here is that despite the obvious similarities between the two companies, Cisco is a little gun-shy of the device game after the failure of the Cius and the Flip. Of course, the value of BlackBerry’s device business is dubious for many potential suitors, but luckily the vast majority of what BlackBerry’s doing outside of devices could supplement or extend Cisco’s existing businesses. I would inch Cisco’s odds of acquiring BlackBerry just a little higher than average - maybe a 6 / 10, assuming BlackBerry gets sold at all.

Of course, this is squarely in the realm of speculation. What do you think Cisco’s odds are of acquiring BlackBerry, if the company does end up getting bought? Who would be the most likely to buy BlackBerry?

Contributions on Cisco's financials by Chris Umiastowski

Reader comments

What if Cisco bought BlackBerry?

170 Comments

Seriously thinking about getting a secondary device on BBOS7 like the 9900 and lock it on a base prepaid plan WITH BIS before it all goes to extinction ... what happens if BB10 ends up just like webos? I'd rather hang on to something than possibly nothing...

Posted via CB10

My concern is valid and my comment was based on the CONS from this article:
Would limit BlackBerry to enterprise market
Smartphone unit could face shut-down if Cisco only wants BlackBerry's server and infrastructure components.

In a year or two would you use a 9900 that is a few generations old already now? You cant even take a decent picture with that thing.

We'll yes, the 9900 wouldn't be the most reliable phone for apps. media or games, but I happen to use my phone for communications 1st....

Agreed, communication 1st. Too many people fail to see that. whether it is email/text/phone/social media, communication is at the heart of the operation.

IMHO IF Cisco bought BB for the servers and what not only, your BIS would hopefully still function.  Might be better off with a BB10 device as there would still be currently under warranty and BB/Cisco pulling support for devices as a whole would be bad for business.  Look at webOS, HP is still supporting the ecosystem.... Just being cautionary because of BES vs. BIS.  Either way they are still actively selling BIS devices today, and would most likely have to honor any manufacturer warranty that comes with selling a retail device.

The problem with your thinking is that BIS isn't really enterprise ... BES is. So there is no guarantee that going forward Cisco and/or the telecoms would keep BIS running. Granted, all the current subscribers does provide them with a financial incentive but how valuable is that subscriber base as it sheds users left and right?

And just cause you have a contract doesn't mean they are obligated to continue to provide BIS. I'm sure there is a clause there that they could use (ie, You bought a phone, can you make a phone call? Good.) So you could end up with a nice 9900 that can make phone calls and SMS but do very little above what any other Android or iPhone could do.

My personal opinion is that if Cisco buys BlackBerry it will be very good for the enterprise users but us small business owners and personal users will be in the same boat we are in now.

And I can see even LESS interest from developers of "entertainment" apps (and lets be honest, 80% of what's on my phone is for entertainment). Cisco might internally develop some kick butt tools but they will be geared towards the enterprise as well.

I do agree with your comment in a way, it's true carriers can just stop offering BIS if they want, but still just highly unlikely. I run a small business and not big enough to have BES, and at first I thought BB10 was going to have BIS, but then learned the truth.. I get that most people don't NEED to get emails and notifications instantly, but after experiencing BlackBerry BIS for so many years, you can feel the huge difference on BB10.

Posted via CB10

I loved BES and my 9900. It was fantastic. But that is gone now and I can't see someone like Cisco spending too much to bring that back/return it to a prominent status.

But my main point is that there is no guarantee. If a company like Cisco bought BB we have no tangible idea what would happen.

HP was a perfect example of this happening in recent years. July they release a brand new WebOS tablet and by August the whole thing including the OS was boarded up and shoved into a box.

In a perfect world I would have a Z10 running BB10 with Apple's entire app catalog available as native BB10 ports and BES 5 syncing my Exchange server the old way and not with Activesync. Don't see Cisco fulfilling that dream.

^ that would be the WORSE thing to do. Should BB get sold, and the hardware unit spun off, rebranded, or turned inside out for guts all over ... your BIS data plans will be the first casualty by networks to drop it in a HOT minute! Remember, providers have been gunning for cheaper pricing by BlackBerry for almost a decade and only last year got what they wanted and this year with BB10 got their cake and are eating it too ... no further.

BB10 devices can survive (operate) without the need for BB's servers - think about your choice deeply before diving in.

You left out the most speculated part, what do you think BBRY is worth to Cisco if they would buy it? How much would they offer per share?

Posted via CB10

That's what I was wondering too. It would be nice for Chris Umiastowski to jump off the BBM X bandwagon for a week and address this.

They'd offer what they thought it was worth.

And since as suggested Cisco is not likely to want the hardware (though you never know), that means just the networking and software. Which isn't going to be more than the current price and probably a lot worse.

BBRY is going to have a rough quarter. At which point the price will be shorted down. Quite possibly to a new low.

The big problem with buying BlackBerry is that they've asked to be bought (and are therefore heading for trouble).

