BlackBerry red ink; Google, Yahoo make-overs

BlackBerry

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins on stage at the BlackBerry 10 launch.

Just days after launching the Z30 smartphone Blackberry reveals it lost almost US$1 billion in the most recent quarter as the Z10 and Q10 failed to revive fortunes. BlackBerry says it will lay off 4,500 workers around 40 percent of the total and pull back from the consumer market.

It turns out the old-school BlackBerry 7 still sells better than new BlackBerry 10 devices.

Although BlackBerry hasn’t said it will retreat from consumer markets, that’s the only way to read BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announcement the will now focus on “end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user.”

No more Angry Birds then.

BlackBerry also said it will trim its range back from six to just four devices. The phone maker plans to reposition the z10 – which is not bad – as an entry-level model, no doubt that’ll mean a price cut.

At the current rate BlackBerry’s money will run out early next year. While many observers say it is doomed, the most likely end story is that it will get acquired for its software that lets large organisations manage security for fleet of BYOD kit.

  • After annoying users last year with a cascading menu, Google is having another try at weaning loyal fans off the black menu bar it runs across the top of browser displays. This time Google offers a drop down grid of icons for key services. The company says the roll out is gradual and will take place over the next few weeks. I saw it online last night.
  • Google is also making its QuickOffice software free for Android and iOS users. The software lets you work with Microsoft  Office documents on smartphones and tablets. As an extra bribe, Google is giving additional cloud storage – 10GB for the next two years – if you sign in this week. Given Microsoft is readying its own Office apps, Google’s move seems a pre-emptive strike aimed at the heart of Redmond’s business. Expect to see more jousting between these two in coming weeks.
  • Yahoo has given its  My Yahoo service a design make-over. Yahoo says the new look makes it easier to organize and discover “your favourite parts of the Web”
  • Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley reports the business we used to describes as a software giant could be aiming to merge, converge or otherwise blur the gap between Windows Phone and Windows RT with a range of devices bridging the gap between phones and tablets. And no, we’re not going to call them phablets.