“IF YOU’RE A product guy, you obviously always want to…” Ralph Pini trails off. He’s BlackBerry’s product guy. Specifically, he’s the company’s COO and General Manager of Devices. And since BlackBerry no longer designs or makes its own devices, it’s a hard sentence to finish.
“Product guys are product guys,” he says.
Early Wednesday morning, BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced as part of a routine quarterly earnings report that the company was out of the smartphone game. “The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” said Chen in a prepared statement. And with that, the company responsible for some of the most iconic phones of the last 15 years bowed out.
This is what the future of BlackBerry looks like: Modified software powering a third-party host, trading on a name that, the hope is, still holds some juice. The reasons for BlackBerry’s hardware decline have been well-documented, and besides, it’s ultimately just one reason. It collided with a giant, iPhone-shaped iceberg. From here, BlackBerry’s going to focus primarily on its software business, which makes sense. Software has been profitable for the company, to the tune of $29 million just last quarter. Hardware lost $8 million in the same three-month period. It doesn’t exactly take an applied mathematics degree to understand the move.
BlackBerry phones aren’t disappearing altogether, though. At least not for a while. They’ll just be made by other hardware companies. In fact, they already are.
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