If I had a few billion and just wanted software I'd wait till it was just about dead and sever the limbs. Not much point in wasting money any earlier.

I think we'll be lucky if we get $10 a share and more likely between $6 and $8.

I'm quite sure many, many people I know would be much more interested in moving to BlackBerry products if Cisco owned them. Most of the business people I know are dumping BB because they believe the company is going to fold.

As to getting out of the handset business, that is a possibility but I don't see why Cisco would drop that when it is already up and running.

Lastly, Cisco has a consumer business with home routers and other residential network gear.

Maybe if Blackberry became part of Cisco they would have a renewed confidence in the Company and begin to return to BB. Cisco could offer bundled deals with infrastructure and phones. Might work nicely.

Cisco recently got rid of their residential/consumer network division. (Former Linksys) Sold it to Belkin.

I think Cisco is too smart to spend a boatload of money acquiring a company whose market potential at this point is tenuous at best.

"I don't see why Cisco would drop that when it is already up and running"

Because it's highly highly competitive (just ask Samsung and Apple), and is making no money.

Software and services at least have the chance of being profitable.

I agree on the cons, CISCO would not want any part of the smart phone business, and it would mean the end of Blackberry in terms of smart phones ,

I have thought Cisco would be an ideal buyer for some time. They are American and can meet the security requirements to serve the DOD security needs. They do have consumer products with Linksys too.

Posted via CB10

I think one option for BlackBerry could be a dual partnership, Cisco for business and Lenovo or Samsung for consumers.

Posted via CB10

Really? Likelihood of Cisco acquiring BlackBerry at 6 out of 10 or 60%? That means you think its more likely that Cisco will purchase BlackBerry than it is that your favorite football team will win the coin toss before a game.

Posted via CB10

That rating isn't really meant as an absolute percentage - it will be more of a relative comparison once we get more of these editorials out, i.e., how much more likely is company A vs. company B to buy BlackBerry (assuming BlackBerry gets sold at all). Seeing as Cisco is my most optimistic guess, the others are likely to have lower scores. And again, this is totally subjective and meant to spur conversation rather than make any grand declarations or hard forecasts.

I see the odds at more like a 1/10.

Blackberry needs to sell its hardware unit to a manufacturing giant that has a leg up in the consumer world (a Lenovo or a Sony for example). This way, they can focus on driving scale and becoming a great software and services company.

Selling the entire company to a company that manufacturers back-end hardware is clearly not the way to go and will entirely eviscerate any value the company has or is seeking to build.

That's why it's going to be a very complex acquisition. Whatever does not make money for BlackBerry currently or short-term may be on the chopping block by the new owner.

If BlackBerry was to acquired by some company, I think it would be better for them to be acquired by a company that excels in the consumer space because BlackBerry already is at the top in the enterprise mobile space. Cisco already is super focused on the enterprise space and if they buy BlackBerry, they will effectively shift BlackBerry's focus towards the enterprise space effectively shutting them out of the reach of consumers. BlackBerry's already trying hard day in and day out to regain market share amongst consumers and the last thing they need is a company like Cisco coming in, buying them out and hindering BlackBerry's efforts of regaining consumer market share. They just need to find a way to be innovative and claw their way back into the consumer space and regain trust from the average consumer who has jumped ship to Android and iOS over the past three years. That being said, I personally prefer to see BlackBerry partner up with Sony or something like that instead of a buyout from another company.

While Cisco could be a good fit for taking over BB. I do not see it happening. they do not like to be in the consumer device game. Maybe if they were to do a joint venture to acquire the BB backbone systems while someone else takes the hardware/OS side of things.

Overall the cost for a few parts of the beast would probably not be worth it for them. also the ones to really suffer would be the BB loyal. the product won't be the same the quality would be off and all the fans would be listening to the likens of RATT!

Damn.. I'm no genius, but if Cisco bought BlackBerry, then It'd probably mean Cisco would own BlackBerry.

C0001BBF0 - BlackBerry 10 help channel.

Just because Blackberry is losing their dignity, you guys don't need to drag yourself into this nonesense as well. Seriously enough wtih the takeover rumors, if someone was going to buy them out they could have at a cheaper price or when they were in better financial shape.

No one going to buy this company obligations on orders and inventory that would wipe out all its cash reserves. No one will take this company private because of capital issues. On top of that, you got the Canadian government that would bog down with regulatory issues.

So the only real option is partnerships and seeing that we have no real news on that front, nothing has materialized.

Coming quarter will be brutal so will next quarter. Just stay away investing in this company for rest of the fiscal year. If they survive after this and the storm clouds clear out, then maybe you should think of investing.

You're right that BlackBerry could get into a partnership, and I'd be curious to hear what you think of the possibility of a Cisco partnership, but there's too much going on right now for anyone to rule out any course of action, acquisition included. That said, we aren't starting rumors or giving investment advice in this series - it's purely hypothetical and for the sake of conversation.

