Even before BlackBerry released its BlackBerry 10 platform and smartphone early this year investors have been calling on the company to abandon its hardware ambitions. Whatever BlackBerry meant in the early part of the century, it was clear to nearly everyone that it had been overtaken by Apple and Android devices in the consumer smartphone market years ago. In many ways, the company’s recent losses and the failed buyout attempt were a long time coming.
Now with a new interim CEO and an infusion of cash to keep it afloat, BlackBerry seems poised to make the structural changes it has been putting off for years.
BlackBerry Interim CEO John Chen this week penned an open letter to current and potential enterprise clients. In it, Chen emphasized that he would be taking the company “back to [its] heritage and root,” meaning mobile solutions for enterprise. He also made it clear that BlackBerry is prepared to manage all mobile devices through its solutions, recognizing “that BlackBerry device are not for everyone.”
Now, even more reports are gathering that indicate BlackBerry could be deemphasizing its hardware division. DigiTimes is reporting that BlackBerry is planning to “replace” its hardware division with software services.
The report’s unnamed “industry watchers” cited the popularity of BlackBerry Messenger as one of the areas the company may focus on. DigiTimes estimates that BlackBerry Messenger now has over 80 million active users per month, giving it a prominent place among the growing segment of messaging apps. The company is also pushing to make its Messenger app a pre-install on Android devices in emerging markets where smartphone growth is expected to be centered in the coming years.