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Scrapping plans to sell itself off, Blackberry Ltd. announced this week that it has fired its CEO and plans to stay afloat by raising $1 billion from a collection of investors – which apparently includes Qatar Holding.

According to Reuters, which cites a source familiar with the matter, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has bought some $200 million of the offering, while BB’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holding, has invested $250 million.

Under the convertible debt offering, investors could opt to convert their loan (which would be paid back with interest) into a stake in BB.

Canada-based Blackberry, while popular among many Qatar residents, has been struggling financially in recent months due to eroding market share from services like WhatsApp.

However, the company did see a surge in interest last month after the (delayed) launch of the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on Android and Apple iOS phones, attracting 20 million users in the first week.

Despite the surge in interest, its stock continues to drop, as uncertainty over new leadership looms over the company.

Thoughts?

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BlackBerry announced today that it will be launching a version of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for Android phones this Saturday, and for Apple iOS on Sunday.

The instant messaging app has been tremendously popular in Qatar in years past, with breaking news – and rumors – often spreading faster on BBM than on Twitter and Facebook or more traditional media channels.

But Apple’s and Google’s platforms have been fast eroding that market share, with many here switching over to services like WhatsApp and Kik, among others.

The BBM app for Android and iOS will be free and available via their respective app stores, the company said. The new launch follows on a recent reboot of BlackBerry’s operating system to compete with Google and Apple. 

What do you think — will you BBM without a BlackBerry? Or is it too little, too late?

Credit: Image via BlackBerry

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Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry, are drumming up hype ahead of the launch of their “redesigned, re-engineered, re-invented” smartphone operating system.

As part of the global launch of the BlackBerry 10 OS on Jan. 30, the company is organizing events in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Johannesburg and Dubai to showcase the new products. And for each location, RIM is flying in bloggers and journalists from across the region.

BlackBerry has in years past had a strong following in Qatar, especially for corporate email and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). But recently, both Google’s Android operating system and the Apple iPhone have been making rapid gains. 

RIM hopes new features, including a completely reworked web browser, improved touchscreen keyboard and better camera will bring users back, although it is ostensibly playing catch-up with its competitors there.

When asked on Twitter, some of Qatar’s residents shared their views about the upcoming BlackBerry 10 launch with Doha News.



What are your thoughts?