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Whether BlackBerry Ltd stays in hardware business will come to ‘critical juncture’ this year, analysts say

BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The company is trying to fend off an onslaught of competitors in the software space, which has seen a wave of consolidation and is dealing with pricing pressures.

The saga of BlackBerry Ltd.’s hardware business, which is losing subscribers and cash, will come to a “critical juncture” sometime this year, say Scotia Capital Inc. analysts.

In a study note Wednesday, they outlined a trio of strategic options the Waterloo, Ont.-based company can assess: exiting for any one-time cost of about US$100 million; license the BlackBerry brand or operating system to another equipment manufacturer; or, when the hardware segment reaches profitability, continue operations.

Much of this depends on the sales success of BlackBerry’s Priv, a slider device that’s powered by Android.

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