CNET‘s Roger Cheng reports that BlackBerry founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis may try to retake the helm at his old company. Citing this SEC filing, Cheng writes that Lazaridis has increased upped his stake in the company to 8 percent and has “engaged” two banking partners as he considers a possible acquisition.
Lazaridis may emerge as BlackBerry’s best hope at remaining intact as a provider of smartphones and enterprise-targeted mobile services. The International Business Times is reporting today that a group of seven designers responsible for BlackBerry 10’s user interface have left to set up their own shop (the group had been part of The Astonishing Tribe, a Sweden-based UI company that BlackBerry acquired in 2010), and Bloomberg reports that BlackBerry is becoming increasingly open to the idea of a breakup as doubts percolate regarding the Fairfax consortium’s ability to unearth funding for its proposed acquisition.
Whether Lazaridis could actually make a compelling offer for BlackBerry is far from certain, of course. And whether he could reverse BlackBerry’s slide is just as uncertain. Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie were in charge as BlackBerry’s empire crumbled thanks to the emergence of the iPhone and Android, and they never seemed to understand the importance of bringing a top-notch new OS to market as quickly as possible. Lazaridis might have a chance to bring the company back from the brink, I suppose, but I think that would only be possible if he handed the reins to someone who understands that there is now a tremendous amount of overlap between the enterprise market and the consumer market in the mobile world.