Feeds

Would you work for BlackBerry boss Chen? He says his biz has 50:50 chance of success

We'll find out in two years, former Sybase man says

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Will BlackBerry be able to recover from its recent woes and once again become a profitable company? To hear BlackBerry CEO John Chen tell it, the chances of his turnaround strategy succeeding are about as good as a coin toss.

In a newly published interview with the Financial Times that was conducted during the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona last week, Chen said he thought the company had a "50:50 chance" of escaping its downward spiral, but added that he remained optimistic.

"I think when you look at turnaround history in the technology market – although there's not a lot – but not too long ago IBM went through it, and not too long ago Apple went through it," Chen said. "I think this is really about catching the technology market wave. And if we've done it correctly [BlackBerry] could be a dominant player again."

Chen has made a number of aggressive moves since taking over from previous BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in November. Most notably, he's shaken up the company's top executives and he forged a new partnership with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn.

By teaming up with an outside manufacturing partner, Chen hopes to avoid the crippling inventory write-downs that plagued BlackBerry throughout 2013, which he said the Canadian firm "cannot just keep enduring."

The Z3, the first Foxconn-built BlackBerry handset, is due to ship in April at a sub-$200 price point, and Chen said the two companies are already in talks about producing a second device.

In addition, Chen said that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), the company's secure messaging platform, remains "a very, very strategic part" of the company's server business. The service now claims 85 million monthly active users, having expanded to include Android and iOS users for the first time in October, and BBM clients will soon come bundled on Android and Windows Phone devices from Nokia.

Asked whether BBM might soon be worth WhatsApp's $19bn, however, Chen dodged the question, but said he always keeps the best interests of shareholders in mind.

As for when BlackBerry shareholders might see results from Chen's turnaround plan, the CEO said he hoped to see the company's cash flow break even within four quarters, and that it would return to profitability by the end of March 2016.

"Everything else – we've released new phones, the server technology, the BBM expansion, the QNX wins – all of that is just support for the two things I mentioned," Chen said. "So I think that's going to be the measurement." ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.