BlackBerry phone manufacturing is dead: now outsourcing only

Chris Burns - Sep 28, 2016, 10:14am CDT
BlackBerry phone manufacturing is dead: now outsourcing only

BlackBerry has announced that the company will no longer be developing hardware internally in their latest quarterly earnings call. In their latest announcement, they’ve suggested that their newest strategy includes “focusing on software development, including security and applications.” This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the unit sales numbers of BlackBerry devices over the past several years, with each year – and indeed each quarter – decreasing in size for quite some time now.

“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” said a BlackBerry representative. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

As recent as this July, BlackBerry kept pushing hardware.

As you’ll see in the chart below from YCharts, BlackBerry’s market cap was a whopping $80 billion back in 2008. Apple’s iPhone was introduced in the year 2007, while the first Android phone was released in October of 2008.

BlackBerry devices sold over the past several years goes as follows – note that this is collected from second-quarter sales numbers from BlackBerry:

• Q2 2013: 7.4 million units
• Q2 2014: 5.9 million units
• Q2 2015: 2.4 million units
• Q2 2016: 800,000 units
• Q2 2017: 400,000 units

It’s safe to say that BlackBerry’s many, many varied strategies and about-faces over the past 10 years have not turned their fortunes around for the better.

All BlackBerry devices – if indeed there are any more in the pipeline – will be manufactured and designed by 3rd-party companies. Something like Nokia, or Polaroid, where their brand name remains intact, but a different company is doing the dirty work.

For more information on the rollercoaster ride into heck that has been the last decade in BlackBerry smartphone sales, have a peek at the timeline below or get more in-depth with our massive BlackBerry tag portal. And don’t forget to remind your relatives and distant friends that buying an old BlackBerry device, no matter how cheap, is no longer a good idea in the least. Not unless they want it for their museum.


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