Former smartphone giant BlackBerry has shut down its hardware manufacturing, to focus on enterprise services.
Known for its “Qwerty” keyboard mobile phones that were extremely popular among professionals, it was hard for Blackberry to compete with market leaders Apple and Samsung. BBM was the first messenger service to enter the market at a time when WhatsApp was out of the picture. It was the only popular messaging app that allowed people to communicate without sending an SMS.
Their revenue has dwindled since 2010 and past products haven’t inspired any confidence. As a result, it is going to focus on creating software for mobile phones, rather than the devices themselves. Instead, it will outsource the brand to other manufacturers. BB Merah Putih, which is led by PT Tiphone Mobile Indonesia, will pay licensing fees and royalties to BlackBerry.
The Canadian company released its first Android smartphone last year, followed by the Dtek50 this summer, billed as “the world’s most secure Android smartphone”.
BlackBerry Messenger and its secure email system made it a big hit among young users and professionals alike, but Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android software, with their own app ecosystem made BlackBerry obsolete.
Even after the launch of a new OS and the decision to make phones based on the Android operating system, the firm didn’t move beyond single digit revenue figure.
The shift marks the end of smartphones made by the company that started a global phenomenon as the first to put email in everyone’s pockets nearly two decades ago.
Software has always been a strong point of BlackBerry and this new strategy has the potential to bring it out of troubled waters.
The company’s focus on attracting and retaining corporate customers for its software and mobile device management services is starting to pay off. If we analyze the picture, then we will realize that Blackberry hasn’t killed its handset business but has only outsourced it to a third-party.
The company now has the time and resources to focus on initiatives such as security software and the enterprise of things. IoT has opened new vistas for firms like Blackberry which already has a long history dedicated to protecting and connecting the world. With their software pivot, they are now better-oriented for the task than ever.
According to BlackBerry their ‘Enterprise of Things’ approach is focused on securing a plethora of devices, from phones to wearables and even automotive. BlackBerry’s QNX operating system is the best example to describe this and it has various use cases in the telematics and infotainment sectors.
To put it in the words of CEO John Chen, BlackBerry is no longer just about the smartphone – we are the smart in the phone. We’re about meeting the unique security and usability needs of each business or organization and each of its workers. We’re about keeping everything from regulated information to intellectual property to client data safe from prying eyes.
BlackBerry has also received the highest score in all six categories of Gartner’s High Security Mobility Management Report. Their software and services revenue nearly doubled in Q2 2017, and they hold more than 70 security certifications – more than any other mobile provider.
In September, the company announced a partnership with mobile threat management platform Zimperium for enterprise and government customers.
To sum up, BlackBerry is no longer solely dedicated to smartphones and enterprise software is the new BlackBerry. This change is purely evolutionary and there is no doubt that BlackBerry is likely to remain significant and successful in the market by addressing the needs of enterprises. Other smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and their peers need to step up their game if they truly want their products to be considered enterprise class.