I don't see it Cisco has its own OS paying 5-6 billion dollars to replace something that works makes no sense to me. If we going to play with hypotheticals, IBM is a better bet because they desperately need a new venue for growth but just for the enterprise services, not the hardware. Anyone thinking of buying this company, first thing they will do is liquidate all inventory and settle with manufacturers.

1. For me the best option is to partner with a Chinese smartphone manufacturer and license BB10. This is the fastest way to gain growth in Blackberry services as well as penetrate the largest potential market in the world.

2. Get BBM out for every fucking platform out there and not just Android and iOS. Get it out for Desktop PC/MAC and Windows Phone. Make it a must for local communication within corporations. An indispensable tool for employees to communicate to one another no matter if they are mobile or on a desktop.

3. Don't try to be something you are not. Get rid of Alicia Keys, Formula 1 and other bloated marketing gimmicks that will do nothing for Blackberry. Rather than having that garbage, use the money to get some FUCKING SALES REPS on major retail stores. Blackberry marketing should be what it actually is. Secure and reliable. Start a slogan with themes like that.

4. BB10 for automobiles, work with car manufacturers and offer them your secure QNX based BB10 OS for cars for free and charge clients for upgrades.

5. Get rid of Thor as CEO, I can understand what is he trying to do but he is terrible in public to sell his plan. Give him a new position like Chief Operating Officer but not CEO.

6. Reverse split your shares, too many shares that nobody wants. This encourages shorting, less shares higher the price. Even though value remains same, the very least it appears to new investors that company is healthy, and discourages shorts since they have less shares to borrow. This costs very little but impact will be greater than a costly buyback that Blackberry can't afford.

That's it for now.

Interesting how CrackBerry allows swearing in the blog post comments but not in the forums.

America...FUCK YEAH!!!

Alex ... this isn't the first time I've noticed this, but you seem to have difficulty differentiating between a "what if" discussion and a rumour.  That said, I think we all agree with you that we'd rather see a strong partnership versus an outright sale.

You guys better watch out, including you Simon.
Kevin is gonna club someone on the head for mentioning another "Who should buy BlackBerry post"!

WHAT IF SATAN BOUGHT YOUR SOUL?? Yeah that's what I think of every time I read one of these "What if "insert sht companies name here" buys Blackberry?" Seriously, just stop it already.

Any indication that ANYONE other than an investment group is even interested in BlackBerry as a whole?

" BlackBerry's acquisition of QNX indicates that they're interested in spreading out into the wider internet of things, and being a part of Cisco could enable that transition."

BlackBerry bought little QNX because they were desperate to solve their OS problems, not because of some grand scheme for the "internet of things". And certainly not because the wanted to get bought out by some bigger company.

Makes sense since, BlackBerry is a enterprise communications company plus a smartphone company. I wouldn't mind a partnership. But as for killing off the the smartphone line, maybe not.

At the very least BlackBerry would have an identity. It's now trying to be everything to everybody and not succeeding at it.

Another plus for Cisco acquiring BlackBerry is that would be the end to all the whining in these forums about not having Instagram, Hulu, Vine, Netflix and all the other apps that are popular on other platforms. Those platforms wouldn't decide what is important on BlackBerry as they seem to do now...well at least for many people who comment on the forums.

Posted via CB10

Hahahaahhahahahahahhaahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahhahahahahahaha. That is all.

Posted via CB10

CISCO is in bed with Samsung and have a device coming out later this year running SE Android on a Galaxy device. It will bake in all of their telepresence/jabber/webex clients into the OS. They will not be buying BB, if anything they will be working DIRECTLY against them

SAMSUNG will never buy BB. Never. Too much of an investment with little return for them , but most of all they are making WAY to much $$ right now on Android and buying BB would just be competing against themselves. Not gonna happen.

Who cares, I'd say? Problem is that BlackBerry really seems to be for sale! BB10 is good idea and will be even better (eco)system. Don't give up, Canadians. Refresh only sales strategy and focus on really prospective Groups...

[...] BBs always for young professionals - new BYOD hero: www.smartman.mobi

The Chinese infected Cisco IOS with a backdoor so they would probably do the same with BlackBerry OS.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

I agree with Simon. I think that "if" BlackBerry were to sell, Cisco would be the ideal buyer.
Being in IT, I can already envision how the two could gain back the enterprise side of the business that has slowly lost it's foothold with big business. Cisco is the leader in Network hardware solutions and connectivity. By integrating BlackBerry with Cisco, the VPN/connectivity solutions they could offer would be mind blowing!

Most "enterprise" customer that I know of that switched from BlackBerry did so... because of the ecosystem. Either Apps or equipment with device specific integration. The fact that the hardware was better and that the OS was smother (based on BBOS devices when most of this happened) and the cost of use was much lower... was all a bonus. What IT guys want to make their life easier, and what managment want to make employees more productive... are not always the same thing. From what I have seen it is usually the bosses that make the decisions.

There is no doubt in my mind that IF BlackBerry had the ecosystem that Apple has, that BlackBerry would be having a hard time keeping up with production of new devices!

