For many of us, this last month marked the end of an era — and the beginning of a new one.

Like me, you might vividly remember when you got your first BlackBerry device. How it looked. How it felt in your hand. The feeling of connection it afforded to your work, your family and your community. It seemed like more than just an object made of hard black or blue plastic. It was also a rite of passage. It was something we had earned, that spoke not just of our importance to the organization that had bestowed it upon us, but also to our status as a valued professional, whose knowledge and opinions were relied upon even when we were not at our desks.

Millions of people had a very similar experience with those early, pioneering devices. As the mobile and cellular device market began to grow, BlackBerry continued to lead with devices designed to be the most advanced, the most user-friendly, and the most secure that money could buy. For many of us, those devices earned a permanent place in our hearts, making it particularly sad to see them go.

The fierce commitment of our customers to their BlackBerry devices still fills us with pride, though we stopped manufacturing them years ago. We have been holding off on decommissioning the BlackBerry service out of loyalty to our customers for a long time. So it is, with mixed emotions, that I reflect on the closing of that era.  

As was announced, BlackBerry has decommissioned the infrastructure and services used by our legacy software and phone operating systems, which were over 20 years old. That ending, however, marked the beginning of a new era. The independence, mobility, security and privacy that so many of us came to associate with those ground-breaking BlackBerry devices remains alive and strong, as does the spirit of invention and innovation that got us here.

The company ushered in the mobile workforce and messaging revolutions that changed the world. The grandeur of our mission, to make the world a better place, has not diminished.

Five years ago, our Chairman John Chen initiated the reinvention of BlackBerry as a software company, allowing us to stay 100% focused on providing enabling technologies to ensure the safety and security of all the devices and systems we rely on. We invested and invented our way to leadership positions in cybersecurity, encrypted voice and digital communications, automotive safety, and innumerable connected and IoT (Internet of Things) systems and devices in fields such as medical, industrial, avionics and more — all with an underlying, common thread of AI-supported intelligent security.

Today, we secure 96% of the threat landscape, preventing more than 165 million cyberattacks in 2021 alone. We securely connect more than 500 million mobile, desktop and IoT endpoint devices. Our safety-certified software is used in over 195 million vehicles — including those from 24 of the top 25 electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, and we continue to expand into new markets with new capabilities and innovation. This includes the 2,000 patents awarded to us in the last year.

Chances are, we are more a part of your life today than we ever were as just a handset company, though you may not realize it.

Letting go of the past is always bittersweet, even when a brighter future awaits. At BlackBerry, that brighter future is based on a commitment to solving the world’s most pressing problems with industry-leading technologies in artificial intelligence and machine learning, safety-certified real-time operating systems, critical event management, secure communications and more. We’re expanding and applying that portfolio of capabilities every day to help more customers create a safer, smarter and infinitely more secure way to live and do business.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers and partners for supporting us throughout this journey. You are an important part of our story, and we are proud to have played a part in yours. After more than three years of offerings in this column, I look forward to that continued journey and to sharing with you insights regarding the threats posed against us and the cybersecurity industry and how we continue to set the bar for delivering intelligent security, everywhere.