BlackBerry ripe in the Middle East region
Regional managing director says company is still a leading player.
October 6, 2013 3:25 by Muhammad Aldalou
With several disheartening announcements last month, it’s no surprise that BlackBerry has had its fair share of troubles and struggles.
At the moment, Marvin Pearlstein – a shareholder who has accused the company and its executives for misleading investors about its future prospects and the BlackBerry 10 smartphone line – is suing the company.
In Q2 2013, the company shipped a total of 5.9 million phones, which, when compared with Apple’s nine million new iPhone models sold over the weekend, is rather disappointing.
Last month, the struggling smartphone manufacturer confirmed a substantial Q2 loss of approximately $1 billion and announced that it would be slashing 4,500 jobs (40 per cent of its workforce) and agreed to a $4.7 billion buyout by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial.
BlackBerry has recently said that it is still open for other bids and has asked a number of tech companies – including Google, Cisco, Samsung, Intel and LG – to express interest.
However, despite all of its worries on an international scale, Nick Horton, recently appointed as managing director for the Middle East region and North Africa insists that the company is still a leading player in this region.
Horton says the Middle East region continues to be one of the strongest in the world for BlackBerry, with the Canadian manufacturer remaining “highly competitive” here.
He cites data provided by research firm GfK, revealing that BlackBerry was the third best-selling brand in the UAE in August 2013, adding that 98 per cent of BlackBerry users in the country use BlackBerry Messenger to stay connected.
“This is an extremely important country to us and we continue to ensure we are committed to investing in it – for example, the UAE was one of the key launch markets for our BlackBerry 10 smartphone range, including the BlackBerry Z10, Q10, Q5 and the new BlackBerry Z30,” he points out, adding that it is a strong international brand and that there is still plenty of room for growth in the industry.
He concludes: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to our customers and partners in the UAE. In a world where choice is king, we have the secure technology and services that users need – no matter what device or platform they have chosen – to keep people moving at home, at work and on-the-go. Our business is more than just devices – it is software, hardware and services.”