Trends in the consumer electronics market can very quickly disrupt business models of established players. There used to be a time when names like Nokia and BlackBerry ruled the smartphone market, but the arrival of Apple's iPhone and the adoption of Google's Android platform pretty much pushed all the old players out of the market.
As such, it's not really a surprise that BlackBerry is saying goodbye to the smartphone hardware market. In a message on the company blog, COO Ralph Pini explains the company will no longer be making phones in-house and will dedicate its attention to smartphone software:
Today we make our first significant step toward leading as a software company by announcing that we are transitioning from doing internal handset hardware development to leveraging our third party partner to provide that function. This is what the future looks like for our business, and it is the right move as we progress towards profitability. This will enable our resources to focus all efforts on providing state-of-the-art security software for devices and the enterprise of things, as well as work on other critical areas of the company.
Our first licensing agreement is with a new joint venture called BB Merah Putih. Under the agreement, they will source, distribute and market BlackBerry handsets in Indonesia, our strongest market. The joint venture is led by PT Tiphone, an affiliate of Telkomsel, which is the largest carrier in Indonesia with more than two times the subscriber base of the next largest carrier, as well as Merah Putih and its affiliates which account for nearly half of the total Indonesian mobile market.