BlackBerry starts looking for buyer or partner as new OS struggles

A committee will explore strategic alternatives for the future of the company

Blackberry's board of directors has formed a committee to explore strategic alternatives for the future of the company that could include joint ventures or a sale of the company, as it struggles to turn its new BlackBerry 10 operating system into a success.

The news comes after the company announced that it had shipped 6.8 million smartphones and recorded a US$84 million loss during the three months to June 1. Only 2.7 million phones running the new OS were sold, a figure that disappointed analysts.

The soft sales led analysts to question the future of BlackBerry 10 and the company during a conference call on the results. At the time, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins offered various themes on the same reply as a defense: "BlackBerry 10 is still in the early stages on its transition. In fact, we are only five months in to what is the launch of an entirely new mobile computing platform," he said.

The so-called Special Committee of the Board is comprised of Heins, Barbara Stymiest, Richard Lynch and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels. All the committee members are board members. The company provided no time schedule for when the committee's work would produce a result.

"We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition," said Heins in a statement Monday. "As the Special Committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network."

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