Tag: Cheri

BlackBerry shares fall below 10 for first time since November amid renewed

TORONTO — BlackBerry shares closed below $10 for the first time since last year on Wednesday, a day after the smartphone maker’s chief executive encouraged investors to remain patient while the company navigates its recovery plan.[np_storybar title=”BlackBerry hunts for fresh partnerships to boost market share as devotees dwindle” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/07/10/blackberry-stock-partnerships/?__lsa=ea71-23f3″%5D [/np_storybar]The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s stock ended the session down nearly four per cent, or 40 cents, to $9.80 at the Toronto Stock Exchange.The stock last closed below $10 on Nov. 20 and reached a 52-week high of $17.80 in January, around the time that its new smartphones were unveiled.BlackBerry has faced a heightened level of scrutiny since it posted quarterly results last month that fell short of analysts’ largely optimistic expectations.A growing sentiment between analysts has focused on whether BlackBerry will be able to successfully recover from its past blunders any time soon, particularly because even some of the industry’s most popular smartphone developers are running into headwinds. Both Samsung and HTC recently posted quarterly sales reports that fell short of expectations.While Heins has hinted at products that could hit stores before the end of this year, the company hasn’t announced anything specific. It’s widely expected that the company will unveil a phablet — a smaller-sized tablet device — designed to fill the void left by its decision to no longer update the PlayBook.“They are wanting to launch products at a measured pace, but time is of the essence and we believe the company would be better served with shorter product cycles,” said Bill Kreher, a technology analyst with financial services firm Edward Jones in an interview.“In the smartphone category today you need to be front-of-mind with consumers, which requires consistent rollouts to keep you relevant.”Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette said the high-end smartphone market is facing a point of “general saturation” that could weigh on BlackBerry’s attempt to gain a stronger position.The launch of the lower-priced BlackBerry Q5 smartphone in the UK has fallen short of expectations with sales of roughly 5,000 devices, according to Faucette’s checks with retailers.The numbers are not official and BlackBerry does not release specific sales figures for its devices.Faucette also said U.K. retailer Phones 4U has sent back their stock of Blackberry Z10 phones from “as many as a third” of its locations and doesn’t plan to stock it any longer.“We believe BlackBerry is at risk of similar behaviour from other retailers and in other regions in the coming quarters, which we believe would impede the company’s ability to regain scale,” he said in a note, with an underperform rating on the company.“Checks indicate continued deterioration of BlackBerry’s business. We see downside to $6 per share and remain sellers.”Emails to UK.. representatives of Phones 4U were not answered on Wednesday and a BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.On Tuesday, Heins outlined BlackBerry’s strategy to become profitable once again at the company’s annual meeting.The three-stage plan included pushing ahead with new products yet to be unveiled, focusing more on corporate customers, and opening the BlackBerry Messenger service to competing devices like Apple’s iPhone and smartphones on the Android operating system later this summer.From there, Heins said the company aims to return to profitability, which he called the third stage of the plan, but he stopped short of predicting when that would happen.Sales of BlackBerry’s new smartphones in the United States have been considered underwhelming by analysts, and shareholders expressed their concerns on Tuesday about the company’s position in the highly-competitive U.S. market at the annual meeting.Heins said he is aware that investors expect “better results and faster progress from us.”Last month, BlackBerry parted ways with Richard Piasentin, who was responsible for the management of its sales in the United States. The company is also working to save further costs throughout its operations.The Canadian Press read more

Go big Inside the 24million federal plan to market Canadian oil

WASHINGTON — The multimillion-dollar campaign to market Canadian oil in the U.S. was hard to miss.The Maple Leaf was plastered on the walls of subway stops in Washington, D.C., and it popped up in all sorts of American publications with messages like, “America’s Best Energy Partner,” and “Friends and Neighbors.”Documents obtained by The Canadian Press offer a peek at the behind-the-scenes strategic considerations in 2013, as the federal government conducted a $1.6-million U.S. ad campaign that grew into a $24-million, two-year program that wraps up this month.The records, released under the Access to Information Act, reveal the websites to be shunned as advertising outlets; the Internet search words that would trigger a Canadian energy ad; the coveted locations for billboards in Washington, D.C.; the rejected proposals; and the U.S. ad salespeople who angled for a slice of the publicity pie.Throughout the two-year campaign, the Keystone pipeline issue remained unresolved. But that doesn’t mean it failed, defenders say. In fact, the ads didn’t mention Keystone. The original call for tenders spelled out the mission: to defend Canadian energy’s reputation against hostile groups and lawmakers threatening anti-oilsands measures in the U.S. and Europe.One proposed weapon for fighting back: pop-up ads.Someone whose name was blacked out proposed using so-called takeover or roadblock ads that would monopolize people’s computer screens: “If we’re going to do this right, we might as well go big.”But a marketing manager at Natural Resources Canada suggested a more delicate balance. “We’ve attempted to maximize our non-standard presence — without being offensive,” he replied.The subway posters were designed to grab the right people’s attention, but there was some initial disappointment on that score. Space was snapped up at two downtown D.C. metro stations, but the most coveted spots close to Capitol Hill were unavailable. There were many conversations about websites.LinkedIn was used, then dropped because of a disappointing click-count. Buzzfeed was interesting but the marketing manager at Natural Resources didn’t want federal ads appearing underneath glib headlines with acronyms like LOL, OMG and WTF: “I’m a bit weary of their content,” he wrote.He warned against using Facebook: “I think it’s dangerous.” Aggressively partisan news sites were dropped, with Drudge Report and MSNBC turfed in favour of the more centrist National Journal.Google was embraced. The campaign identified more than 250 terms that, when plugged into the ubiquitous search engine, would elicit a Canadian energy ad. The search terms included “Keystone,” “Canadian oil,” “Alberta oil,” “tarsands,” “greenhouse gas emissions” — and less-obvious ones about Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan environmental policy.One famous term was apparently rejected. “I do not suspect Google will approve Obama as a (keyword),” said an ad-buyer from M5, one of the agencies working on the project. “Just giving you a heads up.”For print ads, there were clear conditions. Spots were not to appear next to any anti-Keystone editorials or ads. Space was purchased in the Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes editions on three continents and in publications in Beijing, Shanghai, London and Brussels.U.S. ad-sellers took notice. They began calling with various pitches, and the correspondence shows that Canadian officials discussed ways to politely turn them down.One unsuccessful pitch involved an ambitious project with an eight-page advertising spread in the New Yorker and a Washington event featuring policy-makers. When warned of the catch, the steep price tag, a Canadian diplomat responded: “That’s quite an expensive catch.”Another idea considered, and rejected, was to turn Washington city buses into wraparound ads.There were funds for advocacy — available to cover travel and hotel costs for people who might have some influence in a public discussion about Canadian resources. There was opposition research. The embassy kept tabs on the work of environmentalists such as billionaire Tom Steyer and on the number of YouTube clicks for an anti-Keystone video featuring Robert Redford.An internal memo to Washington embassy staff told them to stick to talking points if they were asked about the ads during a diplomatic reception.Among the official lines: natural resources support 1.8 million Canadian jobs, they account for almost one-fifth of the country’s economic activity, and the ads were a timely and appropriate endorsement of the sector.So was the campaign successful?A separate budget was used for gauging the public response — $58,335 for an initial focus group and $49,393 later for a poll.The poll showed most D.C. respondents had seen the ads. They didn’t quite agree, however, on what they’d seen. The most popular takeaway message, at 17 percent, was that Canada and the U.S. were friends and energy partners. Building Keystone XL got 11 percent.One federal official says the ads were never designed to sway people about Keystone. They were there to spread a broader message people could remember and repeat, about an energy partnership with Canada.“The ads were there to help create the political space for a (Keystone) approval.” read more