BlackBerry earnings: 10 key things CEO Thorsten Heins said on the call

BlackBerry earnings: 10 key things CEO Thorsten Heins said on the call

Summary: BlackBerry's earnings were better than expected, but still a mixed bag. Here are 10 points of interest chief executive Thorsten Heins made on the call that followed.

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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins during the BB10 launch in January 2013. (Photo: BlackBerry)

So! The quarterly fiscal results for BlackBerry, the mobility company formerly known as RIM, were announced this morning.

They were better than expected (one million Z10 smartphones sold!), but still a bit mixed. You can read the numbers in Zack Whittaker's news hit here and piece them together in his follow-on analysis here.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins and CFO Brian Bidulka elaborated during a subsequent call with investors. They had quite a few interesting things to say.

Ten quotes to note, plus my translations, below:

1.) "It has not been easy, but the BlackBerry team is delivering." It's a brutally competitive market, and the former RIM was spinning its wheels in despair. Just getting the restructured company (approx. 12,700 employees) to set goals and meet them has been a fundamental achievement and improvement.

2.) "We're seeing a new attitude and cultural shift in the company where we look to innovate faster and [ask] how to operate more efficiently." The worst of our existential crisis is behind us. We're looking forward.

3.) "Revenues for BlackBerry 10 users are similar to other leading platforms." This is with regard to downloads. His point: the demand is there; we just need to meet it with the right products.

4.) "Fifty-five percent of the Z10 customers globally are coming from platforms other than BlackBerry." We've got some traction with our flagship device; don't discount it just because of our corporate troubles.

5.) "Our financial transformation was outstanding. To say it was challenging could be the understatement of the year." I may have goofed in what I said in those early days, but you can't deny that I'm getting our house in order based on the market in which we're now operating -- one that we no longer sit atop of.

6.) "The Q10 launch in April is on track." That's a big deal for a company that has had serious problems in the past keeping promises. Given that the Q10 is the company's next QWERTY device, and that's the form factor used by its most dedicated customers, this matters.

7.) "We are running a business, so we will continue to manage the short-term effectively while not compromising long-term strategy." I'm fully aware that as chief executive, I answer to both shareholders and customers. I'm doing my best.

8.) "We plan to stay in the services industry and are actively building." There are possible revenue growth opportunities in the licensing of BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry messaging services, cross-platform offerings, plus all the security and enterprise services we've made our name on.

9.) "Smartphones will play a major part, but our business includes expanding into other markets." This one's a Bidulka quote. Smartphones may be the big shiny object, but the real wins have been shoring up the company's supply chain and preparing it for an offensive, not defensive, strategy.

10.) "We see strong interest from our corporate customers in maintaining the BlackBerry install base. It means something to them." We've spent decades building this brand, our loyal customers know we made a series of grave missteps in recent years but they're willing to give us the benefit of the doubt now that we've committed ourselves to a new strategy and leadership team.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility, Smartphones

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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8 comments
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  • Other markets isn't supply chain

    Other markets is code for tablets, cars, the Internet of things and what BlackBerry means when they say mobile computing. Like Microsoft they're looking at the next decade of computing, not the last.
    mary.branscombe
    • And they were smart enough...

      And they were smart enough to acquire the ideal operating system, QNX, to allow them to easily access those other markets with a mature, industry tested and accepted OS. I've always thought what BlackBerry was doing was fairly obvious, but judging by the number of negatively spun media reports still being written, there are still a good number of people who haven't clued into it yet. That, or they are being intentionally obtuse.
      xenrobia
      • The "negatively spun reports" have little to do with the company's platform

        ...at least the ones that I've read, anyway. (Perhaps you've seen a different crop.) Most of the skepticism continues to center around the company's consumer (and enterprise-as-consumer) strategy, not so much embedded applications.

        But thanks for highlighting it. Now that it appears the company is on firmer footing, perhaps we can look at this more closely.
        andrew.nusca
        • No, you pretty much nailed it.

          I do agree with you, most writers failed to see the potential of how BlackBerry was re-inventing themselves.
          xenrobia
    • Yes, you're correct.

      I suppose I didn't word that one very well. I only meant to say that you can't do all that until your supply chain is in order. But yes, good point.
      andrew.nusca
    • Re: Like Microsoft they're looking at the next decade of computing, not the

      Unlike Microsoft, they're not trying to emasculate their next-decade products to ensure they don't endanger the ones from the last.
      ldo17
  • Q10 That's the one to look out for.

    BlackBerry Q10 is the most anticipated, I'm eagerly waiting to get my hands on one.
    Mombasa69
  • Excellent Summation

    The best commentary I have seen yet on Mr. Heins Q4 Earnings Call....I too think Mr. Heins and the new BB management team are visionary in scope. They have stopped the bleeding with the introduction of the new OS and are now looking to re-capture market share with multiple devices at multiple price points. The possibilities of expanding into new product lines is due to the strategic purchase of QNX two years prior....brilliant, visionary move by BB. Excited about their future.
    IsMarkWright