BlackBerry: Possible Sale To Secure Future

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Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has confirmed it will consider entering joint ventures, partnerships or even a full sale of the company.

The Canadian firm said its board has formed a special committee to explore "strategic alternatives" in hopes of boosting sales of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

BlackBerry has been hammered by increased competition from Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) and its Android-based rivals.

In January, BlackBerry unveiled new phones running a revamped operating system called BlackBerry 10 designed to better compete, but its market share continues to lag.

The company's shares rose 4.5% on the Nasdaq in early Monday trading.

BlackBerry also announced that board member Prem Watsa, the company's largest investor, resigned from the board "due to potential conflicts that may arise during the process".

Mr Watsa has said he is a "big supporter" of current CEO Thorsten Heins, and he would be an obvious bidder for BlackBerry.

He has said he believes BlackBerry can turn itself around, but that it might take three to five years.

The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, had been the dominant smartphone for business people and other consumers before the iPhone debuted in 2007.

The company faced numerous delays modernising its operating system with the BlackBerry 10.

During that time, it had to cut more than 5,000 jobs, and shareholder wealth declined by more than $70bn (£43bn).

BlackBerry said there is no guarantee of a transaction and declined to comment further.