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Who’s buying a million BlackBerry 10‘s? A theory emerges

by David Needle

March 15 2013

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins with singer Alicia Keys at the BlackBerry Z10 launch event in January. Keys was named the company's new Global Creative Director.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins with singer Alicia Keys at the BlackBerry Z10 launch event in January. Keys was named the company's new Global Creative Director.

BlackBerry had some rare good news this week when it announced it had received its largest single purchase order in company history for one million devices.

But the struggling device maker has been mum on just who the customer is.

There has been some speculation the deal might be with a carrier, but AllThingsD knocked that idea down as unlikely given the low odds any of the conservative carriers would make such a commitment to what is essentially an unproven product, the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.

Maybe not, but without knowing the terms of the deal, it’s hard to say. It doesn’t seem impossible that a big carrier like AT&T or Verizon, given enough of a discount and promotional considerations, would consider such a deal.

But Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair told the site it agrees its unlikely BlackBerry got a carrier for its mega-deal: “We don’t believe any carriers would take that much risk out of the gate without some indications of demand,” he said.

Blair thinks a big distributor is the more likely customer.

“It would be easier for a distributor, particularly a global one, to commit to a million units over an extended period and across numerous devices,” he said.

The article points to Brightpoint, one of the biggest, worldwide device distributors of wireless devices, as a good guess.

It’s also worth noting BlackBerry specified the deal was for “devices” not specifically the new BBZ10, so the million units could be a mix of BlackBerry 10 smartphones. 

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