End of the line as rivals squash BlackBerry

Blackberry revealed it will stop designing smartphones in-house as it posted more losses and plunging sales.
Blackberry revealed it will stop designing smartphones in-house as it posted more losses and plunging sales.
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Embattled mobile phone firm BlackBerry has said it will stop designing smartphones in-house as it posted more losses and plunging sales.

The Canadian firm said it will outsource hardware development to partners and focus instead on software.

It comes after the group - once a market leader - has lost out to smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung in recent years.

A decade ago, a BlackBerry was a must-have accessory for businessmen on the go. But the launch of the iPhone and later models using Google’s Android operating system made it seem old fashioned.

BlackBerry’s private and secure messaging system was originally one of the phone’s biggest assets, but it was crippled by a much-publicised worldwide outage and outpaced by rivals like Telegram and Whatsapp, which work on any phone.

Ernest Doku of the website uSwitch.com, said: “In spite of a small yet loyal-to-the-death contingent of fans, BlackBerry simply couldn’t survive a market dominated by two mobile behemoths.

“BlackBerry addicts will no doubt be gutted by the news, but this is one mobile maker that just made too many mistakes.”

BlackBerry boss John Chen said: “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.”

BlackBerry also announced second quarter results revealing it tumbled into the red with net losses of 372 million US dollars (£286 million) against profits of 51 million US dollars (£39 million) a year earlier.

Its revenues slumped by 31.8% to 334 million US dollars (£257 million).

Mr Chen said the firm’s “pivot to software is taking hold”, with the group on track to see software and services revenues surge by 30% over the full-year.

It sought to turnaround its fortunes last year by producing its first Android smartphone, but it was too expensive to appeal to the mass market.