BlackBerry and Barnes & Noble’s mobile, tablet woes continue

Apple’s iPads dominate the tablet market. Google and Apple top the smartphone market. What are competitors to do? A couple of them are getting rid of executives, that’s what.

BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research in Motion, reportedly fired its vice president for U.S. sales, last month. The Canadian company also plans to lay off more employees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

CEO Thorsten Heins asked shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Tuesday for their patience, and addressed questions about whether it made sense to break up the company. “Before you go into any strategic option, I think you have to create value, and the value of the company 15 months ago was way, way less than what it is today,” Heins said at the meeting, according to Businessweek. In addition, Heins conceded that the United States is a tough market for BlackBerry.

Also this week, Barnes & Noble announced that its chief executive of three years, William Lynch, is stepping down amid slow sales growth at its bookstores and sustained losses. Its Nook tablets also are having a hard time competing with iPads and Android-based tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle. In fact, Barnes & Noble recently said it would stop making its own tablets and will instead concentrate on its e-readers. Its shares were down more than 4 percent to $17.80 as of this post.

Photo of BlackBerry’s headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario from The Canadian Press via the Associated Press

 

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  • sd

    Much as I’m all in favor of a diverse marketplace, I think Blackberry is throwing good money after bad these days. Their new OS has been a flop, their PlayBook is a version of HP’s now-you-see-a-tablet-now-you-don’t product, and instead of trying to figure out what the problem is (it’s your ecosystem, stupids), they just beg for more time. Their figurative 15 minutes are up. What it will cost Blackberry to continue R&D for a proprietary OS and encourage a sizable app market for same, only to preserve third or fourth place in the market, isn’t worth it. Pull the plug now.

    As for B&N, I think they could stick it out a while longer. But the differentiation must be what the Nook does for avid book readers that a Kindle does not. Kindle’s big advantage is the Amazon name on the plastic — it’s a portal to all Amazon offers, and that’s much more than bn or Walmart or even Google can offer. The Nook will founder unless it can sell itself as the anti-Kindle or can offer serious readers some clear advantages that a Kindle/Fire cannot.

 
 
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