BlackBerry's chief executive and Sony's boss have separately admitted within the week that 2016 is a crucial year for their smartphone businesses. The two executives have said they may kill off their BlackBerry and Sony phones if they will not generate money next year.
John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, shared during the Code Mobile conference on Thursday, Oct. 8, the possibility of giving up its handset business if it can't meet the goal of selling five million smartphones a year.
“Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there,” said Chen. “My job is to make sure the value of the company is protected and increases... Even if I’m not in the handset business, getting into providing security for Android lets us provide solutions via software.”
BlackBerry, before the rise of iPhone in 2007, was billed the world's most famous smartphone maker. However, it did not manage to catch up with the competition since that time.
In fact, the company's U.S. market share in September 2009 was at 42.6 percent. However, in August this year, BlackBerry only recorded 1.2 percent share in the U.S. market.
The chief executive did say if it will give up the phone business, it will focus its attention on its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) as well as cross-platform secure communication applications.
A big chunk of the sales volume is expected to come from the hotly awaited BlackBerry Priv, deemed as its first Android-powered slider device, which is slated to hit stores by the end of this year.
"Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry's heritage and core mission of protecting our customers' privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform," said Chen in September.
Meanwhile, Sony's boss Kazuo Hirai told reporters that the company will "consider its options" should its mobile division will fail to generate profit next year.
"We will continue with the business as long as we are on track with the scenario of breaking even next year onwards," Hirai did mention.
Many of its profits will rely on Xperia Z5, 4K Xperia Z5 as well as Z5 Compact which it introduced at IFA conference in Berlin last month.
Based on the company's data last year, Sony phones logged only 17.5 percent of Japan's market and less than one percent in North America.