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Blackberry is saved. No, it's dead. No, it's ...

A member of the RIM team poses with one of the new touchscreen Z10 Blackberry devices.

The way things have been going for BlackBerry, it’s almost a surprise that the company’s still around. There was a plan to sell BlackBerry and take it private. Today we found out that the deal is off. Instead, BlackBerry is getting an investment of a Billion dollars and a new CEO.

But is that really enough to keep the company in business?

Uncertainty about the company’s future has scared away customers. For about seven years, Joanna Cazden was a loyal BlackBerry user. A few months ago, that changed.

“My last BlackBerry sort of died. It wasn’t holding its charge. It was clearly time to let go of it. And rather than get another one knowing that the company was in trouble, I got an Android,” says Cazden.

She didn’t want to invest in a company that could go bust.

Other consumers prefer all the apps available on other smart phones. But despite all the bells and whistles that came with her new phone, Cazden didn’t want to give up her old BlackBerry.

“I resisted because I like the touch-feel of the keyboard on BlackBerry. And I still miss that,” says Cazden.

BlackBerry has tried to go head-to-head with the touch-screen phones. But it’s BlackBerry’s physical keyboard that keeps consumers hooked.

It also has an advantage in terms of its power supply.

“A lot of phones struggle to make it through the day. BlackBerries have no trouble doing that. So that’s another key focus for business users,” says Jim Moorman, an equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ.

Another thing business users care about -- security. Moorman says BlackBerry beats the competition when it comes to protecting against viruses.

If BlackBerry builds on its strengths, he says it could maintain a solid base of customers.

“They have a chance to be a niche provider, but they have a lot of work to do,” says Moorman.

Investors aren’t waiting to see if the company turns itself around. They’ve been selling off the stock in a hurry. Today, shares of BlackBerry fell more than 16 percent.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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