the total BlackBerry subscriber base was about 72 million. Mike Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, estimates that there were about around 65 million BlackBerry device subscribers globally at the end of August, down from a peak of around 80 million at end of August 2012. He said he expects the rate of decline to accelerate.
By comparison, smartphone market leader Samsung Electronics Co. shipped 81 million units in the July-September quarter alone, according to research group IDC.
Gillis said BlackBerry might indeed stop selling phones but noted BlackBerry is already obsolete. He doesn't think current BlackBerry users have to worry though.
"They are not just going to shut the lights off," Gillis said.
The decline of the BlackBerry has come shockingly fast. In 1999, BlackBerry became a game-changing breakthrough in personal connectedness. It changed the culture by allowing on-the-go business people to access wireless email. President Barack Obama couldn't bear to part with his BlackBerry. Oprah Winfrey declared it one of her "favorite things."
Then came a new generation of competing smartphones, and suddenly the BlackBerry looked ancient. Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls. In the years since, BlackBerry Ltd. been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals.
This year's much-delayed launch of the BlackBerry 10 system and the fancier devices that use it was supposed to rejuvenate the brand and lure customers. It did not work. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry recently announced 4,500 layoffs, or 40 percent of its global workforce, and reported a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion.
"Sadly I think they are already out of the business after the BlackBerry 10 flop," said Mike Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity.
Walkley said he believes BlackBerry will focus on its mobile device management business, which allows IT departments to manage different devices connected to their corporate networks.