Feeds

BlackBerry CEO John Chen: Y'know what, we'll go back to enterprise stuff

Firm's Mr Fixit says it's 'well-positioned for the future'

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes

Interim BlackBerry CEO John Chen says critics should quit dwelling on the snakebit smartphone vendor's past missteps and look instead to what the company plans to do tomorrow.

In an editorial published by CNBC on Monday, Chen said that he has crafted a new strategy for the Canadian firm that leaves it "well-positioned for the future," adding that it has taken him less than two months to do so.

"This isn't the first time I've held the reins at a tech company facing challenging circumstances," Chen wrote – a reference to his time as CEO of Sybase, which he returned to profitability after a sharp downturn in the late 1990s.

Chen praised BlackBerry's top management as "a talented team of industry leaders," sidestepping the fact that he axed several of the company's execs shortly after his appointment, eliminating some executive positions in the process.

Going forward, he said, BlackBerry will operate with a new structure that comprises four distinct operating units: Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded, and Devices.

Chen said BlackBerry's Enterprise Services group, which will henceforth be managed by former SAP exec John Sims, remains the industry leader in mobile device management.

"With a global enterprise customer base exceeding 80,000, we have three times the number of customers compared to Good, AirWatch and MobileIron combined," he wrote.

He also noted that BlackBerry is the only such vendor to receive the US Department of Defense's coveted Authority to Operate (ATO) certification, and that its tech is the favorite of security-conscious governments around the globe.

On the Messaging front, Chen said BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is a hit with smartphone users everywhere, even though the company doesn't yet make any money from it. More than 40 million Android and iOS users have installed the service since BlackBerry opened it up to outside platforms in October, he said, and he hopes to turn that base into a revenue stream "in the coming years."

As for Embedded, "QNX has always been one of our most exciting technologies," Chen wrote – and by "always," we assume he means ever since 2010, the year BlackBerry acquired the company that invented it.

Although much of the focus of late has been on how QNX underlies the BlackBerry 10 smartphone platform, the original real-time OS continues to sell well for machine-to-machine applications, Chen said, and BlackBerry plans to unveil "new capabilities and cloud services" at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

That leaves what is perhaps BlackBerry's most contentious business division, the Devices unit. Several analysts have urged the Canadian firm to ditch its smartphone business altogether in the wake of disastrous writedowns on unsold inventory of its latest models, but Chen has been steadfast in pooh-poohing that idea.

In his Monday missive, Chen said BlackBerry has streamlined its devices business model – it has reportedly ditched some planned consumer models in favor of focusing on the enterprise market – and that the five-year manufacturing partnership it has signed with Foxconn will help keep costs down and reduce time-to-market for new products.

"With a partner dedicated to our hardware, BlackBerry can focus on what we do best – iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise-mobility management," Chen wrote.

The proof, of course, will be in the pudding. During BlackBerry's most recent earnings call with financial analysts on December 20, Chen said he expected the company's first product to be produced by Foxconn to debut in the Indonesian market in March or April of 2014. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?