BlackBerry CEO, John Chen on Facebook's WhatsApp purchase and what he would sell BBM for

By Bla1ze on 25 Feb 2014 07:49 pm EST
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As expected, BlackBerry CEO, John Chen has been busy at Mobile World Congress this week talking with the press and hosting meetings surrounding the future of BlackBerry. Speaking to CNBC, Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and the valuation of other messaging services came up and John Chen offered up his thoughts on the matter and whether or not he would sell off the BBM if the opportunity arose. 

I work for the shareholder. Standard answer. If somebody comes to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it. I would recommend to the board to take it.

To be clear though, Chen noted that he didn't look at BBM that way and wants to expand BBM as much as possible, which is clear when you look at the expansion of BBM currently happening. At MWC alone, BBM has expanded into Windows Phone as well as Nokia's X platform, launched a new Enterprise solution dubbed BBM Protected and John Chen is already looking at where he can take BBM next.

Reader comments

BlackBerry CEO, John Chen on Facebook's WhatsApp purchase and what he would sell BBM for

72 Comments

I'm laughing now at all the company that turned down buying Blackberry for 4 billon. Facebook just set the bar for messaging. BBM is not that far away from Whatsapp and now saying Blackberry is worth 4 billon is underrated. Don't sell us out for less then 19 billon Mr. Chen.

Google? Apple? You never know, the one important key factor with BBM is its the only secure messaging service out to date.
And NO, nobody had a chance to buy it, because it was never 4 sale. Don't confuse the utter nonsense by the previous management and board with there fumbled and waist of money attempt to sell BBRY as a whole all due to the fact "THEY" dropped the ball, "THEY" messed up the BB10 launch, "THEY" messed up marketing/advertising, "THEY" caused mass confusion, "THEY" assisted and gave the media reason to bash the BBRY image and company, "THEY" messed up well before the BB10 launch.

Don't confuse the 2. BBM was never for sale. It should have gone Cross-Platform at least 2 years ago. And due to this delay, both WhatsApp & kik had ample time to outright COPY BBM. And till this day, they continue to COPY BBM.

This is where Mr. Chen comes into play. He's on a war path to rectify all the nonsense and bring BBRY back in the Black.

BlackBerry Messenger is not a secure instant messaging platform unless the smartphone is associated with a BlackBerry Enterprise Service / Server. For the general public everyone message uses the same encryption key. BlackBerry clearly states this fact in documentation.

Posted via the BlackBerry Q5 using CB10.

It is partly true. It uses public encryption key (that comes in every BB) while the rest of the messaging services send msgs in clear text. So yes it is more secure regardless if connected to a BES or not.

Maybe you should ask the guy who asked Chen the question. Probably wouldn't be cool if Chen replied the way you are hee though, so he has to play along with their "what if" scenario.

Posted via CB10

I don't recall any company offering 19 billion for BBM ? Must have missed that press release? They could have had the entire BlackBerry company for that.

Posted via CB10

BBM will never scan your address book and spam your contacts without your knowledge... so I guess your right in a messed up way.

Posted via CB10

Yes. It was for sale with qnx. And the astonishing tribes. And all their patents. And buildings. And plane. (or did Heins sell that before?) it kinda looks like it was a bargain

Posted via CB10

Yes, because security and privacy is not compatible with hardcore profiling and exposure of user's activity (they choose to, of course!) on the web.

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

BlackBerry was a bargain, but no one bit in time. I bet there are a lot of them now wish they had. Chen answered the question correctly. In business, nothing is ever written in stone, and never leave options off the table. After all, it's business. Also BlackBerry has not paid dividends in the past to speak of, therefore making the only reward to investors a stock price increase. If they paid 5 percent, they wouldn't know what to do with all the money. Good investors only buy stocks that pay a dividend.

Posted via CB10

Despite the debacle regarding the sale of BBRY, something that should never have taken place in the 1st place. BBRY made it quite clear; the company is for sale as a whole. NOT in pieces. This is why they continued to conduct business as nothing was happening. Hence phone sales, enterprise etc.,

But unfortunately BlackBerry did a terrible job in telling people and the media the actual plan. Leaving people in the dark, not saying anything resulted in mass BB10 device returns, mass media bashing, analysts recommending that enterprise look elsewhere for their device management needs etc.,

BlackBerry's previous management team and BOD really caused BlackBerry a lot of unnecessary damage. This is why I SALUTE Mr. Chen in his divisive ACTION as soon as he became CEO. He basically cleaned up management, and is hard at work to rectify all the nonsense caused by the previous administration.

The LACK of Marketing Alone almost killed off BB10. Almost 90% of the world had no idea what a BB10 was. Most if not all iOS and Android Fanboyz were preaching that BB10 was nothing more than a very limited and minor upgrade from BB7. And that if you require real change to adopt the competitions platforms instead. Obviously they were either flat out lying or they too truly did not know what BB10 was.

Mr. Chen will never make this mistake.

Did you hear him? Make no mistakes.

"Mr. Chen makes no mistakes."

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

Prem knew when he put the offer in. Just that no one else was interested, so he did not raise the 4.7b

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

I don't like the idea of ever selling BBM. I've always supported it going cross platform but at the same time it should always be most at home on a BlackBerry. It should be integrated with BlackBerry 10 like no other and be an integral part of the OS, developed in tandem with the OS.

Posted via CB10

i really do not like the idea of selling BBM...the BlackBerry phone will lose it's worth just as they went cross-platform too!

