CrackBerry Q&A with John Chen, BlackBerry's new CEO!

Less than 24 hours after being introduced as the new Interim CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen set aside some time to talk with us at CrackBerry so we could get to know him.

He’s got a lot on his plate and a lot has been covered since yesterday’s news broke. So instead of peppering John with questions until one of us tired of the other, we kept it sweet and to the point (and he’s also a busy guy with a lot suddenly heaped onto his plate). So is John Chen the right man to help correct BlackBerry’s wandering course? Let’s find out.

John S. Chen
By Kevin Michaluk on 5 Nov 2013 06:45 pm EST

It was just six weeks ago that BlackBerry and Fairfax Financial announced a preliminary deal to take the handset maker private. As the due diligence kicked into high gear, BlackBerry’s leadership realized that privatization was not the right decision for the company. They were losing customers faster than before, and a leveraged buy out was going to take too much time. So the “for sale” sign came down.

The new deal is smaller but still a substantial change for BlackBerry. Thorsten Heins is departing as CEO, replaced by former Sybase CEO and turnaround artist John S. Chen, and Fairfax’s Prem Watsa is taking the reigns of the board as lead director along with a billion dollar investment.

John delivered to us a clear message that BlackBerry is here to stay: "BlackBerry is an iconic company. I do not want it to be sold at an artificially low price. I want to keep it in Canada. Companies go through challenging times. With the right financial strategy, business strategy, management team and with the legion of fans that BlackBerry has around the world we can turn this around and build real value for shareholders."

It’s clear from our conversation that John brings a lot of experience to the table, along with tact and a sense of humor. And, importantly, that he understands the role of the CrackBerry community and will be watching your feedback - be it praise or criticism (as we all know, the CrackBerry community hasn’t ever been the type to hold back on either).

We peppered John with our questions, though being that he’s busy preparing for his new position in Waterloo he wasn’t able to answer all of them. So here are seven of our questions with some meaty John Chen answers. The new BlackBerry chief has a proven track record over the years of taking the helm of companies that have drifted off course, so maybe with a bit of luck and fair winds at his back he can guide the S.S. BlackBerry to port.

CrackBerry Q&A with BlackBerry CEO, John Chen


Kevin: Let's start with an easy one. Are you familiar with

John: Yes! I was actually just on the site and browsed around - seeing my pictures on all your stuff! [laughter]. So yes, I’m a reader and know your background and I’ve spent time on CrackBerry. It’s a very nice looking site, by the way.


Kevin: The announcement yesterday of your appointment obviously took us by surprise. We’re wondering how long has has this move been in the making? Have you been a BlackBerry user for years, and how closely have you been following the BlackBerry story this whole time?

John: I’ve been a mobile device user for a zillion years, whenever it started. I don’t know how long that is now, but it was a long, long time ago. And I don’t know whether you read in my background, I’ve been a mobile technology guy since the very early days. When everybody was playing with dot com I was playing with mobile.

"I’ve been a BlackBerry user for a very, very long time"

Those were very early days of course. Most people found them not that interesting, but I found it extremely interesting. Those days about the only smart devices you could have was the old RIM device as you obviously know. So yes, I’ve been a BlackBerry user for a very, very long time.

I have used all kinds of devices because of the businesses I have been in. At Sybase we did a lot of software business across the BlackBerry/RIM devices, Android devices, iPhone devices, and even Linux. The only smartphone that I have never used to gain a lot of experience with is Palm, but every other device I used.


Kevin: What exactly does the term “interim” CEO mean in terms of timing? Is this a three month thing, or will I be seeing you at 2am in the hotel lobby bar at BlackBerry World in 2015? It's a bit of tradition for regular attendees...

John: The interim CEO title is because I need to take a look at the management team and try to figure out our business strategy.

One does not organize for success. You have your business strategy first, and then you go organize it. My job is really to figure and focus on all the strategic things that the company is facing immediately, today, and also in the longer term -- three, five years out. So that’s the kind of horizon I have and what will occupy most of my time.

"I’ll decide how interim is interim"

I also want to make sure that I connect with the customers, I connect with the strategic partners, the people we need to do business with, distribution, and think about our method of going to the market.

So on a day-to-day basis I eventually will really need a good, solid CEO. That’s why I said I’ll do it on an interim basis and who knows?

I’ll think through and listen to everybody else and what their advice is and then I’ll decide how interim is interim.

Kevin: And the hotel lobby bar?

John: [Laughter] You normally won’t find me at the lobby bar, cause I’m not a big drinker. I do drink wine from time to time, but I don’t really drink a lot.


Kevin: What will you look for in a CEO long term? And I just want to say, there have been a lot of hash tags out there in recent months suggesting #CrackBerryKevinforCEO, so I’d like to know if I’m A grade material for you or not.

John: Well… [pause]... you know… you kind of need to apply. [Laughter] You know, if you’re serious, I’m going to get the HR people to contact you. [More Laughter]

"I’m looking for a software person"

On a more serious note, I think I’m looking for a software person. In my mind, somebody who understands the services side of the equation also. And I know you’d love to see us increase our marketing effort, so I’m looking for somebody who can help me with really reaching more people.

I have a tremendous respect for the technology people in the company. I don’t think I’m looking for a tech person, plus I came out as an engineer. I think I have certain sensitivity to whether these technologies are real or too good to be true. I have some sense on that so I think I could use some help on sales, marketing and services.


Kevin: Following up on the word “software”, one the of the questions that has been raised a lot in the past 24 hours is in regards to BlackBerry’s software of choice moving forward. Is BlackBerry 10 still the play, or could we see BlackBerry adopting something like Android going forward?

John: It’s way too early for me to make an informed statement on that. It would be very, very premature.

"What is BlackBerry without the device?"

Whatever is the right thing for the business, you need to preserve the reason why BlackBerry is around. I think just jumping to an Android without a thought through of why BlackBerry needs to be around and what makes us relevant and all that, before I answer that question, jumping to anything is inappropriate. You’ll find that I’m a little bit more thoughtful from a marketing perspective then to just go somewhere. I’m not that kind of person. I’ve only been on the clock now for almost 24 hours -- I think that if I made those statements right now conclusively, somebody should pull me out and shoot me.

