BlackBerry: We Want Partnerships and We Want Them Now

Waterloo’s BlackBerry has renewed its call for partners in yet another bid to dig itself out of a hole.

The once-again struggling company, which returned for profitability for one fleeting moment before sinking back into the red last quarter, is open and eager to strike partnerships of any and all kinds as it hopes to rekindle hope for a recovery.

Chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said at his company’s annual meeting yesterday not to “think narrowly,” urging potential partners to look beyond licensing deals. “Think broad,” he said, citing cars as one example.

BlackBerry continues to cut costs through a belt-tightening program called Polaris. Still in effect, the program could result in further layoffs as the company’s stock price continues to tumble. Under Heins’ reign, BlackBerry has already laid off more than 5,000 employees worldwide through Polaris.

At the meeting, the CEO also asked for something from investors that most just don’t have any left of: patience.

“BlackBerry is still in the early phases of our transition,” Heins said. “This isn’t just the launch of a new product but a whole new platform. While many will judge us on the basis of one quarter of a single product, we are not a devices-only product.”

Bloomberg explains the Canadian company’s recent troubles:

The Z10—more than two years in the making and designed to win over the touch-screen users of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy lineup—sold almost a million units fewer than analysts had projected last quarter. … BlackBerry’s worldwide subscriber base slipped to 72 million last quarter, from 76 million and 79 million in the preceding quarters. BlackBerry’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 2.9 percent in March as it was bumped into fourth place by Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone platform, according to research firm IDC.

Shares in BlackBerry are down 4% in trading today.