BlackBerry Limited: Does it have a future in the consumer market?

BlackBerry Limited (BlackBerry) has seen its position in the global smartphone market crumble in recent years, especially in the consumer sector, resulting in disastrous annual losses. This has led the company to begin to refocus on enterprise customers in a bid to return to profit, as well as a movement to a new operational structure and cost-cutting measures.

Features and benefits

  • This report analyzes BlackBerry's performance over the past few years, as well as the effective failure of its latest operating system, BlackBerry 10.
  • This case study examines the historical financial performance of BlackBerry's various revenue streams and how this is shaping its future strategy.
  • This report looks at BlackBerry's competitive position in the instant messaging market and analyzes the company's BBM monetization strategy.

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Pressure from Android and Apple smartphones has significantly eroded Blackberry’s share of the market over the past couple of years. Loss of consumer appeal and the relative failure of its latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, have resulted in plummeting hardware revenues and substantial losses.

At present, BlackBerry's operations fall under one operational segment, which is less than ideal in a business that is performing as badly as BlackBerry. However, the company has proposed a transition to an operating unit structure, which will consist of: Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded business, and Devices.

Spurred on by its relatively enduring popularity, BlackBerry is looking to continue to leverage its BBM service in spite of its newly announced focus on enterprise customers. Notably, the company has a number of dominant, large-scale competitors in the area of instant messaging (IM), such as Whatsapp, which has recently been acquired by Facebook.

Your key questions answered

  • What has driven BlackBerry's recent financial woes?
  • How is BlackBerry looking to reduce costs to ameliorate its severe losses?
  • What are currently BlackBerry's most profitable areas of business?
  • Why is BlackBerry restructuring into four new operational divisions?
  • How is BlackBerry looking to retain a presence in the consumer sector through BBM?

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Table of Contents


Blackberry Has Lost The Hardware Battle
BlackBerry's hardware sales have plummeted
Falling revenues have led to crippling losses
BlackBerry 10 failed to win back the consumer market
BlackBerry 10's app offering has been unable to compete with Google and Apple
Alicia Keys could not reverse BlackBerry's misfortune
BlackBerry 7 sales still outnumber BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry has been forced to cut costs and change
Attempts to become a private entity failed and leadership has changed
BlackBerry has been forced into cost-cutting and downsizing measures

Blackberry To Restructure Operations
Services are BlackBerry's strongest asset
Consumer and enterprise services are conflated
BlackBerry is set to focus on the enterprise and security sectors
Services have become more difficult to monetize for BlackBerry
BlackBerry's new structure should significantly enhance strategy

BBM Can Continue To Monetize Consumers
BBM has stiff competition, but monetization remains an issue
BlackBerry is expanding BBM's reach to rival operating systems to stay in the consumer market
BBM channels offer backdoor ad revenues through social media
BlackBerry is also looking to adopt a 'freemium' model with stickers and BBM Shop

BlackBerry can still tap the consumer market, but on a much smaller scale

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List of Tables

Table: Smartphone market share by operating system, 2012 and 2013, %
Table: BBM's instant messaging competitors

List of Figures

Figure: BlackBerry revenue from devices, $bn, FY2005-13
Figure: BlackBerry revenue, net income and operating expenses, $bn, FY2005-14
Figure: BlackBerry profit margin and operating expenses % of revenue, %, FY2005-14
Figure: BlackBerry revenue mix, $bn, FY2005-13
Figure: BlackBerry revenue mix excluding devices, $bn, FY2005-13
Figure: BlackBerry gross margin by type of product, %, FY2005-13
Figure: BBM stickers on a Google Nexus 5 Android smartphone