BlackBerry CEO John Chen talks to CNBC about the Z3 launch

By Bla1ze on 28 May 2014 06:13 pm EDT
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There has been plenty of talk surrounding the launch of the BlackBerry Z3 and ultimately how sales are going. As we noted early on, pre-orders for the device seemingly went well and when launch day came around, there was plenty of buzz at retailers as well. BlackBerry themselves spoke about the launch on their Inside BlackBerry Blog.

Thus far, the company and more importantly BlackBerry CEO John Chen seem happy with the results. John Chen is speaking the the Re/Code Conference today and we're expecting more video from that soon but before that event, he sat down with CNBC to offer discuss the Z3 launch and BlackBerry's strategy going forward. You can check out the video from that portion below.

Reader comments

BlackBerry CEO John Chen talks to CNBC about the Z3 launch

105 Comments

Good launch so far.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Where's the video, B?

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Flash video with a funky embed, open it your browser and well.. ensure Flash is enabled. Sorry, not my fault CNBC is using embed styles from 1990. :P

Thanks B! You're the BEST!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Birdman! Brrrrrdddd!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

BB is now less than 1% of the phone market.
It will be a big improvement for the Z3 to double these numbers to 2%.
So far, since John has been in charge (almost a half year), there has been no marketing in the developed world (except developing market Indonesia).

Even in Indonesia where BBM is favored, the consumers are going for sub $100 Androids (that run BBM) vs $200 BB's. After launch, it has been reported by media that there are no in store line-ups for Z3's.

What good is it to make great products if they do not bring real sales?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-28/blackberry-market-share-to-fall...

"BlackBerry’s global shipments are projected to fall almost 50 percent this year to about 9.7 million smartphones, according to a new forecast today from research firm IDC. BlackBerry’s worldwide market share will slide to 0.8 percent in 2014 and may slip to 0.3 percent by 2018, IDC said. The company’s operating system accounted for 1.9 percent of the market in 2013."

Androids under 100 are frankly garbage. Apps don't work and your lucky if you receive email. There is a reason they call it cheap.

The Z3 is a value phone. It gives you a solid BB10 experience. Screen could be better but hey unlike Android everything works.

You get what you pay for. If you pay $hit, you get $hit. It's not rocket science.

Posted via CB10

You my friend said the key word.....VALUE!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

That's your opinion and honestly not a very smart one...there are a host of very capable Android devices that are $100 such as the Moto G 8GB which is $99.99 Your comment can easily be turned around to reflect the garbage device that BB has also made in the past..Truth be told BB is ass out and this guy Chen isn't going to do anything any differently..Blackberry can't compete at the high end and they're losing at the lower end of the spectrum. I love all of you BB fans bragging about their devices while their global share gets smaller and smaller. Who cares what people in Indonesia buy. They're not even winning in their own back yard . They're non existent in North America. Mr. Chen is a letter writer and a talker...talk is cheap though...he wont be able to stop the hemorrhaging there's nothing more to sell off and they're burning through cash at an expeditious rate.

Yeah but the majority of android phones that I have personally sold for 100 bucks or so have always come back with a problem. They make a phone and slap android on it. As far a the American market...sure we can all agree that BlackBerry has lost the market but for example.....you have two flowers or what have you. One is dead....and the other is struggling to stay alive, if you were in a position to save one of the flowers, would you use your water to try to bring the dead flower back to life or use that water to nourish the one that is not dead? (i.e. Indonesia, enterprise, other flourishing markets.)

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Alas, what you say about low price phones may be true today, but, better quality one's are only a short time away.

Can we say that BB10's are great quality? Quality does not = sales. Are Apple and Samsung different in quality? Likely not different.
What each of these two companies has is great support from their app stores and seemingly limited-less budgets to build alliances with carriers for retail sales.

I disagree to an extent. I do believe quality = sales. You can only put out crap for so long until people get fed up with it. Now when we start talking about high end devices that are $400 and up, those have a better quality because they have the specs to somewhat handle the OS. In my personal experience I have never had someone return a BlackBerry because their massaging app forced closed and couldn't be fixed unless they downloaded a third party app like handsent sms.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Sub $100 Android based devices are garbage. Its a basic fact, and a well known one. People are slowly waking up to junk devices and realizing how junk they are. The feel of a BlackBerry 10 device regardless of price, feels high end. That is what matters, put in the best mobile OS and software and you have something people are willing to pay a little extra for.
This is why the Z3 in reality should do very well. Under $200 for the Z3 is a steal. Bar None, and the best value device out to date for a mid range.

