BlackBerry hits back at Z10 quality questions

BlackBerry hits back at Z10 quality questions

17 APR 2013
Thorsten Heins

BlackBerry said it would seek Securities Exchange Commission and Ontario Securities Commission reviews of “false and misleading” reports about return rates for its Z10 smartphone.

Late last week, financial research firm Detwiler Fenton said that based on its research, in some cases “returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before”.

Thorsten Heins, CEO of the recovering smartphone maker, said in a statement: “Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry. To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation.”

BlackBerry also brought in an additional supporter, in the shape of Verizon Wireless, the largest operator in the US, to back-up its position.

Reuters reports that finance firm Jefferies & Co  had also said that “US checks indicate that return rates are not abnormally high”.

Detwiler Fenton has “refused to make either its report to investors or its methodology available to BlackBerry, even after the Company said the firm’s findings were ‘absolutely false’,” BlackBerry said.

BlackBerry’s (understandable) defensiveness comes at a critical time, as it rolls out the first products powered by its new BlackBerry 10 platform.

The US has traditionally been an important market for the company, although it has diminished in recent years, as its position as a premium smartphone vendor was challenged, and instead its lower-cost devices found homes in emerging markets.

In the quarter to 1 September 2012, North America generated 30.3 per cent of the company’s revenue, which had fallen to 21.9 per cent in the most recent period (to 2 March 2013).

Contrastingly, EMEA increased to contribute 45.8 per cent from 38 per cent, and Asia Pacific increased to 14.4 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

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