Wednesday Buzz: BlackBerry Bows Out

The legacy smartphone maker pivots from devices to software. Also: why you probably shouldn't design your own website.

If you’ve been buying BlackBerrys because of their unique design, we have some bad news for you.

On Wednesday, the smartphone maker—still famed for its mobile keyboards—announced that it will get out of the hardware business altogether starting next year, and while it will release devices in the future, the design of these phones will be outsourced.

The reason? The company is finding its footing as a software manufacturer. It plans to develop logistics offerings for tracing internet-of-things platforms and is doubling down on its popular messaging platform, BBM.

“We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy. Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold,” BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chairman John Chen said in a news release.

Analysts, such as IDC’s John Jackson, largely welcomed the move.

“This is an entirely sensible decision and probably an overdue one,” Jackson said in comments to Reuters. “Software revenue and the margin profile associated with that is where the focus should have been and now can be.”

In recent years, BlackBerry has started releasing Android-based phones, including last year’s Priv, which has a keyboard, and the recent DTEK50, which doesn’t.

Don’t Do it Yourself

Sometimes it’s just better to outsource. That’s definitely a point that Carrie Hane of Tanzen Consulting can speak to. She’s been around the block a few times, and she’s seen a lot of terribly designed websites.

It started in the 1990s, she writes in a blog post on her firm’s website, and now, “20 years and billions of websites later, we’ve still got more awful ones than good ones. A big reason for this is that too many organizations do not hire digital professionals to manage their digital products, including the website.”

Strike a little close to home? Need some advice to move forward? Carrie’s post has a few ideas.

Other Links of Note

Write tighter. Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog offers some places where you can cut the fat.

If you caught the presidential debate the other night, you saw a lot of interrupting going on. If that feels like deja vu, be sure to check out this piece from The Muse regarding interruptions. It might help.

Know your volunteer culture. In a guest post for Event Garde, WorkXO cofounder Jamie Notter discusses the cultural factors around volunteering.

The Android-based BlackBerry Priv. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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