Sorry, Moto G is $249 off the shelf here in Australia, nowhere to be seen under $199 so far.

Still an OK price for a capable dual SIM Android.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

Thanks for that.. people should stop comparing shittish cheap android phones to the well built z3

Posted via CB10

Good. I hope they end up at. 01% so I can have even more of an unfair advantage over the sheep that only giggle over screen resolution and processor speed.

As long as BlackBerry stock price rises through all other avenues of revenue, I am good.

The Z3 sales has been good in Indonesia. There were no lineup at the stores because the Z3 has been sold out in many stores. I know cause I visited several ones in Jakarta.
The thing is people in Indonesia only line up to buy phones only on launching date. Most due to the promotions.

By saying the Z3 has good sales is probably true. But then again it's only been sold in one country-Indonesia, where smartphone sales number is irrelevant cause the number is not that significant to the worldwide sales.

Still.. it's a great start. BlackBerry need to market the Z3 to more markets, especially the emerging ones.

I do think the Z3 is a great device. Some of my friends already converted back to BlackBerry from mid-high Android to the Z3 due to its look, battery life, Android capabilities and the value of it.

Posted via CB10

Great points! That is what I think everyone should focus on. Just because it's a "small market" compared to the world does not mean it's not important to report these numbers.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Good sales? How do you know? Z3 is not available in the stores because Blackberry only produce little batch. Probably because foxconn does not think it will not sell well, thus only produce few batch. Do you see many people in blackberry stores? NO! In the old days, the stores were so full of customers that sales people were overwhelmed. No, not now. So do you think Z3 is not available in stores because there are overwhelming demand? Not because overwhelming demand, but too few products were produced, bro. We need to pre-order them at the store, weird, huh?

Low cost, and locked in future profits if it takes off. Little possible downside and some chance of really good profits. You never want to miss the next big thing so you bet on a little of everything. Then you can't lose.

Posted via CB10

Why do we have to pre order at the store? Come to Jakarta, and check it out. It is frustrating for blackberry supporter to see this kind of service. this will turn customers away. They don't respect Indonesian customers.

They will respect you. Please see that soon supply will match demand. No one could have seen that or they didn't want to gamble on it.

At least not another Z10 overstock debacle. Not even for the cunning Fox.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

I don't see a sign. In my Rigby and Mortakye voice from Regular Show "hmm hmm hmm!"

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

With Foxconn taking the manufacturing risk, it will be 'good', even if there are nominal sales.
BB won't have to take right-offs like PB and Z10's.

The name of the game is to build market share in developing markets. However, even that will be difficult.

Will there be a hint that BB will rebuild smartphone sales? It seems that recent talk from 'John' is that the company is trending to software as the key market.

which means he was completely unprepared for this interview ... too many pauses in his speech speak to this ... he winged it completely.

This is NOT what we EVER want to see from any BB CEO or high end Executive. I'm sure he had the data on his BB via Work Drives.

Wrong again. CEOs have to talk in these terms given their responsibilities as the head of a publicly traded company. They are required by law to release key metrics in quarterly statements.

Posted via CB10

In between q reports I mean...they will release at least the financial numbers at the q release, and based on Chen's comments he will also breakout z3 sales and BES numbers of some kind.

Posted via CB10

Video is available on cnbc.com

Chen is extremely positive on Z3 sales and company execution plans up to this point.

Posted via CB10

Yup. And the last CEO stated that the Z10s were selling well in both pre and launch phases.

And the truth? Well... it was bullshit and they ended up writing down almost $1B of unsold z10 inventories.

Hopefully this latest CEO is not as deceptive to users, partners and investors.

The market share though. Yikes.

Posted via CB10

No drama there, it's all good. Will check it in Firefox on Ubuntu or IE on Vista if I have to. :-)

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

There is a flash player on BB10's browser why would the embed not recognize it? I think it's the CMS on Crackberry that doesn't support the embed style actually if it works on the CNBC site.

