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BlackBerry to outsource development of smartphones, to focus on software

“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” CEO John Chen said in a statement. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

BlackBerry has been setting the stage for such a move for a while now. It has already released one phone, the DTEK50 that was essentially a rebadged Alcatel phone and has started offering up pieces of its phone software for use on other Android devices.

Chen had said BlackBerry would exit the phone business if it could not make it profitable.

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The writing’s been on the wall for a while now, but even so it comes as a shock to see an organisation that was selling 15 million devices a quarter back in 2010 exit the handset development business altogether.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!