BlackBerry Inc. (NASDAQ:BBRY), the smartphone developer of the new Z10 and Q10, has already benefited from changing its name from Research in Motion and stock symbol. Shares of the company soared more than 15 percent on Monday to $14.99, up $1.97.
The share increase effectively boosted the Waterloo, Ontario, company’s market valuation to $7.86 billion from $6.83 billion on Friday, a gain exceeding $1 billion but still miles below that of its rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the most valuable technology company, valued at $415 billion. Apple shares fell $11.41 to $442.21..
Last week, BlackBerry formally introduced the new smartphones in its BlackBerry 10 line and started selling them in the UK. They go on sale this week in Canada and sometime next month in the U.S.
CEO Thorstein Heins, 54, introduced the long-awaited models in New York last week in hopes BlackBerry’s 80 million subscribers will buy them and customers who’d opted for iOS or Android-based units from rivals would switch.
Analysts hailed the name change as long overdue. Brand expert Clive Chajet, who devised scores new names for companies for decades, hailed the change as "exactly the right thing for them to do to increase brand awareness." With 79 million subscribers, BlackBerry should have changed its name yeats ago, he said.
During Sunday’s Super Bowl, BlackBerry also spent $4 million for a 30-second commercial highlighting the new smartphones to the huge audience, depicting a young man using the Z10 apparently bursting into flames, stopping an out-of-control tanker truck and other feats with the tag line, “it’s easier to show you what the Z10 can’t do.”
The commercial was prepared by London-based Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, a unit of Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC), the third-largest global advertising agency. Omnicom shares fell $1 cents to $53.53.
BlackBerry also got a boost from analyst Pierre Ferragu of Bernstein Research who upped his price target to $22 from $12, as he upgraded his rating on the company to "outperform" from "market perform" based on the good response to the Z10. The analyst said he was confident the new units would help Blackberry increase profit and regain market share.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...