The last round-up

According to my morning newspaper, BlackBerry is no longer the only smartphone secure enough for federal government employees. Samsung has now met all necessary standards. The article also said that it was easy to figure out who in Ottawa was a government bureaucrat. They’re the only ones in parks, stadiums or streets using a BlackBerry.

That somehow seems unlikely. First of all, I thought I was the last person in North America still using a BlackBerry. Second, I would wager that a lot of bureaucrats long ago bought iPhones or some other smartphone, even if it didn’t meet security standards. That’s how new technology often permeates companies and government departments, via the back door.

Meanwhile, former BlackBerry co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are faring just fine. Lazaridis, whose net worth is about $1 billion, is financing quantum startups with his high school chum and BlackBerry co-founder Doug Fregin. Balsillie, who’s worth about $750 million, has become a powerful voice for innovation. All are generous benefactors to many causes.

At the current iteration of BlackBerry, the strategy is to become a software company, but it’s taking a long while. Ironic, really, when one of the reasons BlackBerry failed is because it bought a software company to create a new operating system that took forever while the market moved elsewhere. Maybe Samsung could grab even more of the government business by using a marketing tool followed by the original, successful BlackBerry: give away the first few hundred of the product so entire companies became wholly dependent. If Samsung did that, we taxpayers would save a dime replacing all those BlackBerrys that are supposedly still being thumbed in the nation’s capital.

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