BlackBerry CEO admits it 'needs to win the enterprise back' to survive

BlackBerry CEO admits it 'needs to win the enterprise back' to survive

Summary: The company's chief executive revealed in New York City his plans to win back the enterprise customer base in with high-end phones and services. But there are no plans for a tablet.


NEW YORK — BlackBerry chief executive John Chen laughed off the comments made by Reuters in a press room filled with journalists, despite his stern tone in his Thursday blog post.

BlackBerry chief executive John Chen (Image: BlackBerry)

Chen said at a press event in New York City that he "loves" the handset business, and further clarified comments published by Reuters on Wednesday. He said he was "still working on a way to make money in the handset business," but admitted that if there was not a way to make money in the handset business then "of course, I will rethink it."

He said these things take time, and was looking ahead to the future. "We're committed to [the handset business] and we're going to make it work," Chen said confidently.

BlackBerry remains a devices and services company, he said, with the two business units running independently but crucially together to create a whole end-to-end solution, he says. 

That's key for the enterprise customer, he says, which remains the company's top priority. And he's going to win them back with better devices, stronger business and security solutions, and by listening to what its core faithful have to say.

Chen confirmed that the majority of its futures phones will have keyboards, but many will be just touchscreen. This was just one strand of a widely unknown and still shrouded push to "win back" the enterprise customer, which remains at the top of the company's priority list.

"We're going to build high-end phones, and concentrate on the enterprise," he said. But he noted that it's not just about selling millions of units. "That of course helps, but it's a combination of things," notably supporting its enterprise customers, selling servers, and supporting business customers. 

"Outside the developing countries, like Indonesia, we have at least 20 percent market share there. We're going to push into further developing markets," he said, citing India and Thailand. "We like to participate in those markets — and we don't want to leave them. We get our customer base in the developing countries," Chen added.

He also said that BlackBerry doesn't want to announce a product six months ahead while it's still shipping its current product. "We figured that if we don't do that, the industry doesn't know what our plan is. All they see is a decline."

"It's a calculated risk that we're taking," he said. "So far from the customer response, the risk is well taken."

John Sims, BlackBerry's enterprise chief, confirmed after the PlayBook tablet flop, there are no specific plans for a tablet. Chen likes the plan for a tablet, Sims said, but declined to comment further.

Topics: BlackBerry, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • I applaud

    Chen's enthusiasm, but I don't see a compelling reason why companies will continue on their march away from balckberry. I think he should focus on services, the large financial company I work for offered BYOD using Good last year. Folks turned in BBs in droves. There are a few BB holdouts, but most are happy with their iphones and android phones.
    • and their services are

      still pretty competitive. if they put all their R&D money into making QNX, BES, BBM, etc better instead of letting the hardware R&D and production costs bleed them dry they could be doing very well.
    • Opposite

      Funny I have the opposite situation here.

      People cannot get to a Blackberry 10 device quick enough as they hate Good Technology.

      It's really up to what your current Blackberry offerings are - if your only offering your employees old Blackberry devices from 2006, of course using their own iPhone and Android device is better. Even more appealing if your company is providing a subsidy.

      Now that we are upgrading all Blackberry to 10 - users are asking to move back. They really don't like the company controlling their smartphone. They don't like have a password of their device. They don't like Good Technology. We've also enabled a slew of functionality that unless you spend even more for Good Dynamics cannot do on Good enabled devices. Microsoft Lync, SharePoint, Network shares access for example.

      We provide employees options - they can decide what works best for them and with Blackberry 10 devices comparable to the other platforms, many prefer a corporate managed device and keep their device personal.

      What I love are the employees who have a corporate iPhone AND their own iPhone - so much for BYOD. It varies by company, BYOD program and company culture.

      The kicker - BES 10 is easier and cheaper than all the other MDM's we've used to manage iOS and Android. Check out EZ Pass. No other MDM can match that incentive.
  • Arrogance!

    Chen is just another arrogant CEO of BB (RIM)...
    His words: "... of course, I will rethink it." says a lot about his business culture. Unfortunately there is no way to win (back) the hearts and minds of smartphones users with such a statement.
    Please bear in mind that Chen is not Steve Jobs, and BB is not Apple.
  • Bit of Advise

    Stop packaging old technology in newly named phones.
    • Have you used a Z30?

      If you think a Z30 with OS 10.2.1 is anything like a Blackberry Storm from the past you have issues. Night and Day difference. I prefer the Z30 over any Android device and I have many of the top ones at my disposal.