It hasn't quite been a year yet since John Chen accepted position as BlackBerry CEO, but in the time he's been there the company has gone through a lot of changes for the better. They have a renewed focus, new leadership, and have made a reach back to their business roots all while moving forward with Project Ion, investments in NantHealth, and the opening of the BlackBerry Technology Solutions Business Unit to expand usage and control of their global portfolio of 44,000 patents including those for Paratek and Certicom.
No matter what you see, hear, and read on the many different blogs and news outlets out there, BlackBerry has moved beyond just smartphones now. The smartphone business is just one portion of BlackBerry and, perhaps, that's why when reading a new interview with John Chen from the Hindu Business Line, I was rather happy to see him highlight that. It's something that needs to be stated over and over until people begin to realize it. BlackBerry has changed from being just a smartphone manufacturer and they will continue to do so until they return to growth and profitability.
Q: You started a restructuring process to cut costs and bring the right focus. Is that process now over? How would you leverage the new organisation to turn around the company?
A: I'm happy to say that we have completed the restructuring and have started to hire in key areas of the business. Getting our costs and organisational structure right was a difficult, but crucial phase in our turnaround plan. With our new structure we are now well-positioned to provide our enterprise customers with the best, most secure end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions. We are also well positioned to lead in the machine-to-machine space and the Internet of Things. BlackBerry is known for security — it's in everything we do — so we will apply our learnings from enterprise mobility to address the emerging connectivity and security needs within the Internet of Things.
Q: Has your strategy to partner with Foxconn paid off? How are models like the Z3 doing in the market?
A: The BlackBerry Z3 has been extremely well received in both India and Indonesia, and we continue to see strong demand for the device. Initial inventory of the device nearly sold out in India within two weeks following launch. We hear from users that they like the price, screen size and battery life. We're listening to what our customers are saying and plan to continue to deliver competitive devices. We will continue to leverage the Foxconn partnership, as well as our partnerships with other key manufacturing partners, to deliver innovative products in a more timely and cost-effective manner.
Q: Despite the new BB10 operating system, BlackBerry market share has not improved. Do you think that the company needs to rethink the devices strategy?
A: BlackBerry devices are part of our unparalleled ability to provide the most secure end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions from the smartphone to the data centre. We'll continue to sell devices as long as there are customers who value them.
Q: How do you see the threat from Chinese players like Xiaomi and Huawei, which are cornering a significant share of the new sales?
A: Frankly, we don't see those Chinese players you mentioned as threats in our target market. We see them playing more at the low end. And it's important to remember that BlackBerry is more than just a smartphone manufacturer. We are a mobile solutions company that takes a broader approach to servicing the needs of customers looking for secure technologies that drive productivity, communication and collaboration.
The above is just a small portion of the interview, though I do suggest you head on over to Business Line and give the full interview a look through. Although it covers a lot of what has already been said, it also offers a look at where BlackBerry wants to go globally and how regional areas such as India are helping with that growth, especially in Enterprise.