BlackBerry CEO Says iPhone Is 'Passe'

Morning Business Memo…

It's customers may be jaded about today's release of its latest smartphone, but the CEO of BlackBerry sounds very confident about his company's ability to compete. In pre-launch interviews Thorsten Heins calls Apple's iPhone 5 "passé" and outdated. His Z10 is being launched today in New York. Heins told The Washington Post "we will fight for each and every individual." The BlackBerry CEO told The Associated Press that a new keyboard version won't be released in the U.S. until two or three months from now. Both models are part of the company's attempt at a comeback after multiple stumbles. Illustrating the size of the challenge, a tweet from The Wall Street Journal says "RIM's hold on the U.S. smartphone market has fallen from close to 50 percent in early 2009 to 5.9 percent this year." Nevertheless, Heins says a lack of innovation at Apple has left iPhone's user interface outdated. He says users have to go in and out of applications and it doesn't allow for multitasking like the new BlackBerry Z10 does.

A shock from Silicon Valley helped push the stock market down. One of America's dominant technology firms, Oracle, announced weak sales results in its later quarter - a decline in new software licenses and subscriptions. Its stock plunged nearly 10 percent yesterday. The poor numbers weighed on other technology companies. Oracle is the number one firm for business data, but it's has been hit by a shift to cloud-based technology. Revenues from Oracle's hardware systems support dropped 6 percent during the quarter from the year before.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is set to announce today that he will step down, according to the Wall Street Journal. Genachowski has pushed for more access to high-speed Internet in rural America, and contributed to AT&T's decision to abandon its acquisition of T-Mobile in 2011.

Michael Dell is about to find out if other bidders think his company is worth more than he does. The answer could come today. It marks the end of a 45-day period that Dell's board of directors settled on to allow for offers that might top an agreement to sell the PC maker to CEO Michael Dell and a group of investors for $24.4 billion. Blackstone Group is emerging as a likely candidate to trump the current bid of $13.65 per share.

The crisis in Cyprus could get worse. Time is running very short for the government to avoid bankruptcy and potential collapse of big banks. Cyprus must raise about $7.5 billion in the next four days to avoid bankruptcy. That's a very tall order for a very small economy. Several plans have already failed, including a proposal to tax bank depositors. Unless a deal is reached on an international bailout the European Central Bank says it will cut off emergency support. If Cyprus cannot secure a bailout, its banks will fail and it could be forced to leave the euro currency.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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