BlackBerry to shift its focus to enterprise space leaving the consumer market
BlackBerry just can’t seem to take a break. On a preliminary financial results released last week for the second quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, the Canadian smartphone manufacturer announced operating losses approaching the $1 billion mark.
The company also announced laying off 4,500 jobs in an attempt to reduce their operating expenditures by 50% before the end of Q1 FY 2015.
It seems that their BlackBerry 10 platform didn’t pan too well in the smartphone market dominated by Android and iPhones. Sales of their comeback phone, the BlackBerry Z10, didn’t meet expectations when it launched last January. BlackBerry says it will take a “primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments in the second quarter of approximately $930 million to $960 million” due mainly to the Z10.
According to a press release, BlackBerry is going private and has officially filed a letter of intent with Canadian holding company Fairfax Financial with a deal valued at around $4.7 billion, with stockholders receiving $9 a share in cash.
Fairfax Chairman and CEO, Prem Watsa, said that in order to deliver immediate value to shareholders, the company will have to focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins also called the changes “difficult, but necessary… Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user.”
However, this will provide difficult for BlackBerry as companies around the world are now more receptive to the BYOD strategy where workers prefer using Android or iOS devices.
It’s not the end of BlackBerry phones though as the company is still going to make 4 devices per year (instead of 6): two high-end and two entry-level with the BlackBerry Z30 being their next top-tier handset bringing the Z10 to an entry-level tier.
Still, it’s sad to see a once proud and prominent smartphone player having to go this route.