It’s the end of an era for BlackBerry. The company, famous for making cellphones with physical keyboards that were once so popular people nicknamed them Crackberries, has decided to stop making its own devices.
BlackBerry said on Wednesday that it will rely on partners to manufacture the phones, which will still have BlackBerry’s look and feel.
The company announced a joint venture with an Indonesian telecom company that will start making them. BlackBerry plans to turn its attention to software, a move it has made gradually in recent years as sales of its phones have slid.
Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY, Tech30) rose 4% in early trading after the announcement. But the stock price is well below its peak from several years ago.
BlackBerry was once the phone of choice for Wall Street traders, politicians and celebrities, thanks in part to its well-regarded security system. President Obama was spotted with a BlackBerry. So was Kim Kardashian West.
But the company was too late to the touchscreen game, and customers left in droves for Apple’s (AAPL, Tech30) iPhone, Samsung’s (SSNLF) Galaxy and other devices running on Google’s (GOOGL, Tech30) Android system.
Even Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) has moved ahead of BlackBerry with its Windows Phones.
This is something that BlackBerry’s current CEO has indicated was probably going to happen since he came on board a few years ago. When they allowed Blackberry phones to be made with Android operating systems, it was pretty obvious that the company’s phone days were numbered. Sure, there will still be phones that look like a Blackberry out there, but it just isn’t the same anymore.
If BlackBerry had developed a functional browser and touch screen options (keeping the keyboard, of course), I would probably still be using one. That keyboard was my favorite. I could type faster on that with my thumbs than I’m typing this right now.
While it seems like it’s been forever since BlackBerry has been a player in the mobile phone market, it was only seven years ago that the company was still the 800 lb. gorilla.
There are no comfortable perches for businesses in the new century.