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BlackBerry Hops on Amazon Bandwagon
Posted June 18, 2014
BlackBerry Hops on Amazon Bandwagon
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By Jennifer LeClaire. Updated June 18, 2014 12:05PM

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Handset maker BlackBerry may be way down but it’s not completely out. The company is riding the wave of publicity Amazon is unleashing with its new smartphone by aligning with the e-commerce giant’s app store.

BlackBerrry-Amazon Appstore compatibility will become a reality when the company soon launches version 10.3 of its operating system. And with Amazon Appstore access, BlackBerry users have a much larger catalogue to choose from, including thousands of the most popular apps and games.

Indeed, Amazon’s Appstore has more than 24,000 Android apps. BlackBerry 10 users can finally download apps like Netflix, Pinterest, Groupon, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft. The question is, will it make any difference whatsoever for BlackBerry at this point in its downfall? Of course, the handset maker is playing it up for all it thinks it’s worth.

BlackBerry’s Amazon Hype

“Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry continue to meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises,” said BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen. “We’ve listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy.”

Chen has to say and believe those words. BlackBerry and Amazon will be working with members of the handset maker’s application developer community to help them believe it as well. The companies will help developers migrate their apps to the Amazon Appstore in time for the launch of 10.3. BlackBerry is hyping the store’s promotional tools, like Appstore Developer Select, Amazon Coins, and the Developer Promotions Console, which makes possible real time pricing adjustments and specials. There’s also a Free App of the Day program.

According to market research firm IDC, BlackBerry has dipped from 43 percent of the smartphone market in 2011 to 14 percent in 2013. By way of comparison, Android-powered phones have surged to 81 percent globally.

Losing Touch With Reality?

We turned to Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the deal. He told us, in quite frank terms, that it doesn’t make much difference for either company. Although every little move helps a little, the bell has already tolled for BlackBerry, he said.

“It’s sad but true. It’s too little, too late. They have waited too long. It’s like we’re several hours after the Titanic hit the iceberg” Entner said. “There is nothing they can do.”

The only part of BlackBerry Entner sees as potentially valuable is the enterprise e-mail server and he said even that is a huge question mark. What’s more, he said, every day the company waits to sell the BlackBerry Messenger it becomes less relevant.

“When you look at the whole BlackBerry saga over the last eight years it is a continuous story of miscalculations from successive management teams,” he said. “By now you can’t even blame it all on Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. They are living so far in the past they’ve lost touch with reality.”

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