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: Japan's NTT to buy German data centre operator

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

Japan's NTT to buy German data centre operator

22 hours ago

Japanese telecom giant NTT Communications is looking to acquire German data centre operator e-shelter, as it seeks to cash in on growing demand in Europe, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Google hits back at rivals with futuristic HQ plan

Feb 27, 2015

Google unveiled plans Friday for a new campus headquarters integrating wildlife and sweeping waterways, aiming to make a big statement in Silicon Valley—which is already seeing ambitious projects from Apple ...

Ericsson sues Apple over patent violations

Feb 27, 2015

Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the US tech giant continued to use its technology in iPhones and other wireless devices after refusing to renew a licencing ...

Stock market shrugs off net neutrality vote

Feb 27, 2015

(AP)—The stock market largely shrugged off the Federal Communications Commission's vote to impose tougher rules on broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to prevent them from creating paid fast lanes for the ...

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....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.