As much as this makes sense from a business standpoint, from a consumers view it means the end of blackberry. Cisco is the last company I want owning BlackBerry, because it would most likely mean the end of BlackBerry in the consumer market.

Posted via CB10

I don't think Cisco is very likely. They *might* care about the MDM stuff (BES), but they already have that getting started with Meraki. And I honestly don't think that Cisco even cares for that (they wanted Meraki because of how easy they make managing network equipment and were a real threat).

Manufacturer like Lenovo is the best chance in my opinion. Small chance but still a chance...

That commercial shown in the post might as well be the next BB ad a year from now. It seems like they're speaking a very similar language to what BB is trying to get across with BB10. The Internet of Things would definitely be more possible with BB and Cisco working together to make it happen. I can't see Cisco pulling it all off without having a strong presence in mobile devices.

Cisco would be a great suite sweet offering with BlackBerry in thé enterprise.

Yup a cisco partnership

Posted via CB10

"including (but not limited to) selling the company"

The best intro I've read in an article about this story... ;)

Thanks Simon/Chris

Posted via CB10

"Would limit BlackBerry to enterprise market"

Cisco flirted with the consumer market with the Flip Camera. The problem with that acquisition is it was right before smartphones got popular and when that happened people didn't pickup cameras as much.

I don't think if Cisco did buy BB that would spell the end of their Consumer lineup.

Sony should partner up with BlackBerry. Sony device with BlackBerry 10. I'd buy one.

Sent from The Legendary Zed10

I'll be Cisco certified in 3 months, so yeah, I'd be cool with this deal.. Maybe I could get a job with the BlackBerry branch :)

CB is deaf. Nobody will buy BlackBerry. Think joint venture.
And Cisco? No thanks, unless they keep the company and brand as is.

Sent from my Z30/3

The conversation of who will or who won't is a crap-shoot. Nobody really knows what's going to happen either way. These stories are meant entirely to be hypothetical and to talk out the potential issues. 

That said, any reason why a joint venture with Cisco wouldn't work? What advantages does it provide over a full-blown acquisition?

Nope... of it means BB10 phones are gone I don't want Cisco anywhere near BlackBerry. No way!

Posted via CB10

0 % I believe. But IF they did buy it then I agree with Simon, it would be for the Services Only and would Kill of the Smartphone Division as they will want NO PART of that. Too much Time and Money to invest in to try to Keep up with APPLE and GOOGLE.

Hhhmmm, maybe I should hold of on that whole Z30 / A10 idea..... just see were this all goes
Shut down sounds a bit harsh......

Posted via CB10

I'd like to see Cisco buy BlackBerry as long as they keep the current device and platform in tact. I'd much rather see more innovation on delivering business function to mobility than what is currently happening and Cisco can make that happen.

If Cisco's communication platforms are going to compete with Microsoft Platforms, they really need to further develop their eco system. And a strong mobile endpoint would be a key piece of that. I'd love to bring my BB10 device to work, drop it into a cradle, and have it power my desktop computing experience, displacing both desktop computer and desk phone. That' s the kind of thing that Cius was supposed to provide, but I think they can make it work with BlackBerry.

However, Cisco seems to have a pretty strong relationship with Apple, so I'm not sure how feasible that is.

+1 except for the Apple comment. Cisco does a lot on Android as well and let's not forget they've been doing a few things on BlackBerry such as the WebEx or Jabber Client

Posted via CB10

I believe Sony is the best company. They have a strong consumer base and they are a household name...a strong one at that! They could manufacture a new line of phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, Blue Ray/DVD players, home and car stereo systems utilizing QNX and the BB10 OS. Imagine bridging all these devices together!!!!

Not to mention on the corporate side, businesses also utilize all these devices within their companies as well, so to add the expanded byod concept within a company...it's perfect!!!

Plus Sony could use the boost in the handset side...remember Ericsson...

I'd like to see Cisco and BlackBerry strengthening there partnership and maybe move SLOWLY into a potential acquisition if things don't work out for BRRY . . .

Smartphone sales don't have to exactly match Apple and Google sales metrics to be highly profitable and successful enough to thrive on and be worth it folks.

Anyway, I'm not saying Cisco is the worst possibility, but I hate that part about enterprise 'only.' In a market where the majority of consumers seem to only care most about how many cores someone can stuff in a phone, how high the display resolution is, and other crap that has zero to do with business and more for entertainment, I could see Cisco not wanting anything to do with that kind of doofy cutthroat business.

consider how you buy "consumer" devices from Cisco - like Linksys or Scientific Atlanta. You don't buy them from Cisco generally (though you can), you typically pick them up from a channel partner or other reseller. For example, my PVR is a Cisco device, but I got it from my cable company (Rogers in my case). Is there any reason to think you couldn't do the same for a Blackberry device?

anyway, Cisco wouldn't be my first choice, but I don't think it would mean the end of Blackberry as a consumer device. There would likely be some opportunity for a channel partner or distributor of some kind to make a few $$ selling them through carriers or big box stores.

don't think cisco will even think of it,my personal opinion is synergy differentiation.
But who knows ,any thing is possible in this evolving tech industry

Arent Cisco more into routers and that sort of thing? I'd think you'd want someone like Samsung, Google or Sony to buy Blackberry. I'd really like to see Google or Samsung buy Blackberry as they are the top dogs in the Tablet and Smartphone business. They would put Blackberry right back on the map and wipe the floor with idiot Microsoft and win the 3rd spot no problem. Win phone and windows 8 are a couple jokes. I'll stick with windows 7. Additionally if Google or Samsung bought Blackberry we would get what most of us have been drooling for...FULL Android on Blackberry with over 750,000 apps.

