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John Chen shows us BlackBerry has a lot of fight left in it (and that he won't take crap from anyone)

John Chen Soup
By Chris Umiastowski on 8 Apr 2014 12:22 pm EDT
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While the new BlackBerry CEO hasn’t been at the company very long, he’s made a lot of changes and most of us agree that he’s been very effective so far.

Lately, on the legal front, he’s shown that BlackBerry won’t take any crap from anyone. The company successfully stopped Typo from selling their iPhone case after convincing a judge that BlackBerry would likely win a lawsuit. The injunction was granted in late March, not that long after Typo hit the market. This new BlackBerry sure moves fast.

Just this week BlackBerry was also successful in court with Dutch semiconductor company NXP. They had been sued for willful patent infringement by NXP in 2012, and the case went to court only last month. BlackBerry crushed NXP. The jurors reportedly deliberated for less than a day.

Outside of the courtroom we’ve also seen Chen take a hard line against Sebastian Marineau, the company’s soon-to-be former Senior VP of software who is on his way over to Apple. While the company can’t stop people from leaving they certainly have every right to enforce valid employment agreements to minimize the damage of a senior person leaving for the competition.

And of course we can’t forget the recent T-Mobile situation. First we saw Chen publicly chastise T-Mobile for implementing promotional plans that target BlackBerry users and attempt to sway them onto a competing platform. More recently BlackBerry made the decision not to renew the carrier’s distribution rights for BlackBerry products. 

[ Must Read: Hilarious John Chen Memes ]

While many of us are interested in knowing exactly what the specifics are behind the disagreement between BlackBerry and T-Mobile, it’s quite obvious that Chen is not the kind of guy who’s willing to take crap from anyone.

Turning around a company has to be a tough job. I think BlackBerry needs a CEO who can build  strong new relationships and draw upon strong old relationships to strengthen the fan base. But he also needs to stand up for what’s right. He can’t be a pushover. Chen certainly seems to have that mix of talent.

Only a few months ago we were faced with the strong possibility that BlackBerry would cease to be private company. We wouldn’t have heard much about the goings-on within the company had that turned out to be the case. Instead, I feel like we have a whole new ball game to enjoy watching. As much as BlackBerry is the underdog, I like seeing the fight that’s left in them.

Reader comments

John Chen shows us BlackBerry has a lot of fight left in it (and that he won't take crap from anyone)

162 Comments

Some people still longing for the clock of death, dead-slow web browser, mangling HTML emails, 6MB file attachment limits, no ActiveSync, "resending service books", 5 different options for how each app connects to the internet, 15 minute app installs not including 5 minute restart time for each, and most of all, battery pulls every day. :D

The BBOS really did have some advantages but it DEFINITELY gets romanticised in retrospect, with these totally accurate parts left out.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

"...behind the disagreement between BlackBerry and T-Mobile"

IMO, the disagreement is related to BB giving the same type of ad and promo allowance that cash rich Apple and Samsung give to TM. It is obvious from the store displays and other advertising, that these companies are giving more in value than what TM promotes. When they advertise a product with TM, the consumer will shop around for the same product with ATT, Sprint, and Verizon too.

What can BB do? The company has only enough revenue to continue essential operation. It does not have the unlimited ad dollars that Apple and Samsung can afford.

This will come back to TM and sting them. Where things will change very fast is in the area of low price smart phones that are close to release worldwide. Samsung announced today that their smart phone sales are down double digits for this year. Apple has already shown several digit decline too. But, these two companies do not have low price smart phones ready for release.

But, within this month the BB-Foxconn team will have a $200 phone ready to go. Surely Foxconn will tool up big time if these low price phones are well received leading to high sales. It will be essential for BB to have the LTE low price phones available as soon as possible.

For TM, when these new BB phones reach the US market, it may be shut out.

I agree with you on the front of advertising dollars from BB. However I do not agree with you on the assumption that Samsung does not have low priced phones. They do have and plenty are being sold in India.