[Laughter by Kevin]

And I’m being serious about that! People are asking me about handsets -- “are you going to get out of the handset business” -- and that’s really ridiculous of them to say that. I don’t even know what that means and on top of that, the majority of all our revenue and our customer interaction is with handsets, so I’m not quite sure why anybody would say that on account of a “big picture” thing. I know a lot of people like those sound bytes, but those sound bytes coming from somebody like me right now being reasonably new to the picture, it’s irresponsible.

Kevin: Well I’m glad I’m not going to ask you about handsets in my question next then… [ Laughter ]

John: I have to say this Kevin, and you know this very well... what is BlackBerry without the device? The question is, can we do more in that? It’s not about let’s not do this and do that. Sometimes it’s not business sensible to make those statements.


Kevin: I know our community would want to know this... are you on twitter or BBM? Do you frequent any social media networks?

John: Very occasionally. And the reason occasionally is because I want to keep myself plugged in, but I just really don’t have the time. You get on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn -- this list goes on -- you need to be a full time person doing this. Plus, there’s one other problem with this. A lot of times you put 140 characters out there and people take it out of context.

Right now I’m picking which new BlackBerry to use, and I’m chewing on whether I’m going to use a big screen versus a keyboard. I’m going to test drive both by the way, but if I say something on Twitter like “wow the Q10’s keyboard is great” then I will have about half of the population mad at me.


Kevin: I know we're down to our last question, so do you have any final message today for our CrackBerry community of longtime BlackBerry fans, customers and supporters?

John:  I am -- look at my record -- a very loyal person.  So your customers and employees who have attached their loyalties are really high on my list. So I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure I repay all their loyalty. I believe loyalty goes both ways.

Having said that, I still need to run a company. There’s always a tug-of-war sometimes between the two. I just want everybody to be patient and to be understanding but also understand that loyalty is high on my list. 


An experienced captain at the helm

John Chen, ladies and gentlemen. If there’s anything that we’re taking away from this brief chat, it’s that John is bringing a ship full of experience to BlackBerry. He’s not the type to make reactionary decisions while at the helm, he takes the time to survey the seas before acting.

He has a grasp on what it is that makes BlackBerry the company it is from both a software and hardware perspective. He knows that the user community is more critical to the success of BlackBerry than ever before, and that there’s wisdom in listening to the crowd. And as an outsider he comes to BlackBerry without any of the baggage that his predecessors brought with them.

John’s bringing years of turnaround experience instead. He knows what it takes to right the course of a wayward ship, though BlackBerry certainly is a bigger challenge than most, and it’s had a few brushes with icebergs along the way.

Reader comments

CrackBerry Q&A with John Chen, BlackBerry's new CEO!



Why be other than, "Welcome, Mr. Chen, now please show us what you can do and truly be loyal to the BlackBerry users who continue to support the company." ? Being cautious is prudent given the situation BB is in. We all want BlackBerry to succeed, including Mr. Chen. Success to me means the brand continues and grows. What does it mean to Mr. Chen? I'm hoping the same thing.

Posted via CB10

at one time i got the thought that maybe we would get some kind of os10/software updates for playbook once again!!

I hope he look sometimes on the idea in the forums, I see sometimes very good suggestions for BlackBerry...

I'm from Paris...

The main thing is that now people rallied and began to work, and do not engage in kissing a$$ to not be fired.

Being an outsider is a plus, having EXPERIENCE is also a plus, this guy has pulled it off before, cannot say that about the other crew. I wish him and BB succeeds! As Thor once said,,,we MUST succeed, there is no option.

I will cheers with you Kevin! Mr. Chen is a beast and I am truly excited that he is taking this and running with it. I truly feel he will succeed and turn BlackBerry around. I think I am even more excited that he will be using the NEW is so SWEET :D

White STL100-4 OS10.2.0.1791

That's two CEOs that sat down with CrackBerry within a day of being appointed!

Pretty good track record.

I like Mr. Chen's attitude a lot. He seems really sensible and aware of how important it is to control their message, whether that be by saying something or saying nothing at all.

He is very direct when he delivered his message. I'm very loyal...making a business is a tug of war...
Very good.

Post via CB Z10

Did the blackberry leaders say that privitation was not the way to go or they say that now because they could not sell

Posted via CB10

Wow, you know a lot...

Single-finger flickin' so good it make you wanna slap you mamma. Zed you very much!

They could not sell. Period. They couldn't go private. They couldn't sell. Not at that price. Maybe at a lower price. Time will tell.

Posted via CB10

What is his pressure?

Does Mr. Chen have a big investment in the company that he's at risk of losing?

I don't see much pressure on Chen.

Posted via CB10

Good luck to Mr Chen I think BlackBerry will be alive forever cause BlackBerry smartphone is powerful with there security software & hub

Posted via CB10

You can't put a price on a mind like John Chen's. If he isn't the permanent CEO, I can't imagine anyone else coming close to filling those shoes. I had waning hope with Thorsten Heins, but I'm dancing on the coffee table at the prospect of John Chen and what he is capable of.

I used my Z10 to create this CrackBerry madness!

Im glad BBRY has someone like John to run the day to day operation. I am also glad that he will looking into the marketing of BBRY. BBRY needs this a lot and I hope he get the marketing time up to date and show all that BB10 can do with the new 10.2. I am very excited but to be honest I was excited when Hiens took over and look how it ended up.

Posted via CB10

This is a good start I believed in Thor, but now I can see why this man very well could be the man to get it done

I am very, very please to see that he has given crackberry an interview. I hope that he maintains his presence and a good relationship with the crackberry community.

Posted via CB10

The statement he makes about saying it's too early to say anything about whether or not BlackBerry 10 is the way forward or Android makes me really nervous. Nothing against androids but I love BlackBerry 10, it's the best OS for me.

Posted via CB10

I love my 10.2.. i don't want an Android. But we really need something to peak the interest of buyers of those Android phones. We love BB10 because it does what we need it to do.. other people buy those other phones because of that other crap it does that doesn't mean anything. My wife loves her Note 3 because of all the things it does.. that she never uses lol.

