Is BlackBerry Really Saying Goodbye? What's The Real Score?

Last week, my inbox and FB Messenger got inundated with inquiries from my readers and friends about the news they read online stating that 'BlackBerry Will Stop Making Smartphones'.

"Is BlackBerry already closing, Mark?"

"Do you think BB can eventually rise from the dead?"

"My beloved brand is no more. What should I do?"

These are only some of the questions that I got from you guys who are obviously very loyal to the legendary Canadian electronics company.

(Side note: TechPinas was already alive when BlackBerry was at its strongest - culminating in the release of BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Bold 9650 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.)

Actually, I can't blame you. A lot of what was written in the past few days about BlackBerry have been more unfair than anything. In fact, many articles that I saw in social media were posted more to mock BB than to celebrate the new chapter that it's entering as a company.

I wrote this article to help the brand clarify this issue among its fans and followers here in the Philippines.

The truth is, BlackBerry is not closing nor is it bidding anyone goodbye. The company is here to stay.

In fact, the new BlackBerry DTEK50 has just been quietly released in the Philippines.

So what's the real score?

Well, to quote BlackBerry, "Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum, including our first major device software licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital." (source)

Reading the statement, it's clear that BlackBerry will no longer craft or put together its own smartphones and will instead rely on its 'partners' to do that for them.

Currently, TCL Corporation from China - maker of Alcatel smartphones - is one reported manufacturing partner of the Canadian company. As of writing however, BB has yet to disclose how that partnership works exactly and how much of the development process for new devices will be handled by either companies.

Is this a good decision by a handset maker that was once the leading mobile device seller in North America?

Off hand, this move seems to be serving BlackBerry well. In fact, in Q2 2016, the company - via its Mobile Solutions business - more than doubled its software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the brand's history, which is a clear sign of momentum.

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