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BlackBerry CEO John Chen: 'The journey has just begun'

By Adam Zeis on 30 Dec 2013 08:59 am EST
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New BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been full-steam ahead lately. He's dropped some great notes to his employees, had his first earnings call and looks to be powering through changes inside BlackBerry HQ. Today, Mr. Chen also had a commentary posted on CNBC that lends a bit more to his overall plan.

Chen starts out by saying that he's "not focused on who BlackBerry used to be", but "on what BlackBerry will be today and in the future." He notes that the company is strong financially and that in under two months, they have already engineered a strategy to stabilize the company. Chen first wanted to focus on the enterprise users along with BES, then moving focus to software and services. 

BBM growth has been strong as well since going cross platform in October, and Chen notes that in the last 60 days, more than 40 million new iOS and Android users have registered with BBM. BlackBerry "will continue to invest in this popular service" and has plans to turn BBM into a revenue stream "in the coming years."

We've accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we're positioned for the long haul. We have a strong cash position with more than $3 billion on hand, a renewed spirit, and trusted technology, network and platform.

While Mr. Chen doesn't dive too much further into what we don't already know, he does give a great summary and affirmation of what BlackBerry has done so far since he's been at the helm, and also what we can expect from the company in the coming months. We're anxious to chat some more with BlackBerry next week during CES in Las Vegas and find out more about future plans for the company, software, BBM and of course devices -- so stay tuned.

Hit up original post here for the full commentary from CNBC.

Reader comments

BlackBerry CEO John Chen: 'The journey has just begun'

142 Comments

Yup seems like a serious man, let's hope for a berry new year... cb kinda late with news lately what's up?

Posted via CB10

Let's hope so. He seems like he doesn't speak without a power play behind his words. I am excited to find out what he has in store.

Aspiring Entrepreneurs visit My Channel C001CAE75

BlackBerry is making me feel happy lately. Mr. Chen is doing a great job and is heading the right way. I'm all in with BlackBerry and bb10. Just waiting on att to start selling the Z30.

Soon, Google will buy Wallmart, McDonalds and Ford, then they will begin their conquest to rule the world.

Actually, i would hate for android to be in control of a car. Maleware, then the car will drive itself off the road and you'll get spammed to buy coins on the way to death.

Google, Wal Mart, Ford, Chase Bank and even Apple are all part of the same entity that has secretly had 'control' of the world for many decades now. It's called Illumicorp.

Posted via CB10

As good as android may be I would never buy a android powered car...
Well unless I'm forces to, like some people who's shopping for an affordable phone and they end up with a cheap android

Posted via CB10

Well, Google seems to have struck up a joint agreement with Audi. QNX already provide services to the automobile companies, but how this competes with Google, don't know.

Posted via CB10

It's so good to see this level of communication & commitment coming from BBRY now. I think if anyone can turn BlackBerry around, it's this man right here.

Posted Via CB10 using the power of "Q"

That's exactly what everyone here said about Heins.

So you'll understand why I am a bit underwhelmed by Chen. I might be jaded by the "great" presidents and CEOs that made similar promises at the various companies I worked at during the years...one which is now bankrupt, another sold off to some middle eastern conglomerate, another that....well, you get the point. Those guys were all refreshing too.

He is still interim.

They can keep him interim for a while. Who knows, maybe he doesn't want to be CEO, he might be just there for the turnaround

Posted via CB10

It was blogged. It was on here I read it. Don't have the link and I am far to lazy to find it. Just have to read one of the blogs around the ER. He removed the interim tag himself and indicated he is here for the long haul.

CB10'n it via da Z

Well damn with working 2 jobs and trying to have time to be a father husband and sleep I'm missing all the good stuff lol. I'll just Google around then till I find it. Thanks for the heads up though.

If he can right the ship and bring BlackBerry back to black is yet to be determined. What can be said is he has been doing good PR with not only what he has announced but the timing of the press releases. He seems to be more savy with investor relations then the previous two regimes.

If he can convince the street they are heading in the right direction they will spread the word. Then and only then will perception change.

CB10'n it via da Z

Saw the video clip of Chen. Seems like a nice guy and much less rigid than Thor was.