It is a question of world market. It seems Samsung and Apple are afraid to go after the low price smart phone market in developed countries. However, the higher price phones tend not to be replaced often. In the case of BB, they have nothing to lose by entering the developed and emerging markets with $200 phones. What BB has, that Apple and Samsung do not have, when you use a BB phone you are required to have a paid monthly BB contract.

It is like when you are given a free razor, but, you must you buy the expensive blades to make it work. In a way, Apple does that. You buy apps from their Apple store, but these apps are not required.

"It seems Samsung and Apple are afraid to go after the low price smart phone market in developed countries."
Once more for you: Samsung is king of low price smart phone market in developed countries. Z3 will be at least 3 times more expensive than the cheapest Samsung (of course, several times better, but this is another story). Wake up....

Dolco is right. I'm expat in Brasil and a Z30 sells for about 1000 dollars. Even Z10 is in the 600. Forget BlackBerry on the cheap, Samsung here is absolute king. Everyone and their mother wants a Samsung and the publicity is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.re.

RDG Z30

+1 TM and the US carriers are really down on Blackberry, I switch to TM and I am very disapointed with TM Blackberry response.

I think lower prices are key!

I'm remembering every 15year old kid had a curve at one point which were given free with contracts and $150 off contract brand new on Rogers in Vancouver BC.

So if they do the same with an LTE BlackBerry 10 Device I think it will be a very popular options for the young ones and these are the market trend setters

Posted Via CB10 on my Zed 10

Mock It sure is useful. I think there needs to be more John Chen memes made...

Crackberry needs to do a "Best John Chen Meme" contest. Winner should get to meet him and possible get their ass kicked by Mr. Chen as he hands you a Blackberry of your choice.

O_o C'mon, please?

Posted via CB10

Haha. This post was good.

And yes... as a productivity tool for big enterprise I'm not sure the point of MockIT or indeed most of the apps on the bb store.

How many driving apps does eastern Europe even need anyways!! Fuck BlackBerry... fix the regional settings so I don't see these awful attempts at monetizing map info.

Posted via CB10

They didn't have a low cost device at launch and I think that hurt them. It is hard to say if Chen would have done that at the time.

Posted via CB10

Yes... I think JC would have done a better job with BB10 than TH. At that time the company had a chance to bring the Z10 as a first mid priced device from BB. That would have definitely turned markets around and on the strength of the Z10 sales, the Z30 could have been released.

Of course. He is getting rid of people who couldn't execute or build effective partnerships.

Needs to get rid of the developer relations team who stuffed the store with shit S4BB apps.

Posted via CB10

The old blackberry would have just said "but our keyboard is better" and let typo walk all over them.

It's good to see that they are finally standing up against these kinds of situations.

Although I'd rather them focus on the current supporters and client base than trying to pander and worry about a market and carriers that have clearly indicated they have no interest in supporting them.

Why bother with a carrier who won't even stock your devices in store?

Seems like they could be spending that money and time a lot more wisely.

Posted on a Post-It!

I agree Chris.

Last year it sickened me as to what was happening. As if TH and company just gave up. Like they were shell shocked.

Now, I am much more comfortable with my stock in the company and will fight alongside of Chen and the blackberry team.

Posted by the indomitable Zed Ten.

Hello itzJustMeh. Internal Affairs, Grammar Police. (shows badge) You are being investigated for committing your own grammar offense whilst citing a CrackBerry writer for a lesser one. Other THAN that, nice writing. ;)

Posted via CB10

What's my punishment? I take full responsibility.
I can't use then/than properly, but I notice double spaces immediately, it pokes me in the eyes.

Then/than. Make it simple, this will help you most of the time. Then=time "that was then, this is now"
Than=choice. I want vanilla rather than strawberry.

Just a bit of a trick.

An English major is going to read this and step all over me,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,:)

Nick

"most of us agree that he’s been very effective so far"

Count me as one that wishes to agree to disagree to that statement for now.

Chen had nothing to do with the NXP case.
Sebastian Marineau - they are laying off people left and right and worrying about one VP got them.... nothing.
T-Mobile - in the end this helped BlackBerry how? Just opened the door for less competition, and for other carriers to wonder do they really need the hassle of carrying BlackBerry devices that don't sell.

Talking of focusing on Enterprise sounded good, by he has figured out that Enterprise is a consumer too. Now it's wait for BES12, or wait for the Z3, or wait for use to run out of money.

I agree completely. It's cool to see Chen fighting back and he's much more fun to watch than previous CEO's, but at the end of the day, how effective is he... I think the T-Mobile thing could backfire (horribly) and until we see some high-end hardware that doesn't look like it's from 2007, nothing has been accomplished yet that will effectively turn things around. Even with the Foxconn deal, it's going to be very tough to compete with phones like the Moto G, Nokia 520 and flood of Asian handsets from ZTE, Huawei, etc. BES12 has to really take off and the Q20 has to be a really, really slick device. Anything like the pictures we've seen recently and their hardware division is finished.

Agreed, he's been drawn into the pointless distraction of US style litigation obsession. In addition, his communication with his own staff has been nothing short of a disgrace. Massively overrated.

We can give you back Lazaridis and Balsillie if you want.

I'm sure you can get a good discount on their services.

There's only so much you can do with a company in the dire condition that BlackBerry was in. Chen is doing pretty darn good under the circumstances.

I love to listen to all the people that keep fantasizing about BlackBerry doing the kinds of product development and marketing that a company that is making billions of dollars of profit every year can do.

Probably would have seen less marketing than we did last year. Thor & Frank were an abomination but at least we saw some advertising for BlackBerry 10.

The BlackBerry turn around game is the most interesting one. And I anticipate articles like these which would talk about how BlackBerry is fighting this battle which many thought they lost a long whole back.

I really hope BlackBerry wins this and comes out stronger. BlackBerry for life!

Posted via CB10

They could never call it BBx. That name has been used by Basis International for their BBx programming language since the early 90s. There are almost two million end users running BBx systems out there. A simple Google search would have told them that five minutes after they came up with the idea.

And God bless him for not taking Crap! I love Chen! We should have tea and crumpets sometime John!

Posted Via my Kick @ss BlackBerry Z30

Good to see Chen fighting for what's right, that twat Heins would of just shrugged and let them carry on regardless!!

Posted via CB10

Now if thy would only promote their phones more. Virtually never see adds anywhere at least in my area for their phones.

Advertising costs a heap of money. They only have that much ammo to shoot around.

Trust me, once they're ready, they WILL advertise.

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

They don't have money to advertise. But they do have money to supply a luxury private jet to fly their CEO in from California on a regular basis.

Makes sense.

I like it and so I would like to visit www.xataka.com spend my free time visiting this ad to defend blackberry come and see the news they publish hacerca blackberry if I will be able to better understand

If Chen was the CEO when the BB10 was introduce the US Carrier would be singing a different tune.
When you have a new product and the carriers didn't want to play ball then you get tuff.
Now he has to start to play hard ball with a few carriers, and give them a time line how long they have to test the new OS, after a certain time BB should start offering the OS direct to the consumer like Apple and Androin do.

Mr Chen is building his army quietly and efficiently.

Let Apple and Samsung have their petty law suits. BlackBerry will get on with the job in hand.

Time to bring some Guerilla Marketing to the war.

Get those devices in the hands of more people .

There is no time....

BlackBerry...Get it done!!!

Posted via CB10

John Chen's been very effective. John is involved in every single aspect within the company whether it be the court cases and/or the device decisions.

He's leaving No Stone Un-Turned. And giving the middle finger to T-Mobile was the best thing BBRY could ever do. That company has been lying to its customers about the Doom/Gloom BBRY nonsense for some time now.

