Separated by more than two millennium, both Greece and Blackberry had been cradles of innovation. Democratic principles of government and the Olympics sprouted from Ancient Greece. In modern times, the Blackberry device brought email into the mobile age.
In the week ahead, both wrestle with changes foisted upon them by market forces.
The stakes for Greece go far beyond its borders. The country has been bailed out for five years, and now that bill is coming due. A $1.8 billion loan payment is due June 30 and the International Monetary Fund said there is no grace period. No payment and Greece risks bankruptcy and leaving the Euro currency union. Eurozone leaders are due to hold an emergency summit on Monday hoping to avoid a Greek loan default a week later.
The Greek tragedy of an overspending government and underperforming economy has put it in a perpetual period of economic and political crisis. The country has been slow to pivot to a more flexible market. Greece’s status in history is secure, but its economic future isn’t.
There are no global macroeconomic risks for Blackberry on Tuesday when it holds a special investors meeting. The company and its investors have suffered through a string of underwhelming mobile devices and are seeing its once-dominant corporate mobile email service continue to erode.
Blackberry’s fall began with the first iPhone in 2007. After losing millions of customers and dollars, its pivot to software helped it avoid bankruptcy. While Blackberry remains a favorite for big corporations thanks to its focus on IT security, a further push away from its history as a device maker could help secure its future as a software service provider.
The stakes for the two enterprises and their stakeholders are not to be conflated. But they should serve as reminders to investors of the risk of complacency.
Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts The Sunshine Economy on WLRN-FM in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.