I have high hopes he'll help right the ship. May take a long while, but here's hoping!

Now let's see how his words affect the market when it opens in half an hour

Posted via CB10

Bravo. He said that he would be open (transparent).

He cannot restate the BlackBerry message often enough. We've all seen, heard, and read the bashing meted out to BlackBerry over the last few years. We all know of people who believe BlackBerry is dead and gone.

While it is clear from his actions that he has an internal corporate plan that is being implemented, it is also vital that John Chen presents a public vibrant face of BlackBerry.

BlackBerry is here to stay, here to prosper. Say it again.

Posted via CB10

At the time BlackBerry management, in particular, deserved 90% of the bashing it received. With a new CEO who has an actual plan of action BlackBerry can drive more positive media attention as results are delivered. Too bad John Chen had not been hired as CEO back in 2011 to avoid much of the turmoil of the past three years. My question: Who is providing technical support for the BlackBerry products in the aftermath of massive lay-offs? Not everyone in the company was working in research and development. Who ya gonna call? Ghost Hunters.

It's not hard to find 25 percent of office staff wasting days away doing nothing but Facebook, Twitter, browsing the Web etc, and if you don't agree with this statement, it's well documented and you can easily find the use of Internet traffic use during working hours. Perhaps BlackBerry monitored their traffic for use and got rid of the 25 percent.

Posted via CB10

Using the z30 for Verizon for a few days now I can easily say I have a lot of faith in blackberry. Very strong device that is a good mix of build quality and awesome software. Bb10 is meant for a large display imo.

Chen seems to be the right guy but I'm not buying in just yet. I got shafted by talk before.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted via CB10

There is just one thing that remains to be done: Chen has not yet sent Uncle Guido to visit the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T.

Good job John Chen. Proactive, open and honest.

I think the move to four divisions with clear P&Ls on each makes sense. 

Also like that he's directly calling out the MDM competitors. Lot of ex-BB people at those companies trying to make them fly. But BB still the biggest, most global, most trusted. 

Is it just me or does it feel like we said so much of the same things when Heins took over? Maybe not the exact same words Kevin said here but in general.

Hein's was just labelled the second worst CEO for 2013,his first interview he Is quoted as saying ..I don't think there is some drastic change needed...well?

Am happy and ticking my z30. Keep it open for use if data plan... BES can wait. when I have my data n wifi..

Posted via CB10

This CEO is a much better communicator than the company has ever had in its history. As 2014 dawns BlackBerry is charting a new course.

Good Luck Mr. Chen!

Revive BlackBerry back to the Battlefield! Assault dem competitors!

~BF4 Player hehe :D also proud Z10 owner

BlackBerry is still losing billions in unsold inventory and its cash position, which is so pompously overstated, can and will change dramatically if things don't improve. I really hope Chen can bring about the necessary structural changes BB needs otherwise they might as well remain a niche player.

They already wrote off the inventory.. How are they continuing to lose billions on the z10? You can't magically make it lose more money when it's already been dealt with..lol

FYI they have 3 billion in CASH and zero debt..bleeding what!

Is it really zero debt. They did take a billion from Fairfax and they are selling off buildings. They do have 3 billion, but cash on hand is being sustained via 1 billion injection, selling off if assets and layoffs. However, they are on a better path now, but heavy bleeding will continue for the near future. There is no escaping that.

Posted via CB10

What "heavy bleeding" are you talking about? Care to expand in a logical and rational manner. Maybe you know something others don't know. :)
Just curious, how does BlackBerry getting "nimbler and more efficient" translate to more "heavy bleeding will continue for the near future"?

A great wine's taste is with time, It's going to be the same here. I think this man is qualified for the job, If he knows how to keep the lid (cork) in place before pouring out new info. It will help to keep the nasayers (if thats a word) quiet, and Blackberry growing back to the position they need to get back to. I really like his take on things, also he doesn't use the word "aaaaaaa" at all. He's precise and knowledgeable about what he wants, what he see's for the future. He's not going on "i guess we will see what happens", unlike other's before him. "Chen Up" LOL!

