BlackBerry announced Wednesday that we will not be developing handset hardware in-house anymore. Make no mistake, though – there will still be new BlackBerry-branded phones, as we continue to create and license secure smartphone software for third parties to make and sell them (BB Merah Putih in Indonesia is our first licensee).
“We will have BlackBerry devices on an ongoing basis,” CEO John Chen told BNN’s Amber Kanwar. “I always wanted to find a way to keep our iconic devices. I just needed a way to be efficient and to be able to make money. I think we’ve found the model.”
Still, with making hardware now off our plate, we’ve now the time and resources to focus on initiatives such as our market-leading security software and the enterprise of things. Today’s BlackBerry is no longer solely dedicated to smartphones, but also the ”smart” in cars, shipping containers, medical devices, consumer appliances, industrial machinery, and ultimately, the enterprise world as a whole. Software is the new BlackBerry.
As Chen told Bloomberg Television: “The smart in applications, AI, personalization, decision-making, it’s really about that. We’re doubling down on those. It’s really the start of a new chapter, rather than the end of an era.”
Although the news is bittersweet for longtime phone fans, there has been plenty of positive reaction in the media, among social followers and blog readers, who understand the progress we’ve made in our pivot.
TechCrunch: The BlackBerry of the future will be one-part software company, one part idea, a stamp of approval for other companies to wear as a sign of their dedication to notions of smartphone security and productivity.”
Reuters: “‘This is an entirely sensible decision,’ IDC technology analyst John Jackson said. ’Software revenue and the margin profile associated with that is where the focus should have been, and now can be.’”
VentureBeat: “To be clear here, BlackBerry hasn’t announced the end of the BlackBerry brand in the mobile phone market — it is merely ceasing to make the devices in-house. But nonetheless, this marks a landmark moment, not just in the company’s history, but across the entire mobile phone industry.”
CNN Money: “So Chen deserves credit for stabilizing BlackBerry and refocusing it on higher growth areas.”
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong): “Thank goodness BlackBerry isn’t doing away with the keyboard.”
InformationWeek: “The fact that BlackBerry is likely to remain significant and successful by addressing the needs of enterprises suggests that Apple, Samsung, and their peers need to step up their game if they truly desire their products to be considered enterprise class.” – Charles King, analyst.
Analyst Mark Gurman on Bloomberg Television: “It’s actually very possible if they really focus in on that and take the sort of new Microsoft approach, put all their software everywhere. Right now they are compatible with an Android version, a BlackBerry secure version. Imagine if they put all their enterprise apps, their email apps, and really refreshed them for the iPhone and for Android not running the BlackBerry fork version of it and the web and all those other platforms, really restructured the whole company on that…if they really focus on that, they could become a big software player.”
The Next Web: “Ditching the capital-intensive handset division will also allow BlackBerry to focus on its burgeoning software services division, which looks set to become the company’s main priority now.”
Matthew Kanterman, analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence: “This is doubling down on the efforts to focus on software, which is really what their strength is.”
CRN: “’I think it’s a smart move, because now they can focus on what they do best, and that’s security,’” said Rick Jordan, director of sales and strategic alliances at Toronto-based Tenet Computer Group, a longtime BlackBerry partner.”
Kompas.com (Indonesia): “According to Tiphone, BlackBerry is known to be one of the most trusted and respected brands in Indonesia. That is one of the reasons why the company had decided to join for the joint venture of PT BB Merah Putih.”
Yahoo 7 (Australia): “By moving out of hardware, BlackBerry can focus on its various business services such as messaging, cybersecurity, and tracking connected devices.”
Blog Readers and Social Followers Get It and Applaud, too
“Given that BlackBerry has gone multi platform, this is a good move that will ensure long term viability of BlackBerry…”
“Definitely good news!! Us Blackberry devotees for lifetime will continue to buy and enjoy our beloved devices and the brilliant software!!” (Comments on BlackBerry blog)
“As a financial advisor I could not imagine my clients’ security being at risk, and that is why Blackberry is the only choice.” (LinkedIn)
“Smart move by the company, now focusing on securities and applications where they can redevelop their competitive advantage, compared to Apple and Samsung.” (Facebook)
“BlackBerry is the leader in the software and security industry, they are heavily involved with the US and CAN government. They will always be around.” (Facebook)