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Smartphone maker BlackBerry hopes to go private in a $4.7-billion deal led by its biggest shareholder, allowing the e-mail pioneer to regroup away from public scrutiny after years of falling fortunes and slumping market share. (DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
Smartphone maker BlackBerry hopes to go private in a $4.7-billion deal led by its biggest shareholder, allowing the e-mail pioneer to regroup away from public scrutiny after years of falling fortunes and slumping market share. (DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

THE CONVERSATION

Sept. 28 – This week’s Talking Point – BlackBerry’s future – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Not so long ago, BlackBerry was Canada’s tech darling. Now, abandoned by customers, spurned by the markets, the company is pegging its hopes on being taken private. Readers, print and digital, parse the Crackberry’s fate

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You snooze, you lose, in the cellphone industry. All I’ve got to say is our government better not bail BlackBerry out.

Simon Jones, Ottawa

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BlackBerry has billions in the bank: Media claims of its demise are greatly exaggerated and detrimental to sales. Although it was blamed for lack of “innovation,” BlackBerry did well integrating its iconic keyboard into cutting-edge new devices with a slick new operating system, creating an iPhone-topping Z10 touch screen, and broadening its product line with an entry level Q5 keyboard.

Yet despite innovative, well-built new products, the pending large-screen Z30 to compete against Samsung is getting far less media coverage than the minimal iPhone colour updates and male-voice-guide option.

Initial BlackBerry commercials for the BB10 operating system were sparse, and vague when they did air. Still, with $2.6-billion in cash on hand, BlackBerry needs to let customers know they have modern products in every segment.

Otherwise, while news stories on iPhone colour updates are essentially free commercials, current BlackBerry coverage is decidedly more negative.

Nick Henselmeier, Saskatoon

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BlackBerry needs to innovate in the market it started. Let iPads be iPads and Galaxys be Galaxys.

Drew Williams, Whitby, Ont.

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The end of another Canadian dream. Sad that they did not adapt to changes and demands quickly enough to stay ahead and be competitive in today’s market.

Bernard Seguin, Ottawa

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Your editorial The Fickleness Of Tech Progress (Sept. 25) was all-too-typically Canadian. Those Canadians who have built technology ventures in Canada that can compete globally have done so against tremendous odds. They do so in spite of the fact that our domestic market is small, our labour market is chronically undersupplied with the skilled men and women our industry requires, and the capital we need for growth is in short supply.

The other element that is in tragically short supply in Canada is recognition for the achievements of those who successfully defy these challenges. The very fact that BlackBerry exists at all is a cause for celebration. I would have expected more from Canada’s national newspaper.

Karna Gupta, president, Information & Technology Association of Canada

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We should be patriotic, but Canadians shouldn’t unquestioningly claim businesses as ours just because they are Canadian.

Hon Lam, Victoria

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One of the reasons I was concerned with the downfall of BlackBerry was that its support for regional start-ups would leave with the company.

News that Google is investing in the region was a good read (Google Reaches Out To Waterloo Area – Sept. 26).

Justin Pacitti, Toronto

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BlackBerry needs creative progressive leaders ASAP and it will again be a good company.

Tomislav Dragosavljevic, Toronto

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BlackBerry might be unfixable at this point. It’s hard to get people to invest in a platform if they don’t think it has a long-term future.

It’s a shame, but people just aren’t buying the phones. That’s really what it comes down to.

Chris Eaton, Fredericton

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BlackBerry had a good thing going with secure data.

In a world where the National Security Agency knows everything about everyone, this could be BlackBerry’s ticket to the top.

Tidings Mpofu, New York

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Given there’s about to be a BBM app for iOS and Android, I’d suggest that even as a business tool, BlackBerry is obsolete.

Ken Breadner, Waterloo, Ont.

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I fear BlackBerry will be gutted.

Lorinc Del Motte, Moncton

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The picture is admittedly complex, but I am fed up with the persistent imbalance in reporting across the media. For years, Apple has been given free advertising by making product announcements primetime news. With Apple, we hear the good news. With BlackBerry, the emphasis is on bad news. Every hiccup is portrayed as disastrous.

By way of contrast, how much attention has been paid to Apple? If you owned Apple shares a year ago, they were worth almost $700. The fall of $200 goes largely unreported.

Philip A. Russel, Toronto

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I think the new BlackBerry Z10 is a fine smartphone, solid, high-quality, fast browser, excellent “reader” for web pages, aside from the various apps, which are now numerous. I find it a more than satisfactory experience.

If Canadians won’t support our own company, when its product is totally competitive with any other, well, what more can I say?

What are we? Losers?

Janet Doyle, Victoria

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ON REFLECTION MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Prime ministers’ visions

Re Harper Stands Firm on Keystone (Sept. 27: Our national leaders once had visions for Canada. Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney staked their legacies on grand gambits in nation-building. For Mr. Trudeau, it was the just society and the Constitution; for Mr. Mulroney, the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords.

Stephen Harper seems intent on defining his leadership by a pipeline to funnel our natural resources to the U.S. I yearn for a leader who sees Canada as something more than a hewer of wood and drawer of water.

Geoff Read, London, Ont.

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Yin, yang, literature

Re Women Writers’ Remarks Spur Talk On Responsibilities (Sept. 27): I haven’t read Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal, but it’s a good thing that it resonates with David Gilmour, as his comments about women writers put him, ironically, in the category so aptly described by that title.

Michelle Christopher, Calgary

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A+ for debate

As an English student – as well as one of David Gilmour’s – I’ve found that a course’s reading list has little bearing on the class’s success; rather, it’s a professor who challenges students and illuminates the material who makes all the difference.

Mr. Gilmour is one of those professors. What makes Prof. Gilmour’s classroom so wonderful is that there’s always ample opportunity for debate.

A classmate’s final paper was an extended refutation of most of the opinions he expressed in the course. He gave her an A+.

Martina Bellisario, third-year English, University of Toronto

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Name that title

Re The Confessions Of Michael Ignatieff (Sept. 26): I imagine Michael Ignatieff’s Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics as the first instalment in a series on Liberal leaders. The trilogy could include the prequel Dire and Rash: Stéphane Dion and the Coalition Crisis and a highly anticipated sequel, Sire and Flash: Name, Image, and the Coronation of Justin Trudeau.

Jonathan Skrimshire, Pincher Creek, Alta.

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