BlackBerry head says company is 'very much alive' (Update)

Dec 02, 2013 by Rob Gillies

BlackBerry's interim chief executive said Monday reports of the death of the company "are greatly exaggerated."

Former Sybase CEO John Chen said in a letter to customers that BlackBerry is returning to its roots, refocusing on delivering devices and services to business users.

Chen was brought in as the interim chief executive and executive chair after talks to sell the company collapsed last month.

He said in the letter that the company is aware that "BlackBerry is not for everyone."

Blackberry quickly lost dominance as the leading smartphone maker after the 2007 launch of Apple's touchscreen iPhone.

Chen notes that competitors are circling but that BlackBerry is "very much alive, thank you."

Chen said BlackBerry has substantial cash and said he'll refocus the company on four areas, including the handset business. Chen put more emphasis on BlackBerry's mobile device management business, which allows IT departments to manage different devices connected to their corporate networks. He also emphasized BlackBerry's popular BlackBerry Messenger application. And he mentioned embedded QNX software systems, which are used in-vehicle infotainment systems and industrial machines.

BGC analyst Colin Gillis said a letter meant to reassure customers is needed. The much-hyped BlackBerry 10 system, its latest phones, flopped. The company disclosed in September that it would book nearly a billion dollars in losses related to unsold phones and the company announced last month it was no longer for sale.

"They are being targeted pretty heavily. Their customers are up for grabs," Gillis said.

Focusing on business users is probably the only move Blackberry has left, Gillis said.

"It's a much smaller business. This is the niche player. You can build phones for those people in that niche. You can have a decent little business," Gillis said. "Enterprise customers who like keyboards. There's not really a good keyboard device out there. Some people like keyboards. I personally don't love typing on glass."

Gillis said he expects Chen to name himself CEO soon because he's not acting like an interim CEO. "He's signing all this stuff as CEO," Gillis said.

Shares of BlackBerry rose 4 cents to $6.37 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.

The decline of the BlackBerry has come shockingly fast. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, changed the culture by allowing on-the-go business people to access wireless email. Then came a new generation of competing smartphones, and suddenly the BlackBerry looked ancient. Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls. In the years since, BlackBerry been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals.

Explore further: BlackBerry shakeup continues as COO, CFO depart (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cerberus interested in BlackBerry

Oct 02, 2013

Private equity firm Cerberus is interested in taking a look at BlackBerry's books as a prelude to a possible bid for the troubled smartphone company.

BlackBerry unveils new Z30 smartphone

Sep 18, 2013

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry has unveiled its new Z30, touting it as the company's biggest, fastest and most advanced smartphone.

Recommended for you

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

10 hours ago

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

23 hours ago

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

US venture investments highest since 2001 (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into a growing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VendicarE
4 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2013
Too little. Too late.

Exactly as I predicted 3 years ago.

COCO
1 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2013
make me CEO - I could not do worse than former chap and the new fellow - plus I could use the severance package - reminds me a wee bit of NORTEL.
goracle
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2013
Where will we get our stories about executives and drunken in-flight freak-outs now? Oh, that's right, Ford's still in office....

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...