Blackberry to stop manufacturing the Classic

Blackberry CEO Jon Chen announced that it will discontinue manufacture of the device that brought the company–then Research in Motion, or RIM–to fame and fortune.

While Chen resuscitated the device when he arrived in 2013, today’s announcement underscores how–and how much–the Blackberry brand is evolving to stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

While we might all agree that brands need to change with the times, there’s something to be said for the symbolism of a flagship product. Famously, when Coke tried to change its namesake to “New Coke” consumers reacted badly, forcing the company to bring back the original product as “Coke Classic,” a naming convention that brings us back to Blackberry.

Do you agree with CEO Chen’s decision to delist the Blackberry Classic? Or would you have kept it in limited production as a symbol of the company’s pioneering innovations?



8 thoughts on “Blackberry to stop manufacturing the Classic

  1. Paige O'Grady

    This is tough. I see the pro’s of cutting a product that is perhaps currently a “Dog” in terms of revenue. But I think this model needs to be considered as more than just a product. I’m a current Apple user, but when I think of Blackberry, I think of the Classic, a product that I loved at an earlier time in my life. This phone brings back nostalgic memories, a trait which I don’t think can be quantified to a number on financial statements. So because of this, I think the product should have been kept in limited production as a symbol of the company’s pioneering innovations.

  2. Mallory Fantham

    While many of us, myself included, think of how iconic the Blackberry Classic is and how we almost feel a bit of nostalgia for it, none of this has translated into sales for Blackbery, and so I can understand why they are discontinuing the product. Yes, it is their flagship product; however, if it is not selling, why waste money on its manufacturing?
    Further, the market has shown that they are looking for innovative devices (as exhibited when iPhone stole so much of Blackberry’s market share), and so it is important for Blackberry to focus its resources on being more innovative. Whether this be developing new phones to replace the Classic, or whether it be discontinuing their phone manufacturing altogether to place emphasis on the enterprise services that it has is up for debate. Either way, Blackberry needs to move on from remaining stuck in the belief that its Classic is innovative. Even though it was in the past, it is no longer relevant and the thoughts that it was a classic that would always be loved contributes to Blackberry’s downfall from not continuing to innovate.

  3. joelleleung

    I think Blackberry should keep the Classic in limited production because the keyboard is the key differentiation for Blackberry from its competition like Apple and Samsung. Also because the Classic is so well-known, without the classic Blackberry will lose its icon that basically represent Blackberry and will make Blackberry less recognizable for consumers in the highly competitive market. However, if Blackberry is losing money from its production and do not have sounding financials to support the loss while investing on innovation, there is no point keeping the classic alive.

  4. Amy Lau

    I think that Blackberry should keep the classic. The classic model is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the blackberry phone and was what really brought the company its success. Given the trends and models in the market it is understandable why Blackberry may want to adopt its model to capitalize on these trends. However, I do not think that Blackberry trying to adopt to these trends is a good thing because it is not what they are known for, hence on a salience level it does not really align. For me, Blackberry is associated as a phone for professional, business purposes, and as a result I think they should have kept the phone in limited production or attempt to create a more modern version of this model.

  5. Royce Mok

    I agree with the CEO’s decision to discontinue manufacturing the classic. It makes sense for Coke to have a classic since it is a drink. However, the Blackberry Classic is a phone and most if not all consumers want better phones. While there is some nostalgic value in the Blackberry Classic, I do not think that many consumers would be willing to pay more just for sentimental value. As a tech company, you want to be branded as a company that supports high tech which clashes with culture of high tech companies that are constantly innovating. This is evident as no company is really advertising about purchasing flip phones for their nostalgic value.

  6. Darren Kitto

    I think Blackberry should keep the classic and limit production. They should sell the Classic exclusively to government worker’s for its’ security and finger-friendly keyboard. I think the value to government workers is so high for its’ security and “classic” style, the company could even charge a higher price to consumers. They could limit production and cut lost sales by doing this and sustain a professional business reputation the Blackberry Classic Smartphone has.

  7. Gillian Geremia

    Considering we all did our ice week case on Blackberry it is obvious how much the company is struggling with their hardware division. Although it may have been their flagship phone it was not bringing in any value to the company in recent years. If they decided to ditch it years ago before the fall of Blackberry devices then it would have been a bad idea. Yet currently Blackberry has not been able to innovate around the qwerty keyboard and sales are declining. Blackberry is no longer an innovator in hardware and will have to move forward from it with greater focus on their profitable software division.

  8. Jacquelynn Cort

    I think Chen’s decision to delist the Blackberry Classic is the best for the company at this time. Although many of us, including myself, have purchased the Classic in the past, there is a reason why we stopped purchasing Blackberry’s. Compared to phones by other companies such as Apple, Blackberry has failed to offer innovative products that have kept up with their competitors. Keeping the Classic in limited production would not be a symbol of it’s pioneering’s innovation since the recent Classics that have been released have lacked innovation resulting in consumers being let down by the product. I also don’t see the point of keeping them around if no one is purchasing them. It is time for Blackberry to take a new direction because clearly their recent efforts have failed. Blackberry has always taken pride in the security features of their products. The new DTEK50 that was just released focuses on this differentiator. Hopefully Blackberry can see more success focusing on security.


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