BlackBerry Abandones Sale Plans

The state of BlackBerry (formerly known as Research In Motion but changed their name to their flagship product earlier this year) is a sorry one and a particularly sad one for me. A few years ago, before smartphones became the in thing to have, I remember watching an episode of Oprah in which she gave out the then model of BlackBerry to all her audience members. Since then I researched the company and the phones and have always been a loyal supporter of theirs. I unfortunately was able to buy a phone from them only in 2010 (Jan 1st to be exact) and have since changed the Curve 8320 to my current phone, the Bold 9780 last year. BlackBerry has been left behind in the lurch by Apple iPhones and the various Android phones from say Samsung & LG and has struggled really badly for the past couple of years.

BlackBerry went through lots of changes internally. Thorston Heins, a former Siemens executive in Germany, became chief executive in January 2012 after James L Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the longtime co-chairmen and co-chief executives, resigned in the face of a rapid decline in BlackBerry’s business and the failure of its PlayBook tablet computer. In January of this year a lot of us BlackBerry faithfuls eagerly awaited the launch of the BlackBerry OS 10 and the two new phones the Z10 and Q10 that looked amazing. Heavily promoted the new line of BlackBerry 10 handsets as the company’s salvation they proved, however, to be a commercial failure (with some exceptions in certain areas) and there has been solid talks of an outright sale or a takeover big by another mobile company.

Now the latest news is that Heins will leave after the collapse of a tentative takeover offer from BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, the company said on Monday. Instead of purchasing BlackBerry and taking it private, the largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, and an unnamed group of institutional investors will invest $1 billion through debentures that can be converted into common shares at a price of $10 a share. John S. Chen, the former chief executive of Sybase, will become BlackBerry’s executive chairman and acting chief executive. It remains to be seen as to what will happen to the brand. Almost everyone has written them off and many long time users have move on to get either an iPhone or Android device. I’m sticking with my Bold for the time being, cannot afford anything new at the moment and will wait for a few months to see what is going to happen. I like using the BlackBerry and would want to continue using them for years to come.

Swetha Menon Molestation Case

This molestation incident with Swetha Menon is just another reminder of the fact that at such functions where a celebrity or any of the people are attending, there is hardly any security or respect for personal space, way too many hangers on, too many people pushing about and clinging around the celebs that such incidents are bound to happen and there are assholes who take advantage of these situation as well. The changes are there to be made.

For those who do not know, on Friday Swetha Menon (actress /former model & Ms India contestant / tv anchor) stated that while at a public function in the city of Kollam (Kerala) she was molested by Congress Party member & Kollam’s Member of Parliament N Peethambara Kurup. All weekend we’ve been tuned in to the events that unfolded since then. She complained to the Kollam district collector B Mohanan but says she felt betrayed by him for “ignoring” her grievance when he was informed about it shortly after the incident. It was on the invitation of the Collector that she had attended the function. Mohanan has claimed that he had not received any complaint from her. said she was also harassed by another person during the President’s Trophy boat race in Kochi, who has also been charged. Although Swetha didn’t name the person in question when asked by the press, media footage showed Congress MP N Peethambara Kurup from the area touching her but the lawmaker on Saturday strongly denied having committed such an act.

She, along with her husband Sreevalsan Menon, had told reporters on Saturday night after meeting office bearers of various film industry bodies that she would forward a detailed complaint to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, whom she is likely to meet on Tuesday. Acting on a complaint lodged by Communist Party of India – Marxist’s youth outfit Democratic Youth Federation of India, the police team led by a woman circle inspector went to Kochi Sunday morning to record her statement. The 39-year-old actress told police at her apartment in Kochi that she was insulted by Kurup and another person during the function. Shweta, a two-time state award winner and also a TV anchor, broke down while the statement was being recorded. Earlier in the day, Kurup reiterated that the charge against him was totally untrue and he produced some photographs of the event, claiming that the actress was harassed at the scene by some others. “I am past 70. I have passed the age of getting excited by the presence of women at public functions,” he said.

Finally Kurup was booked by the police, charged under IPC sections 354 and 354 (A) for assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty. However later on Suday Swetha withdrew all legal proceedings against Congress MP N Peethambara Kurup later in the day. “In the wake of Peetambhara Kurup’s repeated public and personal apology about the incident at the President’s Boat Race at Kollam, I am withdrawing all legal and other actions against him,” Shwetha said in a statement released to select media organizations and to the film fraternity at around 8pm on Sunday. Although Kurup could be arrested anytime, the case against him will fall flat if she gives a written statement saying that she is withdrawing the complaint. Shwetha, who said she had taken her decision not to press with the legal proceedings after consulting her guru, father and husband, also claimed, that there was no outside pressure on her do so. Kollam police said they were not aware of her decision to withdraw the complaint. “Till the victim gives a revised statement to the investigating officer, the case will stand,” an officer with Kollam East Police said.

How will this messy situation end?