As part of the Code/Conference taking place, BlackBerry CEO John Chen sat down with Walt Mossberg and Ina Fried to discuss what's happening at BlackBerry. On the list of topics covered was new devices, new verticals, developers and how BlackBerry is returning back to its Enterprise roots in order to get the company healthy again and once again reiterated that the company is nowhere near dead but is does have a lot of problems he's hoping to be able to fix.
Speaking with the humor many folks who have heard him speak before have come to know, John Chen laid it out that some parts of the company were sicker than he had presumed when he joined BlackBerry in November 2013. As has been highlighted before, Chen was under the impression the phones portion of the company might have been in better shape than it really was and when asked how he felt the about the company's situation noted "I am quite confident that we'll be able to save the patient,"
To get there and be successful, the company is heading back to its Enterprise roots and creating products to specialized markets where security is important such as their recent movements into healthcare, which Chen also noted BlackBerry is creating specific devices for, and is heavily tied to relevant applications. "We're going back to our enterprise roots, I don't really want to comment on past management decisions, but we cast our net a little too broad. At the same time, we haven't really added value to the enterprise space."
That of course raises the conversation about developers and how to get them onto the BlackBerry 10 platform. "We're working on some of that stuff," said Chen. "We're going to have to tie ourself in some way — and I don't know what the innovative way is yet — to preserve the BlackBerry value add of security, productivity and collaboration." Chen also recognized the issues in that area and noted BlackBerry is probably no longer in the position of being able to support a full ecosystem.
That doesn't mean they'll be building Android devices any time soon though, when asked if BlackBerry would make Android handsets he simply stated "I can't comment on that right now." Just so there's no confusion and miscommunication this time around either, before exiting, Chen made sure to note he's not giving up the consumer market and will make another run of it with the handset business "I am not by any shape of the imagination… giving up yet."