NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — It’s the end of an era for BlackBerry. The company, famous for making cellphones with physical keyboards that were once so popular people nicknamed them Crackberries, has decided to stop making its own devices.
BlackBerry said on Wednesday that it will rely on partners to manufacture the phones, which will still have BlackBerry’s look and feel.
The company announced a joint venture with an Indonesian telecom company that will start making them. BlackBerry plans to turn its attention to software, a move it has made gradually in recent years as sales of its phones have slid.
Shares of BlackBerry rose in premarket trading after the announcement. But the stock price is well below its peak from several years ago.
BlackBerry was once the phone of choice for Wall Street traders, politicians and celebrities, thanks in part to its well-regarded security system. President Obama was spotted with a BlackBerry. So was Kim Kardashian West.
But the company was too late to the touchscreen game, and customers left in droves for Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy and other devices running on Google’s Android system. Even Microsoft has moved ahead of BlackBerry with its Windows Phones.
CEO John Chen has tried to turn the company around since joining in 2013. But even as he has pushed BlackBerry toward mobile and security software, apps and the plethora of connected devices known as the Internet of Things, BlackBerry has bled red ink, posted sharp sales declines and lost customers.
Chen has even done what was once unthinkable, opening the BlackBerry to other operating systems. The company now sells phones that run on Android. It also killed off its BlackBerry Classic line of phones this summer.