It’s the end of an era for BlackBerry.
The Canadian company, which helped usher in the smartphone race nearly 20 years ago, on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 confirmed it will no longer manufacture the iconic handheld device. Instead, it will outsource hardware development to partners. The company’s CEO John Chen says the company will prioritize software development, including apps and security.
“We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy,” Chen said in a statement. “Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold.”
The smartphone innovator made the revelation during its second-quarter earnings report, in which its revenue of $352 million missed Wall Street forecasts compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Non-GAAP earnings per share were even for the quarter, beating analyst estimates of a loss of 5 cents a share.
Second-quarter sales of the device dipped to 400,000. In ts latest quarter, Apple sold 40.4 million iPhones.
Shares of the company were up 5%, to $8.31, in late-market trading.
The long, gradual decline of the iconic phone paralleled the rise of iPhone and Android phones. Once dominant with more than 50% of the global market, the signature device — a cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard and sophisticated software — was so addictive to millions of customers, including President Obama and Kim Kardashian West, many were referred to as CrackBerries.
The rise of iPhone, Google’s Android platform and other touchscreen phones changed that and, over years, BlackBerry fell out of favor — its global share plunged to less than 1%. Even government employees, for years a loyal customer base, turned away. U.S. Senate staff members made the switch from BlackBerry, according to a memo from the Senate Sergeant at Arms this summer.