BlackBerry to stop making Classic smartphone model

Shares in the Canadian technology company drop by more than 3 per cent

Smartphone pioneer BlackBerry Ltd will stop making its Classic model, the company said yesterday, some 18 months after launching the device it had hoped would entice users who prefer a physical, rather than touchscreen, keyboard.

BlackBerry’s move shifted its focus further away from its money-losing handset business and toward its software. Still, shares in the Canadian technology company fell more than 3 per cent after an executive confirmed the move in a company blog post.

The Classic was launched early last year with a physical keyboard in the vein of its Bold predecessor and powered by the company own overhauled BlackBerry 10 operating system.

BlackBerry has since launched a phone powered by Alphabet Inc's Android software and plans several more, and BlackBerry chief executive John Chen last month expressed confidence that its trimmed-down handset business can turn a profit by a self- imposed September deadline.


Software shift

BlackBerry has shifted focus from its once-dominant smartphones to the software that companies and governments need to manage their devices. Some analysts and investors have called on the Ontario-based company to jettison handsets entirely.

Separately, an internal US Senate memo obtained by Reuters yesterday said BlackBerry had told major US carriers Verizon Communications and AT&T that all of its devices running BlackBerry 10 were being discontinued.

As it updates its lineup, the company will no longer manufacture the Classic "to keep innovating and advancing our portfolio", said Ralph Pini, new chief operating officer and devices head, in a blog post.

BlackBerry company shares have withered in the face of falling revenues. Its Toronto-listed stock was last down 3.3 per cent at CAN$8.57 (€6). On the Nasdaq, it was off 2.2 percent at $6.61 (about €6).

– (Reuters)