BlackBerry could possibly quit handset business by 2016; unless it sells 5 million handsets this year

The decline of BlackBerry in the smartphone market has been steady, gradual and certain. Over the years, Apple’s iPhone and long list of Android smartphones have heavily dented the prominence that BlackBerry enjoyed in the past decade.


The decline of BlackBerry in the smartphone market has been steady, gradual and certain. Over the years, Apple’s iPhone and long list of Android smartphones have heavily dented the prominence that BlackBerry enjoyed in the past decade.

As a strategic move to turn the fledgling company around, CEO John Chen has taken several steps to have a conscious focus on its key offerings, which seem to lean towards mobile security solutions and device management.
Since the core customer base of enterprise and government wouldn’t be able to sustain the company, it seems that focusing on the hardware business may not make all that sense after all.

In a recent interaction with the Verge, CEO John Chen mentioned that he’s putting a number to BlackBerry sales. His aim is to sell 5 million smartphones a year. Although that doesn’t seem to be an astronomical number compared to the kind of sales numbers done by Apple and Samsung, what’s worth noting is that Chen said if BlackBerry doesn’t succeed in selling in 5 million smartphones the coming year, then it may quit the handset business altogether.

Recently, BlackBerry announced the Priv, its first smartphone running the Android operating system. The move marks a shift away from its own BlackBerry 10 platform, which failed to regain market share ceded to Apple Inc’s iPhone and a slew of Android-powered devices.

“I merely look at this as a business decision: If the math doesn’t add up, it doesn’t add up,” Chen said at a media roundtable. “We could keep our pride and die hungry, or we eat well and be less proud. I chose to eat well.”

Chen said he would make a decision on the future of the handset business in the next fiscal year, which begins on Feb. 28.


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