BlackBerry's attempts to turn the company around with a new suite of phones has not been as successful as it would have hoped. Although the BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5 handsets have received some critical acclaim as the manufacturer entered a new era with its BlackBerry 10 operating system, they have failed to capture the attention of the phone-buying public in sufficient numbers. And Windows Phone 8 has leapt ahead in market share to third spot in the meantime.
This has lead to BlackBerry forming a committee to "explore strategic partnerships" including the possibility of finding a buyer for the whole company.
While Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry will sit on the special committee, it will be chaired by Timothy Dattels.
"During the past year, management and the board have been focused on launching the BlackBerry 10 platform and BES 10, establishing a strong financial position, and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders," he said in a statement.
"Given the importance and strength of our technology, and the evolving industry and competitive landscape, we believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives."
Those alternatives, confirmed BlackBerry, could include possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions. The latter suggests that parts of the company or some of its individual technologies could even be up for sale.
New smartphones, such as the rumoured BlackBerry Z30, are still part of the company's plans while the committee explores other avenues. "We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10, we have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition," said Thorsten Heins.
"As the special committee focuses on exploring alternatives, we will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network."