Blackboard Is Losing Customers, but What Does It Mean?

Michael Feldstein, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Nov 07, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Blackboard's stock, despite the lawsuit and the bad publicity, has continued to climb historically, probably spurred on by recommendations from industry analysts. Probably they like not only Blackboard's hold on the market - "the high cost of switching to a new system is likely to encourage customers to stay with Blackboard" - but also the company's continuing emphasis on commercial transaction systems, such as today's announcement of support for contactless card technology. Nonetheless, Michael Feldstein notes, the company is continuing to lose customers, the result of major universities moving to Moodle, as Louisiana State did. What's going on? "The big loss appears to be unambiguously in Blackboard Basic licenses... there is no evidence at this time that Blackboard is losing its most lucrative Blackboard Enterprise or Vista customers. And to a certain extent, the loss of the lower-end customers could actually be beneficial to Blackboard's financials."
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