This week Blackberry have been PR'ing their decision to end device manufacture after 17 years in the handset business. Engaging with the media, the company confirmed that they have interested parties for the hardware build of devices, and interestingly, that they also have potential licensees for Blackberry 10 OS.
Since building their first device in 1999, Blackberry have had a rough time competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone sector. Conceding defeat this year, the firm has confirmed that it will no longer manufacture its own phones, instead concentrating on the licensing of its software assets.
Most people seem to have assumed that this meant licensing the software it has built for and integrated into its Android distribution, recently seen on its new handset the DTEK 50, but it now seems that Blackberry also intends to license its former OS, Blackberry 10.
Senior VP of Mobility Sales Alex Thurber of Blackberry confirmed;
"We continue to support the BlackBerry 10 operating system; some companies are interested in licensing it for handsets. If it's a solid business model going forward, we'll work with a 3rd manufacturer. But we're not close enough to say we're going to do that."
Blackberry has also laid out some of its criteria for would-be licensees. They will be insisting that device manufacturers adhere to strict requirements for new handsets, as confirmed recently by John Chen and John Pini;
"We're very careful who we're working with. We want to be very positive; the contracts are long and complex and we're involved in every stage of the way. We'll know what's going on at every stage of the manufacturing process - and we'll still inject our hardware keys at the right moment."
It remains to be seen whether Blackberry can successfully license its software platform to interested hardware partners or whether the fate of Blackberry's own hardware business will scare away would-be manufacturers.
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