Just thinking with all this talk of Blackberry being sold it seem eminent it will happen soon. My question is what will happen to the developing Blackberry models currently being developed, and the proposed Playbook 10 in?

I support Blackberry and use my Playbook daily along with my Samsung Galaxy tab2, but most people I know are just running away from Blackberry as they refuse to invest in a product with a shaky future.

Forget the PlayBook - it's officially dead. We probably can't even expect any further updates.

Posted via CB10

Good point, but I don't think that means they should buy the whole company. They can license QNX forever if they want, or take that piece if the company gets broken up. There is too much about these companies that just don't mesh, including the fact that BBRY's future in its existing markets is tenuous at best right now, and I doubt Cisco is capable of revolutionizing that.

Oh god, please don't let it be Cisco. Their hardware may be good (I have no experience in that regard), but everything I saw from them software wise, which is a whole bunch of tools related to their VOIP technologies (including the Personal Communicator [CUPC]) just sucks. They are all done half-assed with apparently bad (or non-existant) QA. On top of it: every single tool was done with a different framework. One was native (C++ I presume), one Java and another one .NET. That leads to the assumption, that they only buy out stuff, hand it to customers and then simply don't give a sh*t. Or, which may be worse: don't have any guidelines and/or managers who handle, what the f*ck is going on in their software engineering department(s).
In short: I would fear for BBOS10/QNX when it comes to Cisco.

I would be a happy man if Cisco picked up Blackberry. I've been in IT for over 15 years and they are both part of the infrastructure. I just don't see Cisco talking about mobile anymore, but if they did, Blackberry is a great foot in the door.

Cisco already has FIPS approved encryption devices, and VPN clients to work with those devices for Android and IOS, and even the BB10 phones have native Cisco VPN support. I don't think they need BES unless they want into the MDM game. Cisco buying history is either smash or bust. They do well with enterprise solutions, but kill off consumer ones. See FLIP, and Linksys. Plus Cisco's support has gone from excellent back in the late 90s and early 2000s to crap in my last dealings with them. I think Cisco buying BlackBerry would be the end of any phone running BB10 either for the consumer or the enterprise.

Flip and Cius were ill-timed. There was a relatively small window of opportunity where these would have been viable, but that window already was closing due to the surge of smartphones and BYOD. Cisco probably envisioned Flip as an extension of enterprise video-conferencing, but as with the Cius, smartphones/BYOD obsoleted the need for a standalone, "point-and-shoot" video device.

The Linksys acquisition is probably one of those things that looked good at the time, but after getting into it, just wasn't worth it. What value prop would Cisco bring to Linksys consumer-grade products? Enterprise networking expertise? That would encourage over-engineering and uncompetitive pricing. Ultimately, that's a commodity, thin-margin game with the additional burden of providing consumer-scale support. Maybe there was an SMB play there, but Cisco didn't really need another brand for that space...

NIce article! It's been on my mind lately about who could possibly buy Blackberry if they decide to sell. Somehow, Cisco buying them makes a lot more sense and I think it would be the better fit as far as BlackBerry services finding it's way to a more productive home. Google, Microsoft/Nokia, Apple, etc would mostly likely strip it to it's core (patents and tech) and let the name fade.

Absolutely no chance. If a company could be called isheep, it would be Cisco. They are so far up Apple's butt. More than 75% of employees there use iphones and macs. They can choose every two years and they are blind apple sheep.

Then Cisco is a good to buy Blackberry. iPad mini has security up the butt just like Blackberry does. Only difference is they are insanely successfull. iPad mini is an extrordinary tablet. My wife has one and I love using it. Its as fast as a Lambourgini and as smooth as silk. People who call Apple users iSheep are jealous and immature and have never tried one. I like my Samsung Galaxy tab2 and Playbook but iPad is the best for a reason, and since using one I know why. If I could go back a year, I'd have bought an iPad mini and said screw Blackberry and all their BS. But I have a Playbook and things are what they are.

On the contrary - I've tried every Apple product and have an iPad 4 at home. Isheep does not apply to all apple users. Just those who buy apple because its apple and have no idea if its the right product for them. They are followers, like sheep. If you've researched all the platforms and decide on apple, then you are not a sheep.

