BlackBerry scrambles to counter Reuters story; says it won't sell handset business

A Reuters story on Wednesday claimed BlackBerry's chief executive would ditch its handset business amid falling sales. In a follow-up blog post, he countered the claims.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

NEW YORK — Somewhere along the lines, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen's words got minced. At least, so he claims.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Chen allegedly said: "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

It's hard to take that out of context, but that's what Chen said in a blog post following the report's publication, saying: "I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.‎"

Reuters claimed he would not be any more specific, but said it "should" be possible to keep its handset business profitable if it sold 10 million devices a year. At its peak, the company sold 52 million, but sold just 2 million in the last financial quarter. 

According to BlackBerry enterprise president John Sims in a one-on-one session in New York City, who was also in the room with Chen during the interview, said he would monitor things along the way. 

"I'm confident we can make money in the device business," Sims said, but Sims said that was not included in the interview.

"BlackBerry is not a handset-only company," Chen said in the blog post. "That’s why we’re complementing our Devices business with other revenue streams from enterprise services and software, to messaging. We're also investing in emerging solutions such as Machine to Machine [M2M] technologies that will help to power the backbone of the Internet of Things [IoT]."

"We have not given up and we are not leaving the Devices business," he concluded.

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