BlackBerry is ripe for a fruitful harvest despite industry views of the vendor as a has-been handset brand.
That's according to market analyst Citron Research, which argues that commentators and investors have undervalued the company and misunderstood its potential.
"BlackBerry completely blew a market leadership position, which it will never recover. They lost their dominant handset business, and had their lunch eaten by Apple and Google," executive editor of Citron, Andrew Left, wrote in a market note on Friday US time.
"That was then. Get over it."
Citron's analysis is that the markets and media have clung -- quite wrongly -- to BlackBerry's history as a mobile device manufacturer, overlooking the transformative strides it has been making in other areas.
"BlackBerry is no longer a device company. It is an enterprise software company," Left wrote.
Citron lists the entrance of John Chen, the successful turnaround man for Sybase, as new leader in November and his moves to remodel the company as one reason the industry should think again about BlackBerry.
"Chen's first corporate action was to stop the bleeding by unloading the unprofitable handset business to Foxconn, clearing the decks so he could exert his primary focus on software and services," Left said.
"Next, BlackBerry took a multi-billion dollar write-down - a house-cleaning of epic proportions."
BlackBerry today has a market cap of $4.4bn -- considerably higher than the bond purchase of $250m by Fairfax would indicate given that it exited that quarter with just $3.2bn, he noted.
"It has a healthy balance sheet, with ample liquidity to execute its turnaround strategy and make the necessary investments for growth," Left said.
"In various interviews given to media, Chen made it clear that he will be laser-focused on the enterprise software side of the business -- good luck betting against him."
Citron notes that BlackBerry is showing strength in its mobile device management play, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), which has three times the customer base of Good, AirWatch and MobileIron combined.
Also, seven out of 10 of the G7 governments as customers as well -- not least for its security advantages over, say, iPhone.
BlackBerry Messenger has been discounted by many -- but it has "deep roots" in the enterprise, and may ride high on the back of BlackBerry's MDM wins, Left added.
There are also excellent prospects for its QNX platform software -- already a market leader in the automotive space, he said.
Two deals this week related to BlackBerry's MDM prospects were with European specialist software and services provider Datev, and in India where some 1,000 enterprises have deployed BES10 in the last year.
Wolfgang Fischer, group leader for IT systems and mobile at Germany-based Datev, said that its staff require confidentiality when using their mobiles, as well as reliability across every end point.
"With BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BES10, we have the best end-to-end solution in terms of usability, security and cost efficiency," he said in the deal announcement.
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