Last quarter, of the 4.3 million phones sold by BlackBerry, 3.2 million were powered by the older BlackBerry 7 OS. That was a shock considering the lengths to which BlackBerry tried to promote its new BlackBerry 10 powered phones. BlackBerry has inked a five year deal with contract manufacturer Foxconn for the latter to design, produce and handle warehousing of low-end BlackBerry models for emerging markets. When it was rumored that the first handset to be released under this deal, the BlackBerry Jakarta, would not have a physical QWERTY and would be powered by BlackBerry 10, it seemed that BlackBerry was about to pull the plug on BlackBerry 7 OS.
But there is some good news today for those who favor the older BlackBerry 7 OS. Sunil Lalwani, the Managing Director of BlackBerry India, now says that BlackBerry 7 OS will be supported until December 2015. That means that the platform that contributed the lion's share of BlackBerry sales last quarter will still be around for nearly two years.
BlackBerry had to take a charge on an embarrassing amount of BlackBerry Z10 units as $960 million was written off in the second quarter. A further write down of $2.7 billion for unsold BlackBerry 10 units was taken in the third quarter. Lalwani said that BlackBerry did a poor job of showing potential buyers all of the features of BlackBerry 10, which led to the inventory write-offs. He does point out that since cutting the price of the Z10, sales have perked up.
After December 2015, the Managing Director says that BlackBerry will stop selling the older BlackBerry 7 OS powered models, and will offer deals to get owners of those BlackBerry models to exchange them for a BlackBerry 10 model. So if you love that QWERTY keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, you have a couple of years left to pick one up. And no, Lalwani says that there is no sequel to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in the works.
When we launched BB 10, it was a new platform built ground up to upgrade a decade old BB platform. The inherent new features of BB10 had to be clearly articulated to end-users, which wasn’t done well, leading to issues like inventory build-up of the Z10 but after cutting the price, sales have picked up again. In the last quarter, 60% of our revenue came from services and software – they generate higher margins. This is why, this year and beyond, services and software will be predominant focus for BlackBerry, and devices will be a pull through. We believe this strategy will be key to our turnaround and profitability in 2014, and we are extremely bullish about the future of BlackBerry."-Sunil Lalwani, Managing Director, BlackBerry India
source: DNAIndia, N4BB via BerryReview