Last Wednesday, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) announced it had secured its largest ever order. The company said an unnamed partner had purchased a million BlackBerry 10 smart phones, with shipments to begin immediately.
Good news, right? Not so fast.
In an article posted the same day, TechCrunch writer Darrell Etherington lambasted the release, calling it “pretty hilarious”.
“So, to recap:”, said Etherington, “BlackBerry says ‘Here’s a wildly sizable order we got, with no real information provided (and no timeline for the delivery of the order, either), at a crucial time for our company when stock was slumping based on a dip after an earlier surge about acquisition rumors, ahead of quarterly results which will almost certainly be disappointing because they don’t yet represent and incorporate the launch of our new platform.”
Former analyst Chris Umiastowski, writing for CrackBerry.com, took issue with the TechCrunch article.
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“For TechCrunch to refer to the release as “pretty hilarious” is an enormous sign of ignorance”, he said in his March 14th article. He continued:
“First of all, when companies get record orders it is totally normal for them to pound their chest in the form of a press release. If the news is either good press or material to investors then it should be press released. Obviously this one million device order was both good press AND significant. Just look at how the stock shot up after the news hit the wire.”
Predictably, comments on the articles have fallen along party lines. On CrackBerry.com, user Rezia said:
“You know what I don’t understand? Why is it that when Home Depot switches to iphone, BB shares tanked. That was like 10,000 orders. And all the news was doom and gloom…”
User Superfly_FR said:
“BlackBerry is back” that’s exactly what it means. Not “BlackBerry will crunch appl and Google in months”. But the news seems to scare some … particularly those who printed “it’s not going to happen, BB10 is DOA”.
On Techcrunch, amid a smattering of BlackBerry fans was user Mike Krupit, who said:
“Suspect they might get mysteriously returned a few weeks after quarterly results are reported.”
Commenter Alex Kalogeropoulos also weighed in:
“Are they buying the phones from themselves? Only thing that makes sense.”
A week after announcing the order, there is still no confirmation of who might have placed it, but one candidate is Verizon.
In a press release issued shortly after the BlackBerry new, Verizon Wireless announced it will begin taking pre-order for black and white Z10′s the next day. In 2008, Verizon was the first to carry Research in Motion’s first touchscreen smartphone, the BlackBerry Storm. And in February, BlackBerry added former Verizon executive vice president Richard Lynch to its board.