Those with good memories, or a particular interest in this sort of thing, will recall that about this time last year Blackberry announced it wanted to sell 5 million phones, otherwise it “may” quit the business altogether. Of course “may” is a decidedly vague term in business speak; however, profitability has been elusive for many years as far as Blackberry’s smartphones have been concerned, and it’s something many have been expecting since CEO John Chen took over.
People therefore did not collapse with shock when it was announced at the end of last month that Blackberry were indeed quitting – though not in its entirety. The once-upon-a-time giant has conceded defeat, and is now handing over design of and production of their phones to overseas partners, which will allow them to concentrate on the arguably more profitable side of the business – software.
It’s hard to argue that Blackberry aren’t responsible for the smartphone era. When the BlackBerry 850 was released in 1999 it brought together a functional keyboard with e-mail capability and a new addiction as born. Working days suddenly got longer as it was possible to catch up on office stuff whilst on the commute home.
Famed for their watertight security, Blackberry has long been a favourite among heads of states and anyone concerned about their data being protected. Perhaps Obama sealed their fate when he finally gave up on Blackberry (previously a huge fan), reportedly in favour of a Samsung! The shock.
However, for all the initial innovations and trail blazing, Blackberry have found themselves being left behind. With the debut of the iPhone in 2007 and the introduction of touch screens and apps most of us ditched the simplicity we once embraced in favour of Android or iOS systems.
It will be interesting to see what they will come up with next, and if they can make a bigger impression on the Android market than they have done to date.