As Q1 2013 is drawing to a close, Blackberry has made a sudden and mysterious sale to a single, undisclosed, buyer – of 1 million handsets.
At the end of each quarter, investors eagerly await the sales figures for the last three months and probably no company (with the possible exception of Nokia) will be so closely watched this quarter as Blackberry. This quarter has seen the release of what many consider to be their last throw of the dice – the Blackberry 10 introductory range of handsets and poor sales figures could portent a very difficult time ahead indeed, for the company formerly known as Research in Motion.
So with that in mind, it’s “odd”, in the least, that suddenly someone would suddenly step forward and buy a full and exact million handsets – and Blackberry won’t tell us who.
As the parent article points out, very, very few organisations around the world have anywhere near enough staff to require an order that large and basically none, government departments included (even Chinese or American ones), have enough people who they would actually give a handset to, in order to require so many devices (i.e. the US DoD has 3.2 million people on the payroll but they wouldn’t all get a company phone). It is possible a very, very large reseller, who is extremely confident in the brand, might buy that many, however that seems extremely unlikely. Why carry such a huge risk when they can simply order them as required? In the previous quarter, Blackberry did shift a few million handsets but for a single reseller to take on that level of inventory, at once, even for global sales seems exceptionally unlikely.
Blackberry is touting this as a huge vote of confidence in their brand – however is someone if so amazingly confident in Blackberry, why do they need to remain secret?
So the obvious question is, who bought these handsets and, more importantly from the point of view of investors, is something not quite above board going on, here? While it’s definitely possible there’s a good explanation and we’ll soon find out who the buyer was, the timing of the announcement and the secrecy about the buyer is also likely to raise questions.