BlackBerry Hangs Up on the Handset Market

priv blackberry featuredAfter 14 years of manufacturing handsets – including a few rocky ones of late – BlackBerry has announced it is exiting the devices business entirely.

The company will pivot to focus entirely on software, in particular the areas of security and the enterprise of things. Its a path the company started down when it opened up BBM, the messaging app that was arguably the final USP for its devices, and made it available on Android and iOS. Software is, according to COO Ralph Pini, “whats most important to our customers.”

“Ultimately, the future of the smartphone industry is about ‘the smart’ in the phone, and less about the form factor,” Pini said in a blog post. “This plays perfectly to our robust software portfolio and positions us well for the future.”

This doesnt necessarily mean its the end for handsets with the Blackberry name on them, however. The company is licensing out its technology and brand – starting with a joint venture with Indonesian telco PT Tiphone, BB Merah Putih, which will source, distribute and market BlackBerry handsets in Indonesia.

“It is fitting that Indonesia is the first market where we are licensing our device software, as the country is historically BlackBerry’s largest market for devices and, by far, the most substantial for the BBM messaging software we created,” said Pini.