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BlackBerry’s Transformation Journey and Our Smartphone Heritage

Read the latest chapter in BlackBerry's transformation journey; CES 2023: Writing BlackBerry's Next Chapter.

For many of us, today is the end of an era – and the beginning of a new one.

I vividly remember when I got my first BlackBerry® device. How it looked. How it felt in my hand. The feeling of connection it gave me, to my work, my family, my community. It seemed like more than just an object made of hard, black plastic. It was also a rite of passage. It was something I had earned, that spoke of not just my importance to the organization that had bestowed it upon me, but also to my status as a valued professional, whose knowledge and opinions were relied upon, even when I was not at my desk.

And I’m not alone in this. Millions of people had a very similar experience with those early, pioneering devices. As the mobile and cellular device market began to grow, BlackBerry continued to lead with devices designed to be the most advanced, the most user-friendly, and the most secure that money could buy. For many of us, those BlackBerry devices earned a permanent place in our hearts, and it’s been sad to see them go.

The fierce commitment of our customers to their BlackBerry devices still fills us with pride, though we stopped manufacturing them years ago. We have been holding off on decommissioning the BlackBerry service out of loyalty to our customers for a long time. 

So, it stirs mixed emotions today, as I write this blog telling you that era has finally come to a close. As of today, BlackBerry has decommissioned the infrastructure and services used by our legacy software and phone operating systems which are over 20 years old now.* You can find full details of this decommissioning of BlackBerry devices here.

The End is Just the Beginning...

I also said today marks the beginning of a new era. The independence, mobility, security, and privacy that so many of us came to associate with those ground-breaking BlackBerry devices remains alive and strong, as does the spirit of invention and innovation that got us here. 

BlackBerry ushered in the mobile workforce and messaging revolutions that changed the world. The grandeur of our mission to make the world a better place has not changed. Five years ago, we reinvented BlackBerry as a software company, allowing us to stay 100% focused on providing enabling technologies to ensure the safety and security of all the devices and systems you rely on. We invested and invented our way to leadership positions in cybersecurity, encrypted voice and digital communications, automotive safety, and innumerable connected and IoT (Internet of Things) systems and devices in fields such as medical, industrial, avionics and more – all with the common thread of intelligent security.

Today, we secure 96% of the threat landscape, preventing more than 165 million cyberattacks in 2021 alone. We securely connect more than 500 million mobile, desktop and IoT endpoint devices. Our safety-certified software is used in over 195 million vehicles – including those from 24 of the top 25 electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, and we continue to expand into new markets with new capabilities and innovation. This includes the 2,000 patents awarded to us in the last year.

Chances are, we are more a part of your life today than we ever were as a handset company, though you may not even realize it. That suits us just fine.

Letting go of the past is always bittersweet, even when a brighter future awaits. At BlackBerry, that brighter future is based on a commitment to solving the world’s most pressing problems with our industry-leading technologies in artificial intelligence and machine learning, safety-certified real-time operating systems, critical event management, secure communications and more. We’re expanding and applying that portfolio of capabilities every day, to help more customers create a safer, smarter, and infinitely more secure way to live and do business. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our loyal customers and partners, for supporting us throughout this journey. You are an important part of our story, and we are proud to have played a part in yours. I invite you to learn more about how BlackBerry innovation continues to set the bar for delivering intelligent security, everywhere.

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*BlackBerry devices powered by Android™ OS will not be impacted by the end of life (EOL) of infrastructure services unless they are receiving redirected email sent to a BlackBerry hosted email address, or assigned an Enhanced Sim Based License (ESBL) or Identity Based License (IBL). Please refer to the FAQs for details.
John Chen

About John Chen

John Chen is former Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry.