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BlackBerry wants to start releasing fewer smartphones every year

Reductions, reductions, reductions. That’s been the gist of BlackBerry’s strategy these past couple of years, and not just with the company’s workforce either. According to CEO John Chen, the struggling company has decided to reduce the number of smartphones it releases every year from four to two, or even down to just one device. This model works well for Apple, but BlackBerry is FAR from Apple and whether the company will find more success with this move remains to be seen. 

It isn’t just Microsoft that’s going on a drastic phone diet. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen today indicated that the Canadian enterprise vendor would cut its device portfolio from the four devices previously promised for 2015 to “two or one” a year. “We are reducing jobs, but it is not so much as reducing; we are shifting it, so we are taking a lot of the hardware, hence that traditionally we make four phones a year or design, made, manufactured, whatever. We are not going to do that anymore. We are going to at least cut it down a lot; maybe two, maybe one, but not so many,” Chen told Fox Business. The “two new phones every year” model works well for Apple, of course, but BlackBerry isn’t Apple; and in its most recent quarter BlackBerry shipped just 1.1m devices through to end customers, an annual run rate of under five million. Chen in the past said 10m per annum looked to be the break even benchmark that would justify BlackBerry’s running hardware business. Two or one means hanging on by BlackBerry’s fingernails.

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