Then give both not either-or. I don't see how android would help it seems to only work for Samsung. Make the A10 android and let me keep my bb10

Posted via CB10

Quite a lot of expectations from all at large so wishing Mr. Chen good luck. Thanks Kevin for the Q & A.

On my chosen one... z10

Awesome I really do hope he can get BlackBerry turned around to be the best thing out their I do believe in BlackBerry and hope this is what they need.

Posted via CB10

We will find out fairly quickly how much of the company we know now will change. Great Q&A though.

Posted via CB10

"Right now I’m picking which new BlackBerry to use, and I’m chewing on whether I’m going to use a big screen versus a keyboard. I’m going to test drive both by the way"
hummm... let's hope MR. Chen finally thinks that a Q10 could easily sport a 4" screen and we may have a good surprise in next BB devices #aQ30with4"screenplease

A Q30 is a given; should have been out with Z30 first, and not the Z10 and Q10 which are great, but not the big screen devices consumers want! Where was the market research? Another marketing fail!

Posted via CB10

This was a great interview. Chen is going to do wonders for Blackberry. Finally a leader... Where was the board of directors all this time while Heins and his henchmen destroyed this company from 50,000 ft up in a private jet.

From what I've seen and heard so far John Chen is exactly what the company needs at this time, an impartial, fresh perspective supported by an impressive track record.

Its going to be exciting seeing what he has in mind for this company however I believe the planned 4 device strategy, and greater focus on making a competive third ecosystem should not be abandoned.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

I'm all for it. User based CEO, much needed. Also interested in marketing, service, sales; very good. Also, looks at all the pieces of the puzzle before trying to put it together, good, doesn't shoot from the hip or sound off without full evaluation, sounds strategic; really good. I believe he's a great choice and will do what it takes the right way. All the way with #TeamBlackBerry!

Remember, change is never usually comfortable for all, but could turn out to be a most positive move to 'keep moving'. Mobile, needs to be mobile, very nimble and I think we just may have the right person for the job!

Let's hope he is able to keep BB10 alive because we all remain loyal to the brand because of not only the hardware but also the software. Hoping for some great news.

Posted via the ultimate mobile I even need to mention???

"People are asking me about handsets -- “are you going to get out of the handset business” -- and that’s really ridiculous of them to say that. I don’t even know what that means "

Yikes!!! Don't know what that means?

Great stuff. Nice job Kevin.
I think his replies about the handset business are revealing. If we can take him at his word, then he/Watsa are clearly not thinking in terms of "How quickly can we stop Z30 production and gut our hardware division", or anything like it.
In pondering this these last few days, there are other interesting issues that Egghead commentators at Forbes and their ilk seem to easily miss. The President of the United States is using a Blackberry device. Many, many high-level persons in both military and corporate security divisions are using them as well. Would it really be so easy to get out of the hardware business? I think we can read into Chen's words that he wants to tweak it, not literally get out of it. He probably wants to streamline the product portfolio and push hard to make the software and services side paramount - but not necessarily in order to kill off the devices.
I think as fans this is about the best possible thing we could hope for, at least early on in the process. Again, when the President is using your smart is it to try and kill that product? Forbes, CNET, a whole gamut of dumb Smart people conveniently leave this out in their hypothesizing.

Great little interview. And it was great that John took the time to reach out to the community. I'm looking forward to the direction he sets.

Posted via CB10

The right CEO can make a huge difference. Look what Tmobile's new CEO has done in such a short time. Really hoping he can turn things around.

@dunaway - Posted with TMO Q10 via CB10

I don't want Android to come to BlackBerrys. I love BB10 OS and what it stands for. #BB4EVER

Posted via CB10

Good interview. I particularly like the two way loyalty part at the end! Hope you don't let BlackBerry Nation down! We're counting on you. #bb4life

Posted via the best phone ever. The white Z10.

Kevin, nice job, great interview. The follow-ups should be interesting if you can develop a rapport.

John Chen said the right things and for that I'm grateful. His comments about focusing on strategy and looking out several years were most reasonable. Just identifying marketing as an issue and acknowledging that he is not a one-man-band was almost enough for me.

All-in-all a good start for the first 24!

Posted via CB10

Liked the interview a lot. It's great that he's focusing on sales, marketing, and services, especially with bbm going cross platform.

Got worried there for a bit when he didn't exactly state that BB10 is the plan going forward. Though I hope they remain steady with the plan to promote the OS.

Posted via CB10

MARKETING 101. Get your product known. I have the new Z30. I was in a meeting. Guy looks at me and asks about the phone. Tell him (proudly) that it is the NEW BlackBerry Z30. Response: I didn't know BlackBerry had a new phone. Yikes.... and it is a stellar phone. this should be shown off!!!

Posted via CB10

If I had a dollar for every time someone has replied 'Really!? I didn't know that BlackBerry made that kind of phone.", I would not be worried about my stock loss.

How many people actually know the name of the latest HTC, Sony, LG or Motorola? Unless you're a fan of one of those manufacturers or an extreme techy type then it's not likely many do. Of course it's hard not to know about Apple phones and Samsung models but their exposure is huge.

It's unreasonable to expect the average joe to list off device models from vendors. What the poster is saying is some people aren't aware BlackBerry still makes devices.

How bad can the marketing be to already have reached that point?

Wish this guy had been at the helm when WebOS was going down. (yeah, still not over it)

Posted via CB10 on my Z10


Marketing, sales and software and services're in the right mindset. A welcome change from the hardware and operation mindset of previous management. The Z10 launch website didn't even have a single adjective on it!!! I hope your new CMO is a superstar.

Posted via CB10

I can't believe you asked him about drinking didn't you have better questions prepared? I really like his refrain in commenting knowing the media twists words. No stupid comments like "we will sell tens of millions of Q10's" or "prosumers, strategic review" I hope you will actually get a sit down interview at some point.

CB10 - Z10 -

Kevin he asked Chen if he would see him in the Lobby Bar at BlackBerry World in 2015 (the lobby bar is a popular after hours mixer), hinting at if Chen was here for the long term.