I hope they will make that transition at maximum speed, I have a friend who works at Ontario government IT department, according to him, the government is working on getting rid off BlackBerry BES...

Posted via CB10

Ya well the current Liberal government in Ontario is completely incompetent at best. Look at their power projects they mothballed costing the tax payers billions. Now use Canadian Tax Payer money to switch platforms from a Canadian Company to a non Canadian one with less security for the taxpayers information. She won't be getting my vote, if it really is a she. Not quite sure....

Posted via CB10

I agree, it makes me mad as well.

I hope there's a way to make it crystal-clear to the whoever is making the decision in our government it is not ok switched.

Posted via CB10

Our IT department tried every platform out there when there was talk BlackBerry was going to disappear.

Just traded my 9900 in for a Q5 last week. :)

Nothing better than a BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Mr Chen has spoken very clearly.

He has read the same book.....From Good to Great by Jim Collins.

BlackBerry is a good company but Mr Chen wants it to be a Great Company.

It's not the 'Where ' it's the ' Who '

He is driving the BlackBerry bus, he needs to make sure that the right people are in the right positions. Then the journey can begin.

Posted via CB10

I was really hoping for something from BlackBerry this week. Im liking that every couple of weeks he is sending out some sort of message. This is a definitely a new BlackBerry. Thanks Mr. Chen!

I truly admire this man! He has stepped into a huge pile of crap and is taking the necessary steps to remove the waste. BlackBerry has potential and this man has dedication.

Mr. John Chen please know that you have strong group of followers behind you.

Keep The Faith  BlackBerry Q10 

Not sure how many people get your joke, I'm guessing not many people are here with accounting background, specially with US accounting knowledge.

Posted via CB10

I've heard it all before. Big plans....Hopefully this time will be different. There is so much potential at BlackBerry. Execution has been the problem as of late.

Posted via CB10

John Chen is saying and doing all the right things. Let's hope it works. My concern is as a T-Mobile USA customer will they still support this product? So far no OS updates and no word on the Z30. If Chen could include comments on Blackberry's future with carriers, future products etc...I would feel more comfortable staying with this brand. Here in NYC BlackBerry is dead. Nobody I know would even consider buying one.

BTW...Z10 is an awesome phone!

Posted via CB10

Great way to articulate what we've all been talking about for the past year in terms of what BlackBerry needs to accomplish. I'm still hoping to hear about a new PR and marketing team that can further disseminate this message to the masses.

Posted via CB10

Funny how you people all of a sudden bash on Thorsten Heins. I remember clearly the same hype you guys used to talk now, when Heins was CEO. "Nice guy! - I love him already, bla bla!"

Mr Chen is in charge for 2 months now, and you guys are already PUMPED UP and convinced that he will make it better than Heins.

Give me a break. You can thank Heins for pushing the deadlines for the great BB OS 10! And the devices.

The hypocrisy here is beyond normal. Give Mr. Chen time. As he stated out, BB will be profitable in 2016.

I hope that they will still be around. The last thing I want to see is an Android/ios duopoly. The more competition among platforms, the better.

Posted from my Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet

Agreed, too much Koolaide, too fast. Everyone deserves a Honeymoon, but please. Déjà vu all over again.

I can't believe the comments I read on here. I'm with Firstmaster on this one. While Chen certainly has potential I don't think a single thing has changed until we see the next couple Financial quarters. Talk is cheap and Blackberry was very good in talking in the past. When Mr. Heins received the Canadian Executive of the year award a lot of people praised him and look at the comments now. Just WOW
http://crackberry.com/thorsten-heins-wins-cantech-letter-tsx-eecutive-ye...

