There’s been new developments over at beleaguered BlackBerry this morning, with a possible takeover bid in the offing, coming hot on the heels of news that seven of its key designers dumped the company earlier this year.
First up is the news that BlackBerry’s former CEO and co-founder Mike Lazaridis is weighing up a last ditch bit to save his faltering company. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, it was revealed that Lazaridis has increased his stake in the firm to 8%, and has engaged in talks with investors Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs over a possible acquisition.
Lazaridis’ late bid to secure control of BlackBerry comes as concerns rise over the ability of its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, to secure backing for its own proposed takeover that would make BlackBerry private once again. Meanwhile, the company is also weighing up an alternative plan that would see it break up its smartphone business as hardware sales continue to disintegrate.
Lazaridis might see himself as some kind of white knight riding in to save the day, but its hard to see how anyone could revive the company’s flagging fortunes at this late stage. It was under Lazaridis’ regime that BlackBerry lost its way, slipping from its perch at the top of the smartphone market, and with the firm now effectively on life support even someone like Steve Jobs would have a hard time reviving it.
The problems at BlackBerry are numerous, and they’re getting worse by the day. One of the most glaring obstacles it faces is a talent drain, as evidenced by today’s news that BlackBerry 10 designers The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) quietly abandoned the firm last January, with seven of its top designers going on to form a new company called TOPP. According to AllThingsD, the startup has set out to “craft new products and breathe life into innovative ideas through design, prototyping, and technology” within the mobile, consumer electronics automotive and other industries. TAT provided input into Blackberry way beyond BB10′s aesthetics. Its Cascades framework for app development was also adopted by the firm, and integrated into its SDK.
With Hampus Jakobsson, founder of TAT, leaving BlackBerry in August 2012 just before BB10 was released, and now this latest talent drain, its not clear how many of the original TAT designers remain at the firm.
Sadly for BlackBerry it’s not just its top talent that’s abandoning ship – many carriers are also trying to disentangle themselves from the company too. Most recently, T-Mobile confirmed last month that it would no longer be stocking BB handsets in its stores, saying that few consumers were interested in them anymore.
View our full End of BlackBerry collection on Springpad.