Lol. Following up on Marcus' comment... completely strategic. That's how you find out how down to earth the CEO is too. So from my perspective it was a test question of sorts in multiple ways. A) is he thinking long term. B) how does he handle a question like that. He passed!

You could have just asked "will you be around for BlackBerry Live in 2015?"

Be direct, Chen will respect you.

Where was the interview conducted?


Are you kidding me?

What's the URL to your legendary fansite? I'd love to see how a REAL interview is done!

Some people...

I really like the fact he is looking for a software guy. Hiring someone that understands the power and possibles of QNX and sees past playing catch up to iOS and Android would be very nice.

When you look at how far the OS has come since February it is pretty amazing. With the right software minded person in charge or at Mr. Chen's side, I think you could do amazing things with this OS.

So the next question is can he restore faith in the product and convince app makers to take the platform seriously.

Mr. Chen, on a totally selfish note, I'd like to request a T10 torch device. The full screen goodness along with the physical keyboard, throw in an upgraded camera, Paratek Attena, and specs to make all the spec nerds happy and we have a winner.

Posted via CB10

Yessss this is what I want. A slim slider with good battery life and large screen.

I'm sure that's difficult to engineer but there's NO phone like that out there that I'm aware of. Actually I can't think of any sliders out right now. you got the keyboard market cornered but why not the slider one too. The only thing that keeps people from it is how fat they are, if you can make it slim I'm sure lots of people will buy.

Posted via CB10

"So I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure I repay all their loyalty"
Does that mean we will see BB10 on playbook? I think Heins did a lousy job with existing BB fans by over charging early adopters of BB10 by focusing too much on margins and then abandoning playbook. I am glad he is out. I see some hope with John Chen. He seems smart and confident with bit of an attitude, exactly what you need to change Blackberry image.

Chen is without question an outsider looking in at BlackBerry's current situation. Unlike TH, Chen won't have an apparent interest in reviving the past. An example is his comments about getting out of the handset market. He said that doing so wouldn't make business sense [to alienate a group]. TH has done nothing BUT create barriers, set limitations, and define who should not be a part of the BlackBerry Experience.

I like what I'm reading about this guy so far...

Posted via CB10

Yea I feel great that he mentioned he is picking out a bb10 device right now, implying he's currently on something else. It will be a fresh set of eyes and much easier to see problems when you're the one using it for the first time, and can relate to consumers who are coming from another device as well.

Posted via CB10

I hope he keeps BB10, I was loyal for a reason and it was the way they treated OS, BBOS and BB10...that would diminish if we went to Android I think. Also I think if he wants to reward loyalty throw us a bone and give us a massive Playbook update, the work has to be damn near complete. Maybe not BB10 but BB5? Something....

Playbook is garbage. I use mine everyday but I am less than impressed with its current condition. I would love to see an update but it's old and time to move on, when the time is right. And I don't think the tablet market is growing by any means. But I make sandwiches for a living so what do I know lol

Posted via CB10

Why would I move on spent money on a product I plan to use, I'm not asking for much just an update. That shouldn't take much more of an investment at this point. And it would entice developers to freshen things up.

Good read, Chen feels like a solid choice and said a lot of good things in the interview. Can't wait to see the direction he takes this company in.

Posted via CB10

So Kevin,

What is Mr. Chen's handle on the site(???).

So if TH is stepping down, let's try and figure out what handle he used here, cut I bet he was here somewhere!


Very positive interview. I liked his level headed answers. This restores some of my optimism. Thanks for the interview.

Posted via CB10

Welcome to the ship Mr. Chen. Now let us together once and for all rebuild, survive and move forward!!!!

Posted via CB10 Fighting for an open source BB10

Good luck Mr.Chen. Let's kick ass. Woooo. And Mr.Chen, I sure as hell don't hold it against you if you want to stay in California for the winter. Damn right.

Loving 10.2

I would hope that IF Mr. Chen became permanent CEO (which he didn't rule out), he would move to Waterloo. No company can have a CEO that isn't on-site to keep his finger on the pulse of the company and lead it appropriately.

Amazing interview! Thanks to Kevin for organizing it and huge thanks to Mr. Chen for finding a time to interact with CrackBerry and give us loyal BlackBerry users and abusers a hope!

Looks like Watsa chose someone who takes pride in his accomplishments. It's not all about the pay cheque.

Watsa has a lot on BlackBerry, so hopefully he will have some input in the way that Blackberry runs. Mr. Chen seems like a down to earth individual who thinks things out before he speaks. I think he will do fine. BlackBerry needs heart, and I think that is what Mr. Chen has.

Long live BlackBerry !!!

We were all excited about Thor and although be brought us the BlackBerry 10 experience and competitive devices were throwing him under the bus with the lack of marketing and the whole PlayBook thing. I'm both sad to see Thor gone and excited to see john take over for a while. But let's face it we,THE BLACKBERRY FANS ,are gonna crucify this guy first mistake he makes. Watch, hope and remember he said "longterm plan " just like Thor did.


Confident, Competent, and most of all LOYAL...

BlackBerry Chen will take us to the promised land!!!

My BlackBerry History: 6510, 7520, 7100i, Storm 9500, Storm 2, Torch 9850, PlayBook 64gb, Z10...

When the company sale talk got serious, I waited it out for a bit but my faith crumbled, I thought it was all over, and a long loyalty to BlackBerry broke and I migrated to Windows Phone because, again, I was convinced it was all over. I'm glad in one sense to see I was wrong. I can't afford to just up and pay an off contract price for a new device or break my contract, but I'm thrilled BlackBerry is really going to live on, and when I can, I will be so happy to come "home." Windows Phone is a pleasant user experience, but its just not home for me. Anyhow, this Mr. Chen does have a real decent track record and he's got my faith. I desperately wish for BlackBerry to succeed and am just so glad they aren't going to the grave after all.

Seems the part. Very well spoken, measured and intelligent. Along with an immaculate pedigree, Mr Chen color me impressed. Now roll your sleeves up and go to work. Us BlackBerry faithful are still holding on and we still believe. Deliver us from mediocrity please.

