BlackBerry denies consumer market exit reports

BlackBerry played down reports about it pulling out of the consumer market at the London launch event for its Z30 smartphone.

"Reports have been misconstrued by the media and analysts. BlackBerry is not pulling out of the consumer market," Johnathan Young, senior director of retail and distribution at BlackBerry, told IT Pro.

"Around 80 per cent of our customers are consumers. The UK is a core market for BlackBerry and we've have had strong support from partners."

The firm has made a strategic decision to streamline its portfolio, focusing on four core handsets running its BB10 operating system the Z10, Q10, Q5 and the flagship Z30, which will launch on 27 September and will initially be available exclusively at Selfridges.

"What the company is doing is making sure we keep a very strong focus on enterprise [and] very strong focus on prosumer,"said Robert Bose, region MD for EMEA at BlackBerry.

Although Bose remains optimistic that consumers will be attracted to the Z30, the current uncertainty surrounding BlackBerry could hinder sales of the device.

Blackberry's set to be sold to a consortium headed up by Fairfax Financial Holdings, and the smartphone maker is not in a position to guarentee what will become of the handset business.

"We're going through a period of due diligence that extends to 4 November. You probably won't hear too much between now and November and once that happens we'll be able to talk more about it," Bose added.

Despite Selfridges selling 10,000 units of the BB Q10 in a two-week period earlier this year, and BlackBerry selling 3.7 million smartphones in Q2, these numbers pale in comparison to Apple who sold nine million of its next generation iPhones in the opening three day period.

Things look bleak for BlackBerry, which was worth $83bn in 2008 and is now valued at $4.7bn. Preliminary Q2 financials suggest the firm expected to post a loss of $995 million andit confirmed that 40 per cent of the global workforce will be laid off by May 2014.

The financials are set to be released on 27 September, but an earnings conference call to discuss the results has been cancelled.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.