What's behind BlackBerry's move to stop making smartphones

Shocked, shocked, I tell you!

That is what I would say, if I were actually surprised with the news that BlackBerry will no longer be making its own smartphones. The news has been expected for a while now, as BlackBerry has held an increasingly smaller share of the smartphone market over the last several years. So what is ahead for the company?

In IT Blogwatch, we look to the future.

What exactly is going on? Zach Epstein has the background:

The death march of BlackBerry’s handset business was closely chronicled...it failed to pivot when Apple’s iPhone changed the smartphone market, and now those early missteps have finally led to today. As BlackBerry reported a fiscal second-quarter net loss of $372 million on Wednesday...the company confirmed that it will cease all internal smartphone development and stop making smartphones.

So what does that mean for BlackBerry? Alastair Sharp fills in the blanks:

BlackBerry...will outsource the development and design of its flagship smartphone...as it bets its future on software and services...Chief Executive Officer John Chen has shifted BlackBerry's focus to selling software that companies and governments use to manage their mobile devices.

What about these outsourced BlackBerry smartphones? Ina Fried has the details:

BlackBerry said...it will...rely on partners for any future hardware efforts...BlackBerry has been setting the stage for such a move for a while...It...already released one phone, the DTEK50, that was essentially a rebadged Alcatel phone and has started offering up pieces of its phone software for use on other Android devices.

Was this unexpected? Hardly. Daniel Bader is in the know:

BlackBerry's hardware business has been losing money for some time...this is just the last nail in the coffin...the company says that its transition to a software and services company, building Android-based security solutions for other OEMs, is proving successful...Chen is a pragmatist, and has been warning that he would get out of the hardware business should he see no future in it, and this move is the first step towards realizing that goal.

Finally, how do users feel about all this? What users? Kate M. Porter sums it up nicely:

#RIP Blackberry. I once was one of your biggest fans.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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