Posted via CB10

Good interview. Chen has an unenviable task and unreal expectations to "turn around" the company. People need to understand the goal now is relevance now resurgence. If he markets the crap out of BlackBerry... maybe with the Dominos Pizza strategy of... "we know we sucked and we're disappointing, but we will be better..." he and WE have a chance. If he's aiming for anything other than that over the next 18-24 months we are all screwed.

And if you don't know how important that marketing campaign was for Dominos pizza being relevant and successful again after years and years of lackluster performance and a severely damaged reputation... Google it. One of the most incredible corporate gambles in a long time...

Posted via CB10

I like that marketing idea, "we've made some mistakes", . showing Mike and Jim partying in a Vegas hotel room with big furry hats on, or in two rolls royces asking each other for grey poupon.

Posted via CB10

Mr. J. Chen has a good CV.

Time will prove, if he is the right person for the task.

Mr. J. Chen, if you need my support and advice, count me in ;)

Posted via CB10

Why would there even still be a question about whether BlackBerry should keep BlackBerry 10 or adopt Android. That's the stupidest cliche question at this point. Like, seriously? There is NO PROBLEM WITH BlackBerry 10 FFS. Seriously f-in' tarded.

Posted via CB10

Who else thinks this is bogus?
Kinda like how Kevin got the first phone call. Didn't happen.

I'm sorry but this is real business. I doubt Chen has time to talk to a website notorious for fanboyism and trolling. If you listen to interviews with Chen he sounds nothing like what is written in this blog.

Any chance we can get the audio recording of this little chat?

What the eff are you smoking and where can I get some?

A) Absolutely did receive the first call from Thorsten Heins. You think otherwise? Will happily prove you wrong.

B) Absolutely do have the audio recording from today's interview. Transcribed it and posted it. Won't be posting the audio from it though. However, if this wasn't 100% the transcribe I'd be getting in sh!t from BBRY's corporate comms team.



To say you didn't interview JC is wrong, if there's one thing I can say about you it's that you're honest and have integrity.

I may not always agree with you, but I respect you.

It's a good article, one of the best I've read Kevin.


Not a smoker but if I did I'd let you know where to get some.

A) Awesome, that would be great
B) No audio? hmmmmm. Doesn't seem to be at all how he talks in interviews. I'm highly skeptical. Seems ficticious to me. I doubt BBs corporate team would do anything unless you really stepped out of line and said something too far off. They are in a catch-22 with CB.

Thanks for responding though Kevin. I'm just not buying it. Answers don't really correspond with other interviews, weird to do an interview with any site such as this one, early to be doing many interviews after the initial one when things arent completely finalized.

If Kevin made up an interview with the CEO of BlackBerry, you better BELIEVE BB corporate lawyers would be all over him and that would be the end of BB exclusives and early info. Interview is genuine, that I'm sure of.

Should BlackBerry abandon everything BlackBerry? That's basically what these questions amount to. How about BlackBerry continues making there own OS called BlackBerry 10 on their own damn handsets!?!?!

"Mr. Chen, have you considered just competing with Fisher Price in an imaginary world?"

Posted via CB10

I really hope that BlackBerry gets a great push and turns the revenue scale up. My main concern is when looking at their experiences. Wasn't Thor's experience in trimming the fat and leaning out a company. That he did. Chen's experience was growing the company so it can be bought out. Is that the goal with him being selected?

Posted via CB10

I would have loved to have seen this come to reality. The look alone would have generated sales and a huge buzz. Then powered by BB10, too? Yeah. Would have been great.

Posted via CB10

Great interview. Just wish you had the opportunity to ask more questions. He seems like an interesting person to interview. I am excited that he took the time to talk to the community. I also believe in keeping the hardware. Its about spreading the word on BB10 and getting people to experience it. That is the HOW TO that needs to be figured out.

Posted via CB10

Sometimes all the experience in the world can be ineffective in a biased marketplace. While Apple is selling 9 million devices in the first week because of news colors, Blackberry with a superior OS, and device specs is selling only 3.7 million in a sales quarter. What do you plan to bring to Blackberry that will add a level of excitement to the brand that Thorsten could not?

Posted via CB10

I'm liking Mr. Chen. He answered the questions honestly without resorting to "f#ck off about the no handset and android b#llsh!t already."

Posted via CB10

"I'll decide how interim is interim".
Sounds like he has the option to stay on as CEO. If he relishes a challenge he is sure to stay on

Posted via CB10

I can say Blackberry still have a lot of loyal customers in Indonesia even though many other peoples are laughing and most media reports that Blackberry has collapsed. We have to believe and put our faith in Mr. Chen as he said that he is also a very loyal person and has a capability to sort out all the problems. Please think again the reason why we love Blackberry at our first sight.

Posted via CB10

Great interview kiven. He sounds like a cool guy and what BlackBerry needs. I was a proud owner of the 1st RIM Device when it was just a 2 way messaging system. I just found it the other day lol... crazy. So it's good to here someone going as far back as I was.

Posted via CB10

Not that it would matter to anyone else, Mr Chen has left a very good first impression with me. Watching the online videos of him, I find presentation to be thoughtful, experienced and authentic. I think this latest BlackBerry development is promising for both BlackBerry longevity and stock.

I'm negative because I'm not a blind fanboi?
Because I ask what others are thinking?

Haven't you heard, often the harshest critics are the most loyal.
If I hate BlackBerry, then why did I spend money on a Z10, Q10 an Z30 (all bought off contract at each devices launch?)
Because I believe in the potential of BB10.


I agree with CJH. He's being practical. What, you should be all sunshine and gold instead? How about being realistic and taking a good hard look at what the new CEO says, given BlackBerry history of the past few years. Laziridis and Balsillie apologized and said that they would do better by shareholders. Heins said similar -- that he realized how important BB10 was to the company. Well, now we have Chen. When Mr. Chen shows me he's turning BlackBerry around, I'll believe he can do it. Until then, while I love BlackBerry devices, I'll only give him the benefit of the doubt, no more.

Yes, I prefer a "wait and see" attitude.
BlackBerry keep making promises and not delivering.

Time will tell......


"One does not organize for success. You have your business strategy first, and then you go organize it. My job is really to figure and focus on all the strategic things that the company is facing immediately, today, and also in the longer term -- three, five years out. So that’s the kind of horizon I have and what will occupy most of my time."

'nough said. Looking forward to what's to come.

I love the fact 24 hours in the job he takes an interview with one of the top blackberry fansites and mentions the known issues that needs to be resolved. I am optimistic

Posted via CB10

Nice interview... I like him and he has lots to bring to BlackBerry. I feel this could be a turning point. BlackBerry needs to stay Canadian and different.

Posted via CB10

Uh oh, now on top of the NSA spying on my phone, I have to worry about Mr. Chen keeping a close eye on these boards...

Well, with Thorsten Heins Ketchup and his millions out of dodge...there must be a house cleaning and cleansing at the top also, since the bottom has already been paying the price for the past few years.

By all means, keep all the talented and able managers and executives, but all the fucktards from days gone by, especially the Lazaridis and Balsilille era, and any Heins Ketchup acolytes must be purged. Who knows maybe in time they can also get rid of the Cryptkeeper aka Pringle Watsahisname!

Mr. Chen seems like a pragmatic, no nonsense guy who knows what his capabilities and limitations are and I'd guess that is important in moving forward. Being a relatively new BlackBerry user ( a year and a half) this is the first CEO change I witnessed at this company.

Unfortunately Heins Ketchup was already in when I got my first BlackBerry device. But seeing his "walking dead" performance at the BB 10 launch back in January it became apparent rather quickly that that dude was not the right one for this job. Regardless, even with Heins Ketchup at the helm, I still got my BB fix.

I hope that Mr. Chen is THE man we've all been waiting for. Like Neo, he must be The One!

So I say "wax on, wax off" Mr. Chen! Good luck and live long and prosper! If you fail I'll be on you like a shit fly on a steaming pile of turds...wait...that didn't sound right...

Oh yeah, and I haven't forgotten about you Boulben! You are next you weasel!

Winter Is Coming

A new (interim) CEO, a new may be enough. I wonder if all the shorts are now happy

Posted via CB10

I hope that BlackBerry doesn't change horses in the middle of the stream by adopting Android. BB10 was never marketed properly. The average consumer neither understands nor has experienced its virtues.

I love my Z10.

Posted via CB10

Wow, I hope we don't end up with some Android O/S, BlackBerry 10 and USB OTG on the Z30 is amazing! BlackBerry really needs to market better!

Posted via CB10

All the ridiculous rumours about BlackBerry scraping the hardware business can finally be put to rest. Wonderful interview. It was short and sweet, to the point.
John is definitely the right person to lead BlackBerry to greatness. And he hit the nail on the head, stating that they require "help on sales, marketing and services".

And mark my words, 3 reasons for lack lustre BlackBerry 10 sales:
1) Lacking marketing and advertisements
2) USA Carriers signing multi-year Apple Rip-Off contracts to push iPhones over BB10, and if not, carriers get nailed by paying Apple $Billions$ in damages. Who signs such nonsense?
3) This so called "Strategic Review" literally destroyed BBRY's image and perception due to the terribly written New Release that left you wondering, and only fuelling the DOOM & GLOOM nonsense speculation and rumours.
Thank goodness we have John to lead the BlackBerry Charge along with a new Board of Directors.

One thing John, PLEASE Do Not Abandon the Consumer Market, no matter what.
And get a team working to ensure Novell GroupWise works flawlessly with BB10 and BES10. Or BlackBerry may lose a lot of Canadian Government contracts. Obviously somebody dropped the ball on this. And start phasing out BB7, and make BB10 super easy to transition into.

Thank You. BBRY is in Awesome Hands Now.

Good impression, first thing! I am a Chinese, and I do agree to what had said so far. Yeah, think, check and research before making any judgment and decision plus listening to the crowd. I appreciate his word 'loyalty'. It means a lot.

I think every one participates in this CrackBerry community should be fair to Mr. Heins. He actually had done some good things for BB. Don't always think about his weaknesses and shortcomings. You and I did not know the actual story for what had happened ...... and think about that no one is perfect in this world.

Thank you for pointing this out - Mr. Heins was praised and thought of as BlackBerry's saviour when he became CEO. Now he is being villified. None of us know what goes on in the Boardroom or BlackBerry offices. We just know what we see. As you said, no-one is perfect. I hope Mr. Chen (and successor) steer BlackBerry into sustained growth and long-term success. As a BlackBerry user and supporter, I will be watching the transition closely.

Posted via CB10

Kevin, thanks for getting this interview.

Mr. Chen, you have my full support and best wishes for great success both for you and BlackBerry! Now get to work!


Z10 on T-Mobile, 32 GB PlayBook - Posted via CrackBerry 10

I,m pretty sure those newspaper ads that came out a couple of weeks ago were part of his strategy,even though his appointment wasn't made public.Thank you Mr.Chen,I am long BB.

I think Mr. Chen said as much as a smart experienced person could say this early in the game.

His track record is good. His comments level headed.
I think once he is in the saddle a couple of months he will have a good grasp as to where BlackBerry really is. There are always hidden skeletons in many closets within a company that are only discovered with time. Once that happens I think you will see some aggressive action.

I think we have somebody that will take charge, bring in new talent and do what needs to be done.

Best of luck Mr. Chen.

Posted via CB10 on a Verizon Z10 running

How about we just agree to welcome Mr. Chen. There is plenty of time for the BS negativity at a later date. Let the guy sit down first. Anyway, welcome sir, we wish you the best.

Posted via CB10

Not really, her concerts "are made possible with the partnership of BlackBerry".

Posted via CB10 | Z10STL100-1/

I love blackberry and keep buying them for my friends and family.

I gifted my z10 again to one of my sis and bought a shiny z30 :).

I am diverting all traffic towards blackberry because I want this company to grow.

Keep moving.

Posted via CB10

Kevin: your questions were perfectly on point.

John: we need you! Your experience will make BlackBerry once again untouchable.

BlackBerry Q10 and waiting for my Z30

Posted via CB10

I really don't understand where these ideas of ditching bb10 or the devices comes from? If I wanted android I'd pick one of th many devices that have it.

Bb10 is awesome. There's nothing I would rather have. The devices are are awesome (although i wish my z10 was more smooth like th z30, shape wise).

Imho the only thing that needs to change is to fix some of th buggyness and issues (like my battery not even lasting half a day), then market it as th best thing that's not ios or Android.

Point out that governments use BlackBerry, that it doesn't need huge under the hood showyness (processors), but it's efficient, reliable, secure.

Oh and ditch the lame 'keeps you moving' slogan. Apparently people have been moving just fine without it. :p

Posted via CB10

Mi primera impresion de jhon chen: se ve que es una persona honorable , como dice el, muy leal y sobre todo se ve que entiende lo que le hace falta a blackberry, y eso es lo mejor que puede pasar ahora, TH me parece fue un buen ceo, y logro sacar con exito esta nueva plataforma, pero la empresa necesitaba un cambio y comunicar que bb es lo mejor q hay y no solo eso, necesitaba ser ajustada en muchas aspectos y chen parece ser el hombre q nis devolvera el PRIDE of using a BB 10 KEEP ROCKING!!

Posted via CB10

I don't like the fact that they just up and let go their CEO and got an "interim" one. I'd like to see them keep Heins as a COO and bring Balsille back as the CEO. Besides coining terms like "super apps" and "mobile computing", I haven't seen any real vision from management. What are this company's goals, where are they going, and how are they going to get there? Maybe it's because I'm on the ouside looking in, but I just don't see the management operating with a sense of purpose. I don't think the company has a unified vision of what they're trying to accomplish, and switching leadership so often isn't going to help them solve that. I hope that Mr. Chen is able to fix that, but it sounds to me that his skill set is very much like TH's, and they both (for now) haven't convinced me that they have a vision for where they want the company to be and what they want it to be doing down the road. Of course it's a bit early to be judging Chen so I digress.

Posted via CB10

Hey Kevin, any idea who really had the most significant influence in selecting the new CEO? Was it the existing board's decision or perhaps more so some of the players that were looking at bidding? Who were the other options? Are they paying him like he's being given an opportunity or more like he's saving the company? In other words, is he going to be rewarded only for success or still cash out if BlackBerry dies? I'm having nightmare flashbacks of Nortel's series of CEOs in early 2000's that just sucked everything they could without ever trying to actually save the company.

Posted via CB10

Got a a lot of confidence in BlackBerry. #blackberryrocks. An Mr Chen will bring it in the right path.

Posted on Z10

Welcome to Blackberry, you are going to be the person, to turn around BlackBerry, we have the best mobile computing device, we need more marketing.
Good luck

Posted via CB10

Btw, for a random thought, I think BlackBerry should focus on bringing the best battery ever hence the praise" keep moving". It might be the hardware's edge.

Posted via CB10


Posted in landscape mode lying on my bed, cause portrait mode is too thin to hold upside down with two hands

Like this idea very much. An outrageously long lasting battery. Wonder what the cost/difficulty would be getting that into a future device.

Posted via CB10

Hello sir! Blackberry 10 is an awesome start! You need to do a better job at marketing the product and some tweaks need to be made in the os. Also, i think most of us blackberry users can say we miss the physical call and end call keys, as well as the blackberry button, back button and track pad. Blackberry 10 isn't as quick as older devices when getting in and out of things cause that back key isn't there. 1 think i also miss is scrolling through text with the track pad, then holding the "alt" key and highlighting with track pad. Very easy process

Posted via CB10

Big time ,I think that Billion dollars is going towards marketing,but must be spent wisely.Not like that stupid Super Bowl ad.BYE BYE Frank!!!

... So, Chen is looking for a software and services guy for the CEO position?

Hmmm, he should look at a guy named Thorston Heins. Word is, he is a wizard at just that.

Problem is, he puts his foot in his mouth at every ER.

Seems like a genuinely nice guy. I didn't feel Thor was as relevant as he could be. I think he was good. But i think Mr Chen is more relevant. #gutfeel #totallysubjective I couldn't relate to Thor, however much I was hoping for him to succeed. Mr Chen is going to have to work hard for a marketing turn around. Innovation is still the name of the game. And on a personal note. If you could bring back BIS, to the high(er) end devices, I'd totally come back. Q10 with BIS, even if the bis is more expensive... #winner.


Posted in landscape mode lying on my bed, cause portrait mode is too thin to hold upside down with two hands

Welcome aboard Mr. Chen. It is going to be a long arduous journey. But I have belief in you. Keep it moving on.


- Is there any strength or traction to BB's M2M business? How effective can QNX bring to BB's marketing and sales of hardware and services?!


Its too bad U censor our comments. :( I am not a troll or nay sayer. I am an actual BlackBerry user. One who isnt completely happy with His Q10. Battery door, better camera. Flat out, BlackBerry needs to go back to being a cutting edge technology company like it used to be. Plain and simple. Back in the day, when ppl mentioned the name, someone was getting one or wanted one. I got my first BlackBerry because it was an actual smartphone with Direct Connect. Couldnt Beat it with a stick! Nothing lasts forever, but, who says you cant get that old feeling back? ;)

BBW Lovers Unite- OOLONG. The Eye of The OOLONG :C00121B8B

Yea hope he turns it around and show how strong and amazing this device is and wonder what will b his first move on fixing this and adding new stuff to the device

Posted via CB10

The idea of an interim CEO is a bad idea. It sort of tells me that the problem with BlackBerry is its board of directors! I mean, it's a bit of a joke, but everything at BlackBerry just takes too long.

Posted via CB10

Yeah and you have so much experience in leading a big company to say offense

Posted via CB10

Great Q&A Kevin, I am liking his answers very much. He seems like a very very smart guy with a good sense of humor and tact. He does not turn down any question. He was pretty direct on the handset question which is great!

I feel reboosted, reloaded and I think BlackBerry needed that outsider. His profile fits very well with the company.
Now we need to see how the future quarters bring. I am in particular curious to see who he will bring to help on marketing, software and services.

Great read!!!!

Kevin is the champ!

Posted via CB10

I already love John Chen and I haven't even heard of him until the last couple days. This is amazing news! I wish him the best of luck on this mission to bring BlackBerry back to the top. I feel it when he speaks using his well thought out sentences. Very smart man! C00061EEC - iLEET Designs #BEiLEET #BlackBerryJohnChen #BlackBerry #BEiLEET #BBM

Posted via CB10

After reading this I am very inspired and excited to see his work for BlackBerry! We have a tough road ahead of us but I feel John is the best man to put BlackBerry back on top or pretty damn close to it.

Posted via CB10

Another vote against the adoption of Android. I just hate this messy OS. Reminds of of Windows 95. Especially as i'm currenty going away from any Google-related services nowadays. However, a partnership with Amazon to get their App Shop onboard, a good Android compatiblity and a clever marketing could do the trick

So weeks ago they asked Chen and weeks ago fairfax was thinking how 4,7M was not a good idea because the debt could crush the company. The date november 4th still there they allready and after reading all stuff about this deal it's great but blackberry must step up to compete with the cheap lumia and android phones and needed and budget mobile to sell it for less profit and still earn money on high end phone;s and services.

Idea: BB puts out a series of Android Z10s and sells alongside BB OS phones. Let people use BB hardware if they want to try it. Let them migrate to the BB OS if they want. Why not sell those extra phones to people afraid of a new OS or skeptical of the future of BB? This is a marketing segmentation strategy that seems like a good one to me.

They don't charge for the OS, just the phone. When enough people use the hardware they will get interested in the OS. Apple used this approach with its iTunes software and iPod. BB might be using this strategy with BBM.

Also, when Apple was recovering they went nuts with product placement in movies and TV. This is cheap and gets the product out there. Might be OK, but I hope Mr. Chen thinks about this sort of thing.

Man, I would so love to be in the room when he goes to use Blackberry Link for the first (and last) time!!! Lol.

What a great interview, Mr. Chen seems like he's in tune with what BlackBerry needs right now. Hopefully he can deliver and put BlackBerry back where it belongs: a powerful and successful company.
I cannot bear to think that the only choice out there is android or ios. That will be a dark day.
Here in the UK, I don't see many others with a BB10 device, the marketing is somewhat lacking and the shops do not seem to be pushing BlackBerry.
With the right marketing strategy, things cab turn around.

Posted via CB10

At this point BlackBerry 10, as goog as it is, doesn't make much sense. Instead of turning to Android BB could join and adopt Sailfish OS from Jolla, which is able to run Android software as well! BB10 and Sailfish already share the Qt and QML commitment. So i'd say, let's do it! Besides that BlackBerry should keep investing on services as BBM and Docs To Go making them available for as many platforms as possible (including of course Sailfish) and do the same with its html5 browser building around it a web app platform the very same way Mozilla and some chinese mobile browsers are doing. With BlackBerry server's ability the browser might become an ubiquitous one stop shop for contents and services and generate some interesting ad revenues. BlackBerry could quickly become a Sailfish/Qt/open source champion keeping some technologies proprietary such as its keyboard or secure messaging and email, all of that being able to run any Android app out of the box.

First impressions, yer I like this guy. Seems to to have his head screwed on. I wish you good luck john. crackberry team top marks for getting the interview so quick. ;-)

Posted from my Z10 (very smart phone)

At this stage i just hope they don't adopt android and slippy phones, I have nightmares about this day...

Posted from my Z10 (very smart phone)

Let's hope they file the Android BlackBerry phone away.... and burn, never to speak of it again. BlackBerry device is nothing without the core BlackBerry experience and tacked on overlay using Android which in itself is a buggy, slow insecure platform isn't one im hoping to jump on.

BlackBerry is bb10.

Torn was the right insider man at the time he took over because he got us bb10 and made way for an outsider to step in and do the rest. I think the BlackBerry hardware is good enough as I type this post on my z10. I fully support Mr Chen on the software exploitation.

Posted via CB10

Hope blackberry stay as blackberry and don't put android on. We are stand for BlackBerry and we will be strong on the end

Posted via CB10

Well I guess the only way to turnaround bb is to put a bb in eveybodies hands, to do that you have to price it aggressively,the bb10 os is already gr8,just put it into everyones hands, that way you get app developers interested. Basically the pricing off bb has been always wrong from launch of bb10

Lets face it time is not on his side.

They are burning cash at an alarming rate and the bbry brand is disappearing around the U-bend.

I'm still to hear anyone at bbry say that mistakes were made and they have learnt lessons.

Taking N-months out for a strategic review while the competition ploughs ahead means they're toast.

Welcome Mr Chen! We're glad that you won't let the BlackBerry loyals didn't crack down. We're always at your back to make BlackBerry's future reach its goals and succeed. We're looking forward on your leadership to BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

My wishlist if there will be a new BB 10 OS update... (probably 10.3)

- More optimizations for overall UI buttery smooth experience, some stock apps/UI animations are still laggy.
- Better Android runtime supporting graphically heavy apps (heavy games). OpenGL ES 3.0 support.
- Support for importing contacts from vcf (vcard) files

For Camera app:
- New shooting mode for both Video/Photo capture called "Manual mode" where every setting can be adjusted (exposure, white balance, ISO, etc.) I just hate it when the white balance goes off when I'm recording outside.
- Another shooting mode which is commonly known as "Panorama mode". Self-explanatory.
- Better image processing, probably less saturation
- Better video stabilization

For Videos app:
- A fix for the video codecs, the contrast level when playing videos are relatively low, blacks are too greyish. When I sideloaded an Android video player it plays videos well but stock BB Videos app plays videos without stutters, so please fix this.

For Music app:
- 5-band equalizer + some presets

And more apps :V

It's a tough ask first question would have asked would of been the quick take up of Bbm and how the company will push and push it. Then try to get 10 more pushed. On the back of it ie hub communication

Posted via CB10