It hasn't been a good few years for BlackBerry, which has been in continued turmoil since the likes of iPhone and Android pulled out the rug from under its physical-keyboard feet. And now the CEO is saying that the company is prepared to stop making smartphones entirely, if the economics simply don't work.
CEO John Chen was speaking to Bloomberg and has said that the current plan to bring the company back to profitability is to focus on corporate and governmental customers, rather than individual consumers. Chen has apparently said that if the company keeps pumping out phones that nobody wants – and if the company turnover keeps falling – then it "wouldn't be right" to keep going.
Since Chen took over as CEO the company has released several smartphones to a largely disinterested world. For example, there was the BlackBerry Passport, which unusually had a square-shaped screen, and the BlackBerry Classic, which went against convention and sported the sort of hardware keyboard that was so beloved by business executives from the mid-2000s.
If BlackBerry does stop making phones, the plan seems to be to focus on its software business. This would present its own challenges as currently it is hardware and not software that accounts for over half of the company's turnover. What the Canadian company does have going for it though is its strong reputation for security, and the fact that it is certified for use in the most secure environments. For example, President Obama is allowed to carry a BlackBerry – but isn't allowed anywhere near an iPhone, because the spooks haven't declared it secure enough.