Major US-based financial firm Morgan Stanley has put on hold plans to upgrade its corporate smartphones to BlackBerry 10 over concerns about the long-term stability of the Canadian smartphone giant.
Bloomberg reports the company has placed a potential order of up to 55,600 of the devices on hold, with staff continuing to use older BlackBerry 7 smartphones for the time being.
The report also quotes a second major US bank, with around 100,000 employees, has put a pilot program of newer BlackBerry 10 devices on hold over long-term concerns about the company.
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The news is not much better for the Canadian smartphone giant on the consumer front, with the Wall Street Journal reporting extremely weak demand for the company’s keyboard-based Q10 smartphone, according to retailers and carriers.
“We saw virtually no demand for the Q10 and eventually returned most to our equipment vendor,” one retailer in the Midwestern US said.
“We thought there would be a pocket of die-hard BlackBerry enthusiasts waiting to upgrade, but it seems they have already moved on,” a second retailer said.
“I think we’d all say that the Q10, the one we all thought was going to be the saviour, just hit the ground and died,” an unnamed executive at a Canadian carrier said.
Recently, SmartCompany reported the company announced the creation of a special five-member board to examine sale options, on the same day its largest shareholder, Prem Watsa, dramatically resigned from the board of directors.
Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings – which is not related to the Australian media company – is the largest individual shareholder in the company, having purchased a 9.9% stake in the company for $880 million.
The resignation followed an exodus of senior executives from the company during recent weeks, including corporate information technology operations vice-president Doug Kozak, global manufacturing and supply chain senior vice-president Carmine Arabia, and service operations vice-president Graeme Whittington.
Watsa, along with the Canada Pension Plan, are shaping up as key bidders for the company amidst widespread speculation about plans to take the company private.