Jealous? Uh, these are not expensive things like a house or car. If I wanted another apple product I could buy one any time. I choose to use platforms that actually allow the user to do what we want, not just what the manufacturer thinks we should be able to do.

My apologies to you but I've never heard an iPad fan refer to other iPad users as iSheep. Its been my my understanding that its a derogatory phrase used to describe fanatic Apple users.

I prefer my Samsung Galaxy Tab2 for complete flexabillity and customizabillity. IE live wallpapers and widgets and my wife's iPad mini for insane speed, security and literally a million apps. And my Playbook? Well I use it because its there and have invested to much money in it and its apps to sell it for a crummy $150 on eBay.

iPad secure? Not really, but let's not get into that. I personally have both the PlayBook and the iPad mini. I decided to get an iPad mini after BlackBerry axed the PB and because a decent sytlus note taking app will never make it to the PlayBook. And I must say I like the iPad quite a lot because of the format (very slim) and speed - from that perspective it's everything a new PlayBook could have been. People can say what they want, but Apple has the best Store for Apps in terms of selection and quality. There are literally tones of great apps that not only look way better than e.g. on Android, they are also of extremely good quality. There is a reasonable app for almost anything you can think of. That said what I will probably NEVER get used to is the missing multitasking capabilities. It's so annoying not been able to e.g. watch a video and quickly look into your inbox, twitter or browse something. However I can imagine the next Generation of iOS will address that. In any case the PB is dead and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it so I will have to live with the downsides of the iPad mini.

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Can we stop speculating on a company sale every 5 articles until something is official? Tired of reading about this.

CB10- BlackBerry Z10 - 10.2.0.1047

Sorry, but it's an issue people are interested in discussing. It's easy enough to skip a headline, isn't it? 

Yep people sure do love to gossip don't they. I'm really interested in seeing this all unfold. Keep the speculation and gossip coming Simon, we love it.

PS in between all the gossip I'm really looking forward to getting the cross platform BBM so my Playbook can communicate with my Samsung Galaxy Tab2, my wifes iPad mini and all my other Android and IOS friends.

I actually heard BBM might be spinning off into a new company. More gossip lol.
http://www.zdnet.com/blackberry-mulling-bbm-spin-off-ahead-of-potential-...

Ive heard the Canadian government say in a press release that they wished Blackberry well, but it was up to Blackberry to make themselves successful. So I dont think they really care one way or another who buys the company. Blackberry is almost like a fellow Canadian Justin Beiber who has more haters then fans which adds to the awkward mystique.

Yeah, it's certainly something worth talking about. In that case, I think the tech was much more sensitive and merited protecting. Though most folks in Canada have a soft spot for BlackBerry, including those in the government, I don't think there's much legal reason for direct intervention if it comes to an acquisition. Considering how the government has been handling Wind, I think they'll err on the side of supporting foreign ownership, especially if it leads to keeping BlackBerry in one piece.

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Hey Simon, keep up your great work and I totally agree with you. Its win/win for the Canadian government for blackberry to be acquired by a foreign company like Samsung. QNX is an incredible OS but unfortunately has not really reached the masses and has more millatary uses.

That being said if Samsung buys Blackberry they would go Android and have a huge impact on Android sales in Canada not to mention internationally. This is good for Blackberry to keep them intact, and the Government for corporate tax purposes. Not to mention to keep this national monument alive and well. Blackberry is as Canadian as Brian Adams and William Shatner. As the Klingons would say...''Qapla.''

Good points Simon. I guess time will tell, but isn't Blackberry pretty sensitive when you consider the following?

1) BB is THE mobile method of communications in the Canadian, as well as other Western governments. PIN to PIN is the way to go when you don't want something public.
2) QNX powers some pretty sensitive stuff, including infrastructure.
3) Certicom has ECC crypto. I'm not a crytography expert, but I believe it is the premier encryption method these days.

I think a lot is going to depend on WHO is wanting to acquire them, if it comes to that. If it's an American company, they may allow it. I'm sure the NSA would prefer that (Patriot Act), but who knows how much access they have to BB's network now? I remember seeing a white paper years ago (should have downloaded it) where RIM's backend infrastructure was in two places: Waterloo Ontario, and Arlington VIrginia.

And putting security concerns aside, any deal would still have to show "net benefit to Canada". If someone comes calling, and Ottawa blocks it, the share price would take a hit. Maybe that's what the CPPIB is counting on (putting tinfoil hat back on).

Some interesting points specially regarding the government and their Blackberry contracts. However the Canadian Government has said they wish Blackberry all the best, but its up to Blackberry to become successful in the public sector on their own merits.

To me that's a green light to sell to someone like Samsung who will make Blackberry Android. I'm sure the government is more interested in Blackberry being more successful in the public sector then the government.

The Government Blackberry contracts represent only a fraction of the handsets that could be sold compared if Blackberry became Android and very successful in the public sector. Not to mention all the corporate tax and other nonsence the government could collect from Blackberry when they become Android.

