Goldman Sachs downgrades BlackBerry following lacklustre US BlackBerry Z10 launch

Investment bank Goldman Sachs downgraded smartphone maker BlackBerry from “buy” to “neutral” following a lacklustre launch of its critical BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in the US.

The new smartphone, the first to use the company’s new BlackBerry 10 platform, launched in the US on Friday (US time) through AT&T, with the phone also becoming available through Verizon Wireless on Thursday.

However, according to Reuters, senior analysts noted a distinct lack of excitement over the US launch.

“This morning we visited and called stores to survey early demand for the Blackberry Z10. We found no lines, no signage announcing the launch, and clerks told us they had very few pre-order,” said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst.

News of the downgrade comes after research house Detweiler Fenton revealed to AllThingsD that the mystery buyer of up to 1 million BlackBerry Z10s was a company called Brightstar, which handles big-box retail distribution for Verizon.

“Our checks indicate the order was from Brightstar, whom Verizon is relying upon to handle the big-box retail and dealer agent channels,” Detwiler Fenton managing director Mark Gerber said.

“It suggests Verizon doesn’t believe this will be a strong seller, since it normally tries to allocate hot product on its own.”


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