He might be playing things down but based on that video I wouldn't say sales were great but more like acceptable. I'm glad they are going to push it out quickly to other countries. I'd buy one off their website if they sold it direct.

Posted via CB10

Good interview - didn't make any huge overly-optimistic claims regarding the Z3 launch and didn't make any statements that could be spun negatively (IMO)

That would be better. Asians tend to follow the "less talk, more action" mantra. That's why they're very successful.

Posted via CB10

I didn't want to say it

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

From his responses it doesn't sound like the Z3 was as well received as they anticipated. Here's hoping I'm wrong and the Z3 has a global launch to developing markets soon.

Or the surprise will come with the earnings call! And WallStreet can play a new game, buy BBRY!

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Wishful thinking on your part unfortunately . Chen should give every BlackBerry Z10 owner a Z3 to replace the terrible battery performance of the Z10. I used to get 2 days use on a single full charge.

Why would you not target your stronger market?

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Yeah I agree. Some think it's not.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Did it seem to anyone else that he was a bit hesitant on answering the questions on how well everything was going? Z3 launch and the BES 12 adoption?

I mean what was he supposed to say to direct questions about the state of things other than to be positive?

Can't be evasive if the interviewers are answering there own questions with their judgmental answers.

How's that signature you crybaby?! Waaaa!

So with reports of it being sold out everywhere in Indonesia on release day - how could it have gone better?

Posted via CB10

Chen is the man, gotta see those numbers, but I like this guy, I think if someone can do this it looks like he can do it.
Go Chen!!

Posted via CB10

Somehow predicted market share in 2018. That pretty well negates and credibility he had. On a plus side, he expects them to be around in 4 yrs, better than the bankruptcy we have heard for the last 2 yrs

The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. Run while you still can

While Chen has been quite busy over the past six months, trying to put his own imprint on BlackBerry, and establish his own team, we are not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot...

The most I can say about BlackBerry today under John Chen's leadership is that it seems more stable. He seems to have been able to calm the waters and the company is no longer in that anxiety prone posture it found itself under the leadership of Thorsten Heins Ketchup and definitely not that of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsilille...the ass clowns that where responsible for BlackBerry's meteoric rise as well as its precipitous fall.

So, things are clearer and more stable. I should take that as a minor victory from a company that about one year ago seemed on its deathbed. If it was terminal last year, now it is stable, but still very critical...

For one I still don't trust Pringle Watsahisname aka The Cryptkeeper. BlackBerry's share of the market is still at 1%, and not growing...its actually shrunk more, not as fast as before, but still...not much to celebrate on that account.

BB10 while a tremendous and versatile OS that can only mature and grow, and whose applications could be exponential, has yet to make any headway, ditto for the devices, Q5, Q10, Z10 and Z30...great in all aspects, but no one seems to be aware of them , as BlackBerry continues the same horrible tradition of nonexistent marketing and promotion.

Still no love from major app developers...

The abandonment of the PlayBook by BlackBerry, while quite clear to all those tech experts and industry insiders, was not so for the average consumer, who had been promised a BB10 upgrade, including myself. For a company that seemingly fails to promote it's own products, this was a pretty costly mistake and a lesson in negative publicity.

The continued reliance, promotion and even upgrades for BB legacy devices and the BB7OS is not very encouraging and definitely not a good sign, especially when legacy devices not only outnumber the sales of BB10 OS devices, but actually make up the bulk of all devices sold by the company. A year and a half from the launch of BB10, the rate of upgrades among existing customers has been dismal to say the least, not to mention it's adoption by new customers, which is pretty much nonexistent...

Compare that to how fast and how many customers upgrade to new devices and changes in the OS for Apple and Android...and the differences and numbers are shocking...even Microsoft with its Windows platform and phones is ahead...then you realize the steep and almost impossible climb BlackBerry faces...

BlackBerry has yet to reap any significant or at least notable benefits from QNX. While full of possibilities, QNX more resembles a treasure trove of future promises but pretty much an impotent heap of maybes and perhapses at present.

The enterprise side of the company has gotten a lot of IOUS and promises, but has to yet be adopted on a large scale...BES 10, BES 12 anyone?!

