Is BlackBerry doomed to be broken apart and sold piece by piece? It’s looking more and more likely every day, but salvation for the Canadian company may come from an unexpected source: its co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin.
Lazardis submitted a filing this week to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirming that he and Fregin, who currently own eight percent of BlackBerry, are looking into the possibility of acquiring the company they launched back in 1984 as Research in Motion. The document reveals that the pair will consider all possible options, including acquiring a majority share. They’ve also hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to help advise them through the process.
Lazardis is by all accounts considered the man who invented the smartphone. He served as CEO of the company until January 2012, when Thorsten Heins took over, and left the board soon afterward in 2013 after expressing frustration with the company’s decision to release an all-touch smartphone. Fregin helped engineer and design the company’s first products, and served as vice president of operations until leaving in 2007.
A Lazardis-Fregin takeover would likely mean a return to BlackBerry’s roots: QWERTY devices with an emphasis on enterprise customers over the consumer market. However, it’s unclear if such a strategy could save the company from its downward spiral. The introduction of the iPhone, the rise of Android and the rapidly growing app market represent a drastically altered mobile landscape that has little space left for the company Lazardis and Fregin founded almost 30 years ago.