Lol... I like him. He has a sense of humor.

"Quick, take the idiot's money before someone with half a brain talks him out of it!", basically.

Magnificently composed using CB10 on my BB Z10!

Show me more of John on video,I love the way he smiles.I was thinking just a few minutes ago how this man seems to be in total control.I missed news about new customers the last couple of weeks as we were bombarded with new announcements about companys signing up for BB services and Boom he comes out with to many to mention and the stock soars.This guy has the golden touch ,he hasn't given anyone reason to doubt his efforts or his commitment to achieve his goals he is definetly going to turn BB around,we all know how much BB is really worth and selling the company piece by piece without being desparate is a great move,look at the real estate deal.Just don't sell Certicom right now,maybe in 10 yearsHAHA

Functionality, stability, usability, heterogeneity and above all effective marketability is what will deem BBM, a service with sustainable competitive advantage.

Posted via CB10

You know, three years from now it's going to be hilarious when Microsoft buys BlackBerry for BES10, QNX, & BBM. That's going to fill in the gaps with Nokia Asha, X series, Lumia, and Skype.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10 using pure energy

I love my Q10. If somebody comes to me with $1.9 million, I would definitely sell it. I would recommend to my board (wife) to take it.

Posted via CB10

Great comment. It's amazing how mainstream media picked up the story and didn't realize that it was dripping with sarcasm.

Posted via CB10

BBM in Automobile, BBM for military applications. Future soldier will will have wearable computer.

BBM Home security? BBM NFC Currency transaction ? You will not need a credit card anymore.

BlackBerry Lead

Do Not Follow

Posted via CB10

How could it be sold with the name BBM?
I would think that BBM would first have to be spun-off into two parts/names:

1) Some catchy messenger name for the masses with no common name to BlackBerry.
2) Corporate messenger, that would be associated with the BlackBerry name.

You fill in whatever those names would be.

Grow or die.

They have to continue adding features and users. I noticed Rolling Stone has a bbm channel, Disney, Time, keep it growing and this thing will take off.

JSC - Don't underestimate the Chen.
Don't bet against the Preminator.
Between these two men they have more staggering turnarounds than analysts have original thoughts, and more originality than the tech press has insight (present company excepted).

# BlackBerry = BraveNewWorld

Posted via CB10

19 billion for bbm? Cute of him to suggest that such an offer would come and the obvious answer that he would take it. They couldn't sell the entire company including bbm for a third that price.

BBM has how many active users? Versus how many with Whatsapp? That's why they got what they did, and because the whatsapp CEO is on the FB board and friends with Zuckerberg. Majority stock, more of a partnership than a purchase.

Posted via CB10

So BlackBerry may, or may not remain in the hardware business, and now hypothetically speaking they would even sell off BBM if the price was high enough? Sounds like we are more loyal to the Blackberry experience than BlackBerry is!

Posted via CB10

Selling BBM would pretty much closing the door on the company. BES is great and secure, buy the livelihood of the company is that product. Especially when they have expanded to all platforms

Posted via CB10

WhatsApp’s value is in the personal information of its 450+ million users. BBM can't remain BBM and give it's customers information away the same way WhatsApp does so needs to find value in some other way.

I hope that John Chen's vision for building value into BBM is only by expanding on its core principles of security and corporate services. That would be real and sustainable value imo.

Posted via CB10

BBM needs to stay with BlackBerry. BBM has the ability to get the general populace to speak of BlackBerry in a positive manner again. The possibility of monetizing BBM is there. BBM is too big of a feather to pull it out of the BlackBerry hat.

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

This is the one aspect of Chen that I think BlackBerry fans should watch out for. Chen is here to make money for shareholders more than he is here to make BlackBerry a successful company over the long term. Obviously we all want both, but I think there is always going to be the worry that we wake up one morning and find that the company and brand we love has been out on the block and hacked up for short to medium term shareholder cash.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

But I don't think, that BlackBerry would sell BBM. Chen made some jokes yesterday :-) He is cool and talks to us, that's what a god CEO should do :-)

Don't sell bbm
Implement vidéo cross-platform asap
Put it desktop
Pour in some efficient marketing
Shake and serve

Posted via CB10

Don't sell BBM cause it should stay with the Blackberry company if it sells I'll stop using it Mr Chen cause ur all bout the money

Posted via CB10

BBM on BlackBerry devices is awesome. I love it. It's my favorite part of the phone. Why would anyone use anything but BBM for messaging? WhatsApp is a complete knock off of bbm without the security.

Posted via CB10

The most important thing now is to work on their advertising and marketing strategy. It just has to have one or two really good ads you know.

Posted via CB10

I'm into privacy... same reason why I don't have Facebook... Way too invasive... BBM all the way to the top... I can care less about What??? oh 16 billion...

Posted via CB10

I don't care how much someone offers, we damn sure better not sell BBM! That's not cool. Not for any amount of money.

Posted Via CB10 From My BBQ10 On The Verizon 4G LTE Network

Please don't sell BBM for even a penny less than 19 billion or for 19 billion. BBM is way worth more than Whats app, it just needs a bit more time as the voice option for cross platform just got introduced. So it will be way more worth than Whats app.

Can't fault John Chen if he accepted $19 billion if offered. Anybody in their right mind would not turn it down. :)

Posted via CB10

Wtf, u want 19$ billion for BBM, m sure it dose not worth it. May be only 15% of BlackBerry user uses BBM

Posted via CB10