BlackBerry confirmed the news we all suspected was coming today: it’s not making its own phones anymore. The news came amid a reported net loss of $372 million for the last quarter.
The company’s been struggling with making any significant inroads in the handset space for years as competitors ate away at its market share, and CEO John Chen has said more than once that he’d close the handset business if it couldn’t turn a profit.
“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,” Chen said in a statement quoted by Recode.
The plan for the future is to focus on software and services, but even in this capacity it’s a questionable road ahead – BlackBerry phones failed because BlackBerry 10 failed. This resulted in it switching to using Android for its more recent handsets.
When the company itself recognises that there’s no appetite for its own OS on handsets, and then shuts down its handset division, it’s always going to leave question marks.
It could, of course, license its OS so that BlackBerry handsets could continue, but they won’t be made by BlackBerry any more.