BlackBerry CEO has a plan to not be dependent on handsets [Updated Again!]

Be Sure To Read John Chen's Statement in Response to the Reuters Story (link at bottom)
By Sam Sabri on 9 Apr 2014 08:03 pm EDT

Speaking to Reuters, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company would consider dumping the handset division. This would only be the case if the unit remained unprofitable. The company is also looking at broadening its corporate reach by considering strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

Here's John Chen on BlackBerry's mobile phone outlook if the unit can't be a money maker:

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

He didn't clarify on when such a decision would be made, but did note that a time frame for a decision like that was short.

BlackBerry is also considering investments or partnerships with companies in various regulated industries. Healthcare, legal and financial services are all industries where John Chen thinks BlackBerry could leverage its secure communications products into a profitable future.

Update from Kevin: Hey All, OK... calm down. A few things here. We got this post up quick based off the Reuters story, but the quote in that story came from a longer video interview which was posted after and was a bit out of context (that's the problem with being fast on the news relaying - I've updated this post's title). Also, Chen spoke to Bloomberg as well and his interview there was along the same lines but put more clarity into his train of thought (Bloombergs post went up a couple hours after Reuters did). Here's a better quote from the Bloomberg interview:

“I don’t have a plan to get rid of handsets, I have a plan to not be dependent on handsets. All I need to do is replace the handset revenue, and this company will be very different.”

Chen saying this shouldn't come across as a big surprise. He has been very clear since he came onboard that he'll do what it takes to turn around BlackBerry. He was very to me that he wants to make BlackBerry handsets. When you hear the name BlackBerry you immediately picture a phone — so what's the BlackBerry name without handsets? At the same time, Chen has been very clear that he's looking at BlackBerry (the company) as a portfolio of businesses, and that he needs to make each profitable. Between enterprise services, handsets, messaging (BBM) and QNX, each business is unique, with its own opportunities and challenges. He's not going to let one bad "division" bring the company down over the longer run. On the handset front, Chen did take immediate action by partnering with Foxconn to help stop the losses on handsets.

Overall, it's really consistent messaging and that not big of a surprise. You should definitely watch the Reuters video below:

Source: Reuters

Also, kudos to CrackBerry commenters. See, even if we a headline goes up that's not quite right... the community straightens it out fast. You can't beat that.

UPDATE #2: John Chen wrote a blog post this morning on the inside BlackBerry blog, clarifying that he has no intentions of leaving the handset business. READ THE ARTICLE HERE!

Reader comments

BlackBerry CEO has a plan to not be dependent on handsets [Updated Again!]


watch interview and don't read the article.
watch interview and don't read the article.
watch interview and don't read the article
watch interview and don't read the article.
watch interview and don't read the article.



Sell handset business and related IP to Typo, as perhaps they know how to successfully market a product...

Posted via CB10

I watched the interview on 'reuters' no where he said that he would dump the handset business what he said was(in as many words)... Hand set business at some point should be made profitable either by outsourcing more & BB itself producing less handsets or by keeping the designing & control of key parameters part within BB

Microsoft buying Blackberry would be a very good choice. The two are kings of enterprise business. Connecting MS software business and services plus its ex Nokia hardware division with BB enterprise services and security would create a team of unbeatable company that can out drive any competition in enterprise business. And after that, the two can start building better consumer products.

combining BB with Google would only destroy BB legacy of security and elegance. And partnering with Apple, well, would only make BB be more alienated.

I'd like to know if Chen is actually planning to do anything about selling the handsets hardware businesses """". I can't remember the last time I saw an ad? Let alone any in stores promos!!
Devices won't sell them selves. And no foot work sales, his current strategy, can. On a scale that will actually matter.

Posted via CB10

So berry gets back into the good and popularity. Putting out good phones gaining confidence. Then he says something that that... to lose confidence

He should stop producing BlackBerry 7 phones. Those are the most selling devices bit only for the cheap price tags. What he must do is sell the Z3 and Z10 at those prices and people will buy it. No customers will buy the a curve over the Z3 for the same price.

And for US Market BlackBerry needs a flagship phone. Z50.
Waiting for that phone.

Posted via CB10

Yep. Well you know, that's the best part of the CrackBerry community. Even if you mess up a headline occasionally, the CrackBerry community straightens it out fast in the comments. Can't beat that!

But Sam didn't mess up a headline. He quoted an actual statement John Chen made.

Luv u bud but it seems like you caved into the pressure of the community here.

Here is the full quote: “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business… I am hoping that between now and next year we will make money in the handset business… If we really couldn’t find a way to make the handset profitable then maybe we’ll have somebody else build more handsets and I make less and less handsets… There has got to be a way to make handsets [profitable] because our operating system and our software technology are so strong… If I just license software technology I would do well. We will be in the handset business, but it’s a matter of what level of integration.”

What Sam quoted is correct. It's like if a husband says “If I cannot make things work with my wife, I'm getting a divorce. But blah blah blah. *Verbal diarrhea*."
He still said it.

What's more embarrassing, that someone actually wrote this story, or that seemingly everyone believes this story on its face?

Kev, if your excited about the illiterate crackberry members spouting nonsense about iOs conspiracies as our vibrant community, then we really are in trouble.

Posted via CB10

Man when will senior staff EVER learn!?!!??

BlackBerry has been a fractured business since day one, a sum of it's many parts! This hasn't worked too well for BlackBerry since 1yr before acquiring QNX! Executives at BlackBerry need to start thinking and operating Blackberry's sub-parts as how they integrate to better the whole!

Nobody in the business, competition or partners EVER wanted the entire BB portfolio because well the whole never amounted to anything and as time goes own, though it hurts me to say this, doesn't bode well ... it's value gets worse! Hence the continued fight and reason to continue to upgrade each component but they all still work as single parts to a puzzle. Even Google is now merging services, online apps into a broader whole and sow them into one solution offering.

BlackBerry ... time to get with the program!