BlackBerry once a phone innovator, was considered a game-changer in 1999 when its mobile phone allowed on-the-go business people to access email wirelessly. BlackBerry devices were popular for a long time for almost a decade. But with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and Google’s android in 2008 BlackBerry lost its market as a consequence of errors in its strategy and vision.
Blackberry is striving to get back into the smartphone market for which it is strategically using third parties to manufacture and market the Blackberry smartphones. India being the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world, everybody is looking at India as a huge landing ground. Trying to capture the Asian smartphone market BlackBerry has signed a long-term licensing deal with Delhi-based Optiemus Infracom to manufacture and market smartphones in South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
Optiemus will focus on BlackBerry handsets priced between Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000, which is the fastest-growing segment in India. Under this agreement, Optiemus Infracom will perform all the services for Blackberry starting from manufacturing to selling the Blackberry smartphones in South Asia. Optiemus will provide all the customer support needed for the users. The Delhi-based firm is expecting to sell two million handsets in one year.
BlackBerry will also license its security software and service suite to Optiemus whereby it will launch BlackBerry smartphones running on Google Android operating system and position them as “secured” handsets. The handsets will also receive security updates directly from BlackBerry.
The agreement between BlackBerry and Optiemus also supports the Indian Government’s “Make in India” initiative, which aims to create local manufacturing and job opportunities. As per the agreement, Optiemus will follow BlackBerry’s recent global licensing agreement with TCL Communication and PT BlackBerry.
With this, BlackBerry now has licensees all over the world, in all markets to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices, proving the firm is delivering on its licensing strategy and accelerating its transition to be a ‘future-proof’ security software and services company.
About the Author: Gaurav Giri, Sr. Executive Licensing at IIPRD and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org