A decent start for Chen but a very, very long and difficult time ahead...Good luck!

PS It is way too early to judge the impact of the Z3 on the company. Even if successful, it will be a local one. Indonesia is an important commercial hub, but you cannot have a successful comeback without Europe and North America...

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

Finally another person who gets it. It takes time and dedication. These people with this Facebook instant gratification mentality drive me nuts. This isn't some status update and "poof" you get to see the results. This is going to take time. Chen has a proven track record and as far as I can see has moved quite quickly, all things considered. I mean this is a massive undertaking, much larger than coaching a professional football team. I'm pretty sure most people criticizing his actions couldn't run a high school team much less the Patriots.
I think ONCE they get their foothold and some good forward movement that is when you will see the leaps and bounds the impatient crowd is looking for.

Posted via CB10

You got it my man. I keep saying it's a game of chess. It's takes strategy and patience. Your Facebook status update analogy cracked me up!

How's that signature you crybabies?! Waaaa!

I like him. And i think his confidence. I think he has a much better plan then Thorsten did. Thorsten was great with pushing BB10 and getting it to market but he put all of his eggs in one basket and he hoped BB10 would take off with consumers, which we all know it did not. Chen isn't worried about being the next best company or to get blackberry back on top of IOS an Android like it once was. His plan is to simply make the business profitable again, after all it is just a business. I believe he's done a fantastic job so far.

Posted via CB10 for Z30

Chen needs to do a good Marketing here, in Brazil, many peoples like BlackBerry, but these same people are discrediting the brand, many are rushing to Android and iOS on behalf of BlackBerry devices almost any Carriers in the whole Brazil is selling.
Formerly it was an unfortunate looking behind BlackBerrys, everybody wanted to have one, but now nobody wants to be on account of which, after the launch of BlackBerry 10 it seems that the company gave up and forgot all about Brazil to send appliances to here
I would like to ask Chen if he has any idea of how BlackBerry users can earn Brazilians, but unfortunately he thinks the country is outdated and does not invest here. Need to decentralize information go off too.
# getsthehint

So far John Chen is happy with the Z3 device sales. So am I.

The next markets BlackBerry needs to target ASAP with the Z3 is South Africa, India, Malaysia, Mexico & Brazil. And why not Venezuela too.

I know I did ;)
Several of my friends even convinced in buying it. Mostly cause it can run their favorite Android apps.
The main problem of BB10 is the lack of well known Native apps.
The Android runtime is only a short time way out. They need to bring the big apps to the ecosystem.
They need to be aggressive with their pricing. Once more people are into BlackBerry again, I think the developers will come along.

Posted via CB10

I can't comment on Z3 since i haven't used it . But android under $200 is garbage for sure. My wife got Samsung ace 2 for $200 and that phone is crap. and it's not even 4 months.

Posted via CB10

They should never have run out of Z3 phones on the launch. No one should have left the store empty handed. There should have been adequate stock at every store and the ability to acquire more same day. Any unsold stock could quickly have been redeployed at the next launch point. Trying to spin it as a sellout is rubbish. Anyone who left without one left disappointed and with a negative impression and the chance to reconsider.

Steve/Boanerges Performance

Who knows what is going on between BBRY and Foxconn. Maybe Foxconn can say to BBRY: "We are too busy making iPhones this month that we know will sell so we can't make any more Z3's for another three weeks."

It sounds like the stores are out of them. I wish we had more reporting on the ground in Indonesia.

How long before they can roll out to India? That market seems promising, but how long can they wait as newer phones come out from competitors?

No video!!! Makes CB10 useless once again.

This and all the html codes you see.

Sigh....

Using a BlackBerry Z10! The "UnDroid"!

And you couldn't put a link in to open a browser to see the video????

Using a BlackBerry Z10! The "UnDroid"!

at least this interview ask and sounds better then Walt. He sounds more educated on his interviewee.

Good gadgets but at the end can you BlackBerry give their BIS customers beautiful OS. New upgrade launcher or GUI, for all BlackBerry 10 device I mean all.
You know that you sell Z3 give us new hope with 10.3.x OS, leak is OK. For all devices ya.
We bored with the old one.

Posted via CB10