I would love to know the future of consumer devices. He said focus on bez then software and services. Nothing about us the faithful. AT&T is pulling away from BlackBerry hard. The stopped with all BlackBerry 7 devices telling the corporations that use bes its time to get off BlackBerry. They had BlackBerry build the Z30 then backed out and now BlackBerry has a big write off. Chen isnt saying much about that.
Now sources my compensation and my father in laws company using 9900 my company was told that they will no longer be getting replacement 9900. But my company is transitioning away from BlackBerry anyway. My father in-law's company use only 9900's was told by AT&T no more.
My other source is a BlackBerry carrier rep who informed me that comsumer devices at least in the USA will be slowly die off and BlackBerry will focus on prosumers that can buy unlocked devices. Now that brings me to the Z30 BlackBerry has plenty of Z30's built for AT&T and is trying very hard to get them to pick it up. So I asked why wont they sell them unlocked on the shopblackberry.com website, he said they cant unless AT&T picks them up. We are looking at a big write off of a device the public wants.
I love my unlocked Z30 and hope we get a Z50. BlackBerry to the death!!!!

Sent by the worlds best phone the Z30

I agree BBRY has a lot of work ahead of themselves. Chen needs to work with the carriers and the enterprise together. Strong consumer device perception will also accelerate enterprise business.

BBRY also needs to start selling unlocked devices via its website, such as the Z10 and Z30. Chen needs to strike a deal with the carriers.

You know what?

I'm okay with that...for a while.

Let them take the focus off the consumer product for a while. It's dead anyway. Perfect that OS. Develop some great high-end handsets. Let the bigwigs use them. And slowly consumers will want them. And then they'll have a chance to re-launch.

John Chen really speaks the right words on the right times. His recent strategical decisions also indicate he knows where he wants to go with BlackBerry :). Good job so far! Image rebuilding!

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)

I am very excited to see him work in 2014!! Cheers to the new year!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON!

I'm excited about this new direction that BlackBerry is taking and Mr Chen is in the drivers seat.

Verizon Z10 is my choice.

AT&T wake up.

Posted via CB10

What journey has just begun? The journey to total failure? I have been a huge BlackBerry fan and stuck by them through everything for the last 10 years until I finally hit the last straw when my BlackBerry Q10 decided to randomly delete all of my text messages, call logs and ALL of my GMAIL account last week!! I am finally done with BlackBerry. As soon as someone gives me a decent $ for this piece of junk, I'm jumping ship. Why don't you ever run storied like that Crackberry? Why don't you tell people about BlackBerry's issues. Like deleting people's entire e-mail accounts and all of their history. BlackBerry can no longer be trusted.

Posted via CB10

Prem Watsa is among the few who knows what's really on deck at BlackBerry HQ. You now have two people, Watsa and Chen very highly optimistic about BlackBerry. Given both of these gentlemen's track records in tech, step back and ask yourself "what is the probability of BlackBerry's failure to survive given these two names are on the opposite of that bet?"

As for me, go TeamBlackBerry :)

Posted from BitPusher's Q10

John, a well articulated plan for the future.

If you read these comments then I have a couple of points to share:

1. A number of my colleague are now going to buy a BlackBerry 10 device now that they know BlackBerry is here to stay.

2. Unfortunately, there are still many people I meet in the street who tell me that BlackBerry is dead. Some further work needs to be done to change this perception.

3. Another point that many people make to me is BlackBerry price point. These individuals tell me that they will buy a BlackBerry today if the price is right. $300 off contract seems to be an agreed price point for the Z10. (Canada)

4. I work in Engineering and many of my colleagues use older BlackBerry phones with physical keyboards. They are currently looking to upgrade and appear to be more interest in the touch screen variants now than ever before.

5. Finally, I would like to hear you (John Chen) say something about BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 at launch. Please make sure to let the world know that they should take another look at BlackBerry and make sure they know why... also no other mobile operating system can run two ecosystems...yet!

Posted via CB10

Point 5 is brilliant!

That would be EXACTLY the moment to blast out the message again.

Push the Picture Password feature to emphasise the security features. Show people the new new.

Posted via CB10

Make a tablet with BB10, or update the existing ones already out there.

BlackBerry....you need a tablet. I hate using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.

Posted CB 10

Fully agree, as much as I enjoy the PlayBook OS2.0, they need another 2 new tables, one a 7" and one a 10" for both the enterprise and consumers. Many people look at tablets so they can connect with there smart phones. Make them all based on BB10.

Wonderful, Chen is the man with a BlackBerry vision. Go get them Chen.
I also hope BlackBerry has several BB10 devices at the CES in Las Vegas to show off and perhaps give away.

