BlackBerry CEO: ‘If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business’


BlackBerry’s recent quarterly results revealed the company sold 600,000 smartphones in three months.

There was no indication as to how its Android-powered Priv has sold, which is now available in over 34 countries. However, if the trend of dwindling smartphone sales continues, the company may shift its focus to simply security and enterprise.

BlackBerry sold approximately 3.2 million smartphones during fiscal 2016 – 600,000 in Q4, 700,000 in Q3, 800,000 in Q2 and about 1.1 million in Q1 – but CEO John Chen stated during the conference call this morning that the end of making physical BlackBerry-branded handsets could be ripe to sunset. “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business”

“If by September I couldn’t find a way to get there… then I need to seriously consider being a software company only,” Chen said in an interview with CNBC.

BlackBerry reported revenue of $487 million USD, falling short of its $563 million USD goal. Hardware revenues came in at $189 million versus the $260 million the company expected.

If handsets are not profitable for BlackBerry, the company stated it’s seeking to move more into security, enterprise and the Internet of Things (IoT). Chen noted that BlackBerry is looking to acquire more companies this year in the IoT space, and is also looking to partner in healthcare, financial and legal services.

“We are building an engineering team on the device side that is focused on security. We will do some partnerships and we will probably, potentially do an M&A on security.”

Related: BlackBerry reports Q4 loss, says Priv competes in ‘saturated’ premium market