BlackBerry has finally ditched its hardware business and it’s not regretting it, not at least for the near future as it shifts its focus on Software.
”I have been in the device business for many years, and I can tell you at the end of the day, no matter the screen size, color or form factor, what’s most important to our customers is the software,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Mobility Solutions, at BlackBerry.
Pini adds that the future of the smartphone industry is about ‘the smart’ in the phone, and less about the form factor which the firm says plays perfectly to its robust software portfolio and positions it well for the future.
According to a recent report by research firm Gartner, BlackBerry performed the best compared to to other software giants such as Apple and Google on various fronts. The firm had the highest score in 6 out of 6 use cases in Gartner’s “Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management” report which compared the vendors enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions.
Out of 19 leading software vendors, Gartner gave BlackBerry the Highest score in High-Security Government Grade, 3.68 out of 5, Highest score in High-Security Commercial, 3.57 out of 5. BlackBerry also got the Highest score in Shared Data, 3.64 out of 5, the Highest score in Shared Devices, 3.58 out of 5, the Highest score in Nonemployee, 3.77 out of 5 and the Highest score in Bring Your Own (BYO), 3.73 out of 5. BlackBerry’s failure at hardware cann be seen as a blessing to help it deliver the most secure and comprehensive software enterprise solutions for companies and individuals.
BlackBerry’s first licensing agreement is with a new JV called BB Merah Putih who will source, distribute and market BlackBerry handsets in Indonesia, BlackBerry’s strongest market. BB Merah Putih JV is led by PT Tiphone, an affiliate of Telkomsel, Indonesia’s largest carrier with 2X the subscriber base of the next largest carrier and Merah Putih which accounts for nearly 50 percent of the country’s mobile market.
In Q2, BlackBerry’s software and services revenue doubled due to a strong uptake of BlackBerry software for crisis communications, enterprise mobility and smart cars. The firm reported $156 million in software and services revenue on a pro forma basis, a 111% increase compared to 89% from the same quarter the previous year.
CEO John Chen during the earnings call in August said:“We are reaching an inflection point with our financial picture stable and our pivot to software taking hold. We focus all of our efforts on where we can deliver differentiation—in software and security. This plays to our strengths and is aligned with where the market is going.”
The firm reportedly won 3,000 enterprise customer orders in Q2 alone. So, the dead of hardware is a good thing for BlackBerry to help it focus on software customers such as the U.S. Army, TSA, U.S. Coast Guard and Denso, Caravan Transport Group, Karma Automotive among others.