Chen is pulling the wool over your eyes and when fails to revive BB, is ousted and collects his 100 million, everyone that said anything positive on this comments section will be demanding for his lynching. Hilarious!

As full CEO, he should be required to spend the majority of his work week in Waterloo. That's how you run a company - on site.
As for Elvis, I heard he's been spotted in Vegas... :p

Strong financially? Has Chen forgot about the inventory writedowns?
Or the fact BlackBerry are burning through cash like it's going out of fashion?

BlackBerry need a swift kick somewhere painful.

I really hope that blackberry is here to stay. They have made some really good devices within the past year or so and with blackberry 10, it makes the experience even better.
Blackberry is in a good position, android is a mass market device is that is just shoved on to a mass market produced phone which doesn't gell well with the hardware and eats up the battery. Apples ios while it blends with the hardware well, is very much locked down and isn't exactly aimed at a power user or prouder what where you call it.

I have a lot of faith in Mr.Chen. I hope he really gets some results because he has work cut out for him.

I keep saying the following over and over;

Carriers are almost literraly bashing BlackBerry at any conversation you have with them. Just mention BlackBerry and the disgust is almost non containable (I know first hand on a daily basis). The store reps are so in deep with either Apple or Android it's mind-boggling.

People are very easily fooled by numbers. Beef up the specs and add a few more OS options.

We need more emotional marketing like apple does. Our commercials are ridiculous.

The phones also need to be about 10-15% cheaper than the competitor's similar product.

Once the phones are selling well, we can gain power and demand more apps to be native.

No matter what, it's a crazy uphill battle that has to be fought.

Posted via CB10

Chen really stepped up BlackBerry's game on the strategical and even PR front. He has great business insight and really communicates well!

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)

Seems we heard a similar story not m
Long back. What's different this time,? Less market share, more debt, less customers, more competition, and lackluster brand image. But he's gonna turn it around. Pass the funny stuff.

Posted via CB10

Well if you don't know let me in lighten you all other systems only really work with qnx please researcher before you comment, it makes you look very ignorant, and trust me we have plenty of those people here, people who have never tried bb10 talk so much shit it's not funny

Posted via CB10

I bet you can BlackBerry! Go ahead. And I think Mr Chen is doing a great job and will make BlackBerry jump as far as we think people. Count on me :-) I do support and have faith on you.

Posted via CB10

All I heard Chen say was QNX and BES are the way forward. BlackBerry doesn't need carrier approval with those products. In the USA I just don't see AT&T or Verizon doing anything to promote BB10. They now have Windows Phone as their third ecosystem.

Posted via CB10 on my  Z10

What a farce! Strong financially, HA! Has no one looked at the last earnings call by BBRY, $4 billion in losses??? They've had to write down millions of dollars of inventory that no one wants to buy. How did John's comments get past the screening process??

BBRY's low cost devices are shit, how will it compete with a Nexus 5? My Q10, I admit is a good device but that's because I don't care about the gazillion apps out there.

No one gives a hoot by about BES 10, people don't want to shift from BES 7 as the former is perceived as just a VPN tunnel with a bunch of MDM policies.

Posted via CB10

Agree. this sounds just like a repeat of when Thorsten took over. Everybody felt all happy and hopeful, frolicking in the flower fields and holding hands. LA LA LA! You guys will be talking $hit about him soon enough like you guys did with Thorsten...and the CEO's before him even. Thorsten did a good job. it's just hard to crack a niche into the market when it is dominated already by two entrenched OS's. Which is why, just recently, BB10 had to update to allow for app downloads directly from the Google Play store. The hard part is already done thanks to the guys BEFORE Chen. Now Chen just has to take the great devices that was already created and make people want it. But when that fails, you guys will be bitching about him too.

Hopefully they have the right person take this great company forward I'm confident about the future just bought the bold 9900 so I'm happy:)

My Uncle Thomas just got a fantastic green Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible only from working part time off a laptop. find out this here
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Chen has strong vision and am sure he will take out the company from troubled waters. He means business and is here to stay.

Posted via CB10