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BlackBerry Z30 Launch Failed To Learn Lessons of iPhone 5s Launch

Jon C. Ogg

BlackBerry Limited (BBRY) remains in trouble and perhaps its only true exit or recovery strategy is the hope of an acquirer wanting to take this company private. Now the company has launched its new Z30 smartphone as the supposed flagship product. Apple Inc. (AAPL) recently paid a hefty price in its shares after a dud of a release of the iPhone 5 refresh. It is very possible that Blackberry may not have learned a thing from Tim Cook's baseball equivalent of getting on base by getting hit by the pitch.

The Z30 may have been uber-impressive in the past. It may still be, but the device was unveiled at an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and will initially launch in the Middle East and in the United Kingdom. If the Z10 was lackluster in unit sales, how and why is a launch party in Malaysia and an initial release in England and the Middle East going to save the company?

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What Blackberry has going for it is still its best-in-class enterprise security. It is a sad state to admit this, but the consumer market is just not so concerned with that. The new smartphone comes with a larger 5-inch screen display and a 1.7 Gigahertz processor. Because the launch is limited to outside nations, it is going to be hard to tell how exactly this really stacks up against Apple Inc. (AAPL) in the iPhone 5 refresh.

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In fact, the Z30 may push the Z10 into being obsolete faster than it was introduced. That could even force BlackBerry to take back hundreds of thousands of phones and subsequently take hundreds of millions worth of inventory writedowns. This also hits at the same time as the newest Samsung and rival Android smartphones are hitting under Google Inc. (GOOG). Google and Apple have the dominant share of the smartphone market globally, and BlackBerry is becoming hardly noticed.

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What is also lacking is carrier selection and pricing for the phone. Of course consumer adoption is a risk too, but BlackBerry has learned to deal with that being a disappointment. Even the Windows 8 phones from Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) are believed to be increasing in share while BlackBerry continues to bleed. The new deal with Nokia Corporation (NOK) may be bad enough for BlackBerry as it hopes to sell itself. Lenovo is one possible buyer, but we are not that excited about a BlackBerry buyout coming at any massive premium.

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BlackBerry shares were up as much as 1% earlier in the day on Wednesday but trading around noon has the shares down 0.3% at $10.52. BlackBerry's market cap is $5.4 billion and its shares have a 52-week trading range of $6.22 to $18.32.

If you ever want to force your product launch into oblivion with the prized US market, try hosting the launch in Malaysia and signaling that the phones will launch in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Apple's dud of a launch should have been a lesson, but it seems that the management team in Canada somehow missed that lesson.

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BlackBerry's full Z30 news release can be found here. A product image from BlackBerry is below.

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