Blackberry May Exit Handset Market In 2016

John Chen, Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry has said that the Canadian smart phone maker may exit from the handset market by 2016 if it continues to struggle to turn in profit.

Chen made the startling disclosure while showing off the company’s first Android powered device, Priv at the Code/Mobile event in California and added that the company was targeting five million smartphone sales next year to stay in the handset business.The Canadian-based company is banking heavily on its newest flagship device to lead the turnaround.

In what was another disappointing quarter for the company, Chen said it sold 800,000 BlackBerry devices, while seeing a 47 per cent fall in Q2 fiscal revenue.

Chen has said in the past the company would consider exiting the handset business, as it pivots towards a software and enterprise focus, but until now has never indicated a timeline for such a move.

Chen said he “never says never” to shutting down the device business, adding that it would assess the “business case” before deciding on making any subsequent devices after Priv. “I’m in the handset business because I believe there’s value added and a market that is underserved,” he said.

Addressing the company’s decision to adopt Android on its latest flagship device, Chen said BlackBerry was “taking advantage of what the industry can offer, but not wandering off from our core strength.”

He said the company also remained committed to supporting two operating systems, including its own BlackBerry 10, for now. But the market may not see another BB powered device again, with Chen suggesting it could drop the operating system in a year or two.


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