BlackBerry CEO: 'Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated'

BlackBerry CEO: 'Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated'

Summary: In another open letter to customers, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen fires the cannon at naysayers who claim the smartphone company can't win back its crucial enterprise customer base.

(Image: CNET)

BlackBerry's new chief executive John Chen's favorite way to communicate with its customers, it seems, is through the form of open letters.

In the latest round of public acknowledgements, Chen bottom lined the company's position in two quotes.

"Our 'for sale' sign has been taken down and we are here to stay," he said in a note published Monday, adding: "In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated."

The big news is that BlackBerry is no longer up for sale, which gives Chen and the newly-formed executive team space to breathe. The smartphone maker recently entered an agreement to receive a $1 billion "strategic investment" which the company said it represents a "vote of confidence" in its future. 

The other major tidbit was the announcement of a new company direction, which for those out of the loop, is striking, considering the company stagnated under former chief executive Thorsten Heins. The former boss thought there was essentially nothing wrong with the post-Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie world, who themselves left the company in a mess.

Making a pitch to the enterprise, BlackBerry's bread and butter, Chen said the firm was "going back to our heritage and roots." He added: "As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems."

Chen noted: "And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period."

BlackBerry has long been known as the secure smartphone maker. But in efforts to readjust its focus towards a purer form of enterprise customer, the firm is trumpeting and championing is unique mobile device management (MDM) technology.

After all, only BlackBerry's mobile end-to-end technology is trusted by governments and major businesses. That said, Apple's iOS and iPhone ecosystem is catching up and making waves for the Canadian smartphone maker.

Chen said he will offer more in the coming weeks. For now, he said he is "confident" in the company's future and its ability to adapt to changing market needs.

Topics: Smartphones, Enterprise Software

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  • No

    "The big news is that BlackBerry is no longer up for sale"

    No actually the big news was the $199 unlocked 16GB Z10 deal they ahd on their US website on Friday. Sold out now though.
  • Yes very upbeat

    But I won't throw out the black tie yet.
    Alan Smithie
  • reL Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated

    In other words the mainstream media has no credibility after writing BB's epitaph ad nauseum for the past 3 years.
    • They have a habit of doing that.

      They have a habit of doing that.

      They did it to Microsoft ten years ago. Microsoft never died as predicted.

      They're doing it to PCs right now.

      They keep doing it because even a broken clock is right twice a day, and they'll latch onto successful "death" predictions as "proof" of their accuracy.
  • good

    How is a company supposed to recoup even with good structuring if every last move they do is considered on the way out and "their last breath" by the media? For example an article CNET said "another massive restructuring rocks BlackBerry". Chen is redesigning the board. He (assumed) asked the marketing team to step down with others. This is a no brainer move considering their marketing currently sucks. But somehow this purposeful business maneuver means they're "continuing to sink" (Engadget).
  • Sadly all a case of...

    Too little too late. The death knell was dealt long ago.
  • Love or hate, Pleasure in predicting death

    The media thinks that they are reporting, and what they do is predict. They love to predict negativity. When did you read a commentator write, BB is having a difficult time, but their management indicates that new things are on the horizon.

    Blackberry is a good product. It is a superb business product, and their devices are certainly more robust than the stuff that is wafer thin and breaks when you accidentally drop it or sit on it.