BlackBerry to Stop Making Phones


BlackBerry on Wednesday said it will stop making smartphones, and will instead leave hardware-related efforts to its partners.

"The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital," CEO John Chen said as part of the company's second quarter earnings announcement.

"Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia," he continued. "Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications."

But it wasn't enough to return BlackBerry to its heyday. Once a mobile phone giant, BlackBerry has struggled to keep up after the explosion of Android and iOS. Adding insult to injury was the delayed rollout of BlackBerry 10 and disastrous launch of its PlayBook tablet.

The ailing firm tried going back to basics with the new BlackBerry Classic (pictured) and square BlackBerry Passport in 2014, but eventually acknowledged that most people don't want BlackBerry-based devices. Last year, the company embraced Android with the BlackBerry Priv in hopes that the popular mobile OS would attract customers, but it was no match for the likes of Samsung or Apple.

The move is not a complete surprise. Chen last year said the company might exit the smartphone handset business altogether if the Priv wasn't a hit. He repeated that claim in April to CNN, saying that "If by September, I couldn't find a way to get there [to profitability], then I need to seriously consider being a software company only."

By July, the company said it would stop making the BlackBerry Classic, and now an end to BlackBerry hardware is official.

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