Plus the much hated NSA could spy even more on the general public with a Canadian giant like Blackberry going Android. Bottom line its all about money for the government. And Blackberry being purchased by an Android company will be a huge cash cow for the government.

This is off topic but ever heard of ''big Pharma'' and how toxic aspartame was pushed through the FDA for approval, even though its proven to cause countless illnesses? And this trash aspartame is in 100s of products today. Watch this movie and educate yourself on who and what the government really are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owtF2nt2VX4

The governemnt is severely corrupt and just care about money and profit. So I can guarentee the governments least worry is losing some Minor QNX contracts compared to all the money they can make from Blackberry Android.

Simon pretty much summed it up there, didn't he? There is no gun to your head is there? And yet you're reading the article anyway, aren't you? Then complaining, knowing exactly what the subject was, is that not the case? Huge difference, BTW, between speculation and discussion of a "what if".

Thanks Umi! Nevertheless I think this still is a very superficial view of Cisco and the potential behind this "mind game". Cisco is way more than most here are anticipating. If I have a few minutes time I will put some thoughts together that would include areas that weren't covered yet.

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Forget Cisco. Sell to Google or Samsung so we can all get what what we want...Android and 750,000 apps. If you want security buy an iPad.

Ya I agree. Samsung saying they have no interest in acquiring Blackberry is just a media smokescreen. Blackberry is huge in Canada and Samsung buying them would further cement their Android power there. Buying a great company like Blackberry and making them Android is win/win.

It should be noted that there are other synergies between Cisco and BlackBerry - especially on the Unified Communications marketplace (Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_communications for more details of what I'm talking about).

Cisco and BlackBerry have co-presented a number of times in the Enterprise seminars I have attended in Canada and the USA.

Finally - Cisco, themselves, sort of own the Desktop IP space (from WebEx, to Cisco IP Telephony, to video conferencing). BlackBerry owns the Mobile equivalent to this and, of course, Cisco was one of the first to support native applications on BlackBerry10.

It's not out of the realm of possibility and the synergies make sense. The Western Governments (especially USA) would embrace an American player taking over one of the biggest pool of encryption patents [as opposed to, say, Lenovo] and Cisco can move from "core" networks right out to the very edge.

Having said that : Cisco has recently divested itself of 'consumer' products - for example recently selling their home router/network/wifi portfolio to Belkin. Their track record for buying companies and then breaking them by running them badly is pretty strong and consistent, too. It makes me nervous even if it makes sense.

And I still need $35/share to keep above water no matter what.

I think that Cisco is a good fit. Cisco uses QNX in it's world class routers. I don't have the number but most of the world's Internet traffic goes though Cisco Routers. This means that QNX directly touches most Internet traffic. (Note: This is not like your little Linux home wifi router. These things are pushing billions of packets across the world and performance is key.) Cisco actually promotes BlackBerry in advertisements. Having said this though, I think that BlackBerry is going to adjust itself to break even - they will not go broke - so they are in no real rush - just the rush of pundits that don't really know what is going on. BlackBerry also hired the same firm that turned Cisco's public perception around. This is the real problem with BB.

Partnerships and licensing would be better but I would take Cisco too.

ChannelX C000D3759 We review channels

Love the article and I'm a big fan of Cisco as well. However I hope BlackBerry can hold on.

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With Cisco, there are a lot of synergies when it comes to target audiences, platforms, and in-house talent/skill sets. Cisco has been wanting to move up the computing stack (think OSI model) as lower-level functions, such as networking, are becoming virtualized and, ultimately, commoditized. And with acquisitions like Tandberg and Webex, you can see it is focusing more on the rich services and applications, which require robust networks to run effectively.

Contrast this to HP, which also wants to move up the stack and acquired Palm to that end. But, its vision for WebOS was flaky, the platform was comparatively unproven (let alone not commercially successful), and the company had not decided what role it really wanted to play in the smartphone and tablet space. Heck, it didn't now if it even wanted to be in the PC space at that point. HP had started talking about M2M communication, but the notion of WebOS on printers was pretty unimaginative.

One advantage BBRY and BB 10 have is QNX, which is a reliable, proven platform. This would be very important to Cisco whose reputation--and pricing--is based largely on reliability (the old "No one got fired for buying x" line also applies to Cisco). Cisco isn't about to throw traditional Android on its switches.

The NOC also could be of value to either augment existing services or as a platform for new offerings. At the very least, the BIS footprint could alone be worth it due to the Cisco product sales opportunities it opens up at carrier accounts. Furthermore, with the NOC, BBRY has a talent pool with skill sets that are viable and complementary to Cisco technologies. Culturally, Cisco is somewhat "academic" in its approach to technology and research, though from what I've heard, BBRY is very similar.

I honestly have a feeling that Verizon will have to do with the partnership movement or something close to it.

Any thoughts?

Posted via CB10 from my BlackBerry Z10

Cisco would be a good partner for BlackBerry. They're already tied together, informally, via QNX considering it powers routers for Cisco. IOS is the original iOS - that's what Cisco calls their "internetwork operating system".

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Sierra Wireless would Alsop make a good partner for BlackBerry - and they're Canadian. SW couldn't "buy" BlackBerry - I don't think they're that loaded, but a partnership / merger would be understandable.

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At first I thought Cisco would be a great fit for BlackBerry, but not anymore. Cisco would just rip the company apart, take what it needs and that would be the end of BlackBerry we all once knew.. And with so much negatively regarding BlackBerry, on the news media and unfortunately this site as well I feel like it's a lost cause. I love my Z10 and will miss BlackBerry when it's all over. I will enjoy this phone and BlackBerry and will stand behind this great company until the hammer fall.

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Thinking globally. Cisco could use their leverage to bring the world a truly global device that people could afford.

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it will be great if google buys blackberry. and makes qwerty blackberry without touch with android + 2gb ram,1.6ghz quad core,2500 mah battery,16gb inbuilt,internet without bis,and a solid build quality.

Cisco would only be interested in BlackBerry's network-specific patents and not much else. The mobile computing market is not their forte and they're doing quite well without it.

Blackberry making every one guessing for now!! have to wait and see where and how Blackberry will respond.
One thing for sure.. They have to learn to keep their word and keep it on Time. BBM for Android and OS..end of summer...WHEN? that's the bad part f Blackberry will give very much hype.. but at the end it all flop..play book BB10 etc so far. We want Blackberry to be in the game...please act fast and act smart in the market.

INTERESTING!! Well written Kevin and *sparked* me to think of Cisco in a new light.
YET I'm still rooting for a DELL BB partnership (if it comes to that).

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Amazon would be a better fit. They have the content (ebooks, movies, tvshows,), e-store (you can buy anything from Amazon), S3 storage, XEN cloud virtualization - which is used by many enterprises. BlackBerry brings tons of enterprise solutions. BB10, BBM, BES, etc. BlackBerry and Amazon would be very complimentary. Amazon can finally drop that bastard child created from forking Android.

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You think Amazon is going to drop Android? That't absurd lol. If anything whoever buys Blackberry will make them Android. BB10 is a failure which is why Blackberry is up for sale.

Android is Google. Much better to have their own walled garden with BlackBerry tech. No dependency on Google. The patent portfolio, QNX, BB10, BBM, BES all tied into Amazon services. That's a better deal for Amazon than Android. Better for BlackBerry too. Why should Amazon help Google?

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''Much better to have their own walled garden with BlackBerry tech. No dependency on Google''...

Blackberry failed because Heins chose QNX over Android over a year ago. If he'd have chosen Android, Blackberry wouldn't be in the mess they're in now.

I know Android is Googles OS. There's no way Amazon is going to drop Android for QNX. Any company, (including Amazon) who licenses Android is wildly successful. They're enjoying too much profit from having Android. There's no way Amazon is going to drop a cash cow like Android for QNX which is a public failure. QNX is successful in the government but thats it. No one wants to dev for it which is why Blackberry is up for sale. Bottom line in this business is profit. Its either Android or IOS, and IOS won't license to anyone. Sure QNX is secure and I enjoy my Playbook as a secondary tablet, but the app selection on QNX and BB10 stinks. Most of the public think QNX is dead except for hard core users like the government, and people like you and I. I love Blackberry but have the common sense to know they are dead and have moved on.

I have to believe that 70 million users, including the US government, the Pentagon, and a majority of international corporate clients; a tested and secure OS and an independent line of products are worth something. If Cisco (or HP or Microsoft for that matter) want to establish themselves fully into the enterprise sector, then BBRY is a garage sale bargain, even if they license out the handset business to someone else. As a Canadian looking at the loss of yet another world leading company all I can do is sigh and watch.

70 million users and a government contract are nothing compared to what Blackberry will do when they are purchased by a company who will make them Android.

Bad idea. They don't have the content nor the connections for content. I think if they bought BlackBerry and tried to push a similar agenda, they would end up in BB's current position. They might be able to turn it around but doubtful. Their best bet would be to license patents which BlackBerry can do on their own. The value of such an acquisition is minimal to both sides.

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Cisco is interesting, But I just can't imagine LENOVO not being interested in BlackBerry. Match made in Heaven.

Call me insane but i have a gut feeling Lenovo might be the one to partner with Blackberry! As far as the cash required to buy the company they could also partner with some pension fund to come up with the required cash. So even though they won't own all of Blackberry they will have their foot in the door. They could also decide to buy the hardware side of things and licence BB10. BB10 is the best OS there is anyone who says it isn't don't know what their talking about. Once they start marketing the hell out of BB10 they will start selling lots of devices and then App developers will start jumping on board!

The only thing BB can do now is to focus in new Markets for their products and with competitive prices and also add some colors :-) ,colors can actually do wonders in life as well as work.Introduce some lower cost mobiles with great colors and a bit increase in the screen size as they are well known for their keypad .Just correct me friends if i am wrong for the above .