I predict that within one year that Blackboard will not be called Blackboard any longer. My money on this re-branding will be something that invokes another company that made the transition from products to services, IBM. Maybe something like EAS (Educational Academic Services), or BES (Blackboard Educational Services) - something like that.
3 reasons why Blackboard will re-brand:
Service Not Product Orientation: Blackboard is the name of a product, a learning management system (LMS). Nobody that I know that uses Blackboard calls it "Learn" or something else - always just Blackboard. Re-branding will allow the company to highlight its full range of services, including support of multiple LMS systems, synchronous meeting tools, mobile platforms, analytics, notification tools, and the emerging student life cycle management business. The product "Blackboard" is only a part of this service offering.
Multiple Platforms: The company will offer many other LMS platforms beyond the Blackboard platform, Moodle and Sakai will be the largest alternative offering. The name of the company should be platform agnostic, and should not send the message that one platform is favored above another.
Opportunity for a Brand Reset: The Blackboard brand carries some baggage. Since Ray Henderson's emergence into firm leadership in the strategic, technical and customer facing roles at Blackboard in 2009, I have thought that brand image of Blackboard has not adequately reflected the reality of the company. Ray and his team have a much better reputation in our industry than what is reflected in the existing Blackboard brand. It may not be possible to change this brand image, and the purchase of Moodlerooms and NetSpot offers the perfect opportunity to re-brand the entire company. There does remain brand equity in the Blackboard product name, as this name is the most recognized name for LMS platforms. That brand equity can be preserved by retaining Blackboard as the name of one of the LMS's that the company offers.
Nominations for a new name?