Ina Fried of Recode reports on BlackBerry exiting the hardware business:
The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” CEO John Chen said in a statement. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”
We talked about this on today’s episode of Clockwise. It’s really easy to point at BlackBerry executives’ denial upon the announcement of the iPhone and laugh. But BlackBerry was in a tough position—they had all the advantages of a successful incumbent, but that success also made it difficult to change. Even if they had realized months or even years earlier that the iPhone (and soon, Android) was going to destroy their business, I’m not sure if they would have been able to make the changes necessary to compete with those upstarts.
It strikes me that the right strategy for BlackBerry might have been to embrace the idea of BlackBerry as a secure information service provider rather than a hardware maker, and roll out BlackBerry apps on every possible mobile platform. That way, even if a government or enterprise worker wanted to get an iPhone, they’d still be using BlackBerry servers and sending BlackBerry messages.
I don’t think BlackBerry was ever going to be able to compete with the rise of iPhone and Android. But perhaps they could’ve benefited from it anyway.