BlackBerry Ending its Smartphone Production

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2016-09-28 Print this article Print
BlackBerry, smartphones, John Chen, iPhone, BlackBerry Classic, BlackBerry DTEK50, licensing, Alcatel

Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, said BlackBerry got stuck by focusing on a specific vision of smartphones and what they should be as the iPhone invasion began "and was never quite able to react effectively to the fact that smartphones became something very different from 2007 onwards."

Complicating that was that the company's "enterprise focus likely blinded them to what really needed to be done, and although it certainly wasn't clear 10 years ago that BlackBerry would end up here, it's been fairly clear for at least the last five years," said Dawson. "It would have taken an enormous sea change in BlackBerry's strategy post-2007 to have achieved a different outcome, but there were multiple steps along the way where even a slight course correction likely would have left it in better shape."

In the end, "the biggest impact the iPhone had on the smartphone business was that consumers and not IT departments started making purchasing decisions, [and] BlackBerry never responded adequately to that," he said.

In July, the company dropped the production of its Classic QWERTY keyboard-equipped smartphone just a few days after the U.S. Senate unveiled its plans to stop offering BlackBerry phones to members once its existing supplies of the company's handsets were distributed. The moves, though unrelated, offered more support for the widely held industry beliefs that BlackBerry would eventually drop smartphones altogether. The BlackBerry Classic had debuted in December 2014 with a 3.5-inch square touch-screen HD display, a 2-megapixel front- and an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 16GB of internal storage.

Earlier in September, BlackBerry announced price cuts of up to $250 on its Priv and Passport phones, according to an eWEEK story.

BlackBerry's fall from dominating the enterprise smartphone market has been swift and stunning. In early 2006, before the first iPhones appeared from Apple, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent.

BlackBerry also has been having a tough time financially for some time. In late June, BlackBerry reported a fiscal 2017 first-quarter net loss of $670 million, compared with a net loss of $238 million in the fourth quarter. The company's GAAP revenue was $400 million, while its non-GAAP revenue was $424 million for the first quarter.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel