It looks as if BlackBerry's troubles aren't quite over yet. It seems they've contacted both the 'Securities Exchange Commission' and the 'Ontario Securities Commission' asking for a review of the analysts Detwiler Fenton. These analysts reported the new Z10 smartphones were experiencing a record number of returns to retailers. BlackBerry is furious, saying this information is "false and misleading."
According to BlackBerry's president and CEO Thorsten Heins, the data BlackBerry has collected from carrier and retail partners on the Z10 devices shows, in fact, that customers are pleased with their devices. The actual return rates are normal within the industry, and BlackBerry is offended that the analysts would make such an unfounded statement against the company.
BlackBerry Being Bullied?
This reaction might be a bit overblown, but you'd probably react this way if you were BlackBerry. The launch of the Z10 is so very important to the future of the company, and this inaccurate information could be quite detrimental to its success.
But is it truly overblown? In the report, it states Z10 handsets were being brought back to retailers because the interface was not as intuitive as expected. This led to the publication of numerous articles criticizing BlackBerry, such as one from the Motley Fool entitled, "It Gets Worse, BlackBerry Investors." The bad press led to their share price dropping 8%.
This bad press is harmful, and Detwiler isn't the only bully. It seems ITG Investment Research falsely reported slow sales of the Z10 device. BlackBerry's statement starts out with "Sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are meeting expectations." However, ITG itself isn't called out specifically by BlackBerry in their statement.
A Lot On The Line
It isn't just shareholders that are paying attention to these articles, it's also consumers. Not to mention, their core base is made up of enterprises. Bad press in the business world could spell disaster for the company.
It seems strangely ironic the prices of the devices are dropping sharply. For example, the price for the Z10 dipped to $99 on Amazon on April 11. Is Detwiler Fenton correct, and BlackBerry reacting so harshly because they know it's true? Probably not.
Carry On, BlackBerry
True or not, Detwiler Fenton isn't known for their pleasant observations regarding BlackBerry. They were the first to report Brightstar, an electronics distributor, bought a million BB10 devices in advance for Verizon, in efforts to lower the risk involved in selling a product they didn't believe would do well.
Both Verizon and BlackBerry deny the accuracy of this claim. In fact, Verizon also stood behind BlackBerry to deny the claims laid out in today's statement regarding the SEC.
In good news, BlackBerry expects Telefonica to be granted a $256 million loan from the Canadian's export credit agency to order BB10 devices and services. This is a big deal for BlackBerry as it means the emerging markets in Latin America will have exposure to its devices, where Telefonica has most of its 316 million subscribers. Hang in there, BlackBerry, you've still got lots of fans that want to see you succeed!