Canada's government not taking a position on BlackBerry's fate, but watches closely

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), based in Waterloo, Ontario, is one of Canada's most prized companies, but the Canadian government is not taking a position, publicly at least, on the firm's fate as BlackBerry considers various strategic options, including a possible sale. However, a key government minister indicated the government is watching what happens closely.

In an interview with Reuters, Industry Minister James Moore said it was "unfortunate" that BlackBerry's new Q10 and Z10 smartphones, running the company's Blackberry 10 platform, have not caught fire with consumers. (BlackBerry said it sold 6.8 million smartphones in its fiscal first quarter, which ended June 1, up from 6 million in the fiscal fourth quarter but down from 7.8 million in the year-ago period. The company said it shipped 2.7 million BlackBerry 10 devices in the fiscal first quarter.)

"I know that they're facing their challenges and they're adjusting their firm internally in the way that best suits their interests," Moore said. "And all I can say is, we wish them well, and we're keeping a close eye on the situation."

BlackBerry's board has said possibilities for the company include joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances or a sale of the company. Analysts have speculated that a Chinese company, such as Huawei or Lenovo, might be interested in buying BlackBerry, but others have said such a sale might run into national security concerns; Canada has the power to block acquisitions of companies if the deal threatens national security. BlackBerry has been a staple of U.S. government users, and Huawei and ZTE were last year blasted by a government report as likely aiding Chinese spies.

Moore declined to speculate on a possible sale of BlackBerry to a Chinese company. BlackBerry employs around 6,000 people in the Waterloo region. "We want them to do well, keep employing Canadians, keeping putting out innovative technologies and platforms, and we're paying close attention," he said.

In other BlackBerry news, more than one third of the BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) World storefront's 120,000 applications were created by a single developer, BerryReview reported. The news again highlights BlackBerry's difficulties in rallying both buyers and application developers to its new BB10 platform.

Vendor S4BB Limited is credited with roughly 47,000 BlackBerry applications, including a multitude of city guides, phrasebooks and apps designed around RSS feeds from sources like the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service. Many S4BB submissions are simply audiobooks offered in an app wrapper.

BlackBerry said the proliferation of S4BB apps highlighted the company's open market model. "Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics," a BlackBerry spokesperson told AllThingsD. "Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers. This is why we have worked hand in hand with developers on the Built for BlackBerry program to help showcase apps and games that exemplify the power of BlackBerry 10." For more on this, see this FierceMobileContent article.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this FierceMobileContent article

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