Telling people that they require BIS for BB10 devices is ridiculous, then trying to shove iPhones down there throat.

Battle Away John Chen.
John Battle Chen.

Posted via CB10

"He can’t be a pushover"

I can only imagine that BlackBerry would still be collecting BIS service fees if Chen were at the helm a year prior to when he took over.

He works like a boss should!

You have to work together with employees, suppliers, customers and competitors but if they think they can do what they want you have to react...

Posted via CB10

chen doesnt take BS but tmobile customers like myself feel a bit stranded and left behind even more by BB's recent breakup with TMO

exactly & btw: how about fixing BB Link? The "work around" using Outlook Connector is a JOKE! Chen really is going to focus on Prosumers and use consumers to bolster cash for the next couple of years before abandoning us completely to focus on his real ambition: machine to machine.

I hope BlackBerry makes it. I am a trade conference with shipping professionals. I've only seen one or two legacy bbs. I am the only one with a bb10. Everyone has their iPhone or galaxy.

Posted via CB10

I make a nice chicken and leek soup!
Hey wouldn't sue me for my soup.
It's really good!

Sent from the phone of the Gods....Z30

So how about making carriers release updates in a timely manner...i.e. At&t...we're still on 10.1?? If it weren't for Sachesi I probably would have already left Blackberry for a phone with more features...

Agreed Chris. I love Chen. I think he realized immediately that BB needed not just a healthy change in direction, but even more significantly, a change in image.
I will quote this line from Don Draper in Mad Men til the day I die:
"If you don't like what's being said about you - change the conversation"

Posted via CB10

I'm curious what the real story behind the separation from Tmobile is? Tech media is portraying it as a result of the "spat" between Chen and Legere, which I'm not sure is the case. Generally, things like this are analyzed, etc first before pulling the trigger and dumping a carrier certainly isn't something taken very lightly. I'm just wondering if the "spat" was the real reason or if this has been in the works since Tmob pulled BBRY'S off their shelves.

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

I don't know the ins and outs of how these agreements work, or how it financially benefits the carrier (if at all in Blackberry's case) but it seemed that this is the direction Legere was going with his lack of interest in the Z30 and pulling the existing phones from the stores. If it was no skin off his nose whether or not the agreement was renewed, then it's a win-win for him. He will finally get rid of Blackberry while continuing to spin (which he's a master at) all those Blackberry stragglers in to the arms of Samsung or Apple. Mobile stores I've been in - AT&T and T-Mo typically - almost seem like they are owned by Samsung and Apple. You see a HTC, Nexus, LG and maybe even the odd Windows phone but the huge displays are reserved for the better selling phones. I guess that's business.

I definitely like the way Chen is handling things. We need someone this willing to fight for BlackBerry and not just cave in to make it more "popular." Let's keep BlackBerry as untouchable as possible.

Btw T-mobile list that fight. In a couple of years talk will see the hectic mess that T-mobile will be. Not because of BlackBerry specifically bit because they are bad decision makers.

Sincerely..Jessa

How about making phones? JC us all over the road in that.

He has hood lawyers though. That's nice.

Posted via Verizon Z10 - OS v10.1.2.2174

The most important point of all of this, is that BlackBerry is getting ink. The more news there is (of any kind) out there in the public, the more discussion there is, and the more name recognition.

As for the person who thought that BB should not be worrying about one vice president leaving: you obviously don't understand employment contracts. It does two things: it sends a message, and it protects intellectual property.

Something BIG is cooking in the BlackBerry oven...folks are getting tired of Apple pie every fall.

Geez Louise I hope I don't get sued for my speculative leak...

Get'em Chen!

Posted via my fancy BB10 pager thingy

The sales ban against Typo isn't effective. Their web site is still taking online orders accepting credit card payment, with big promotional sign for same day shipping.

They sure don't give a... you know what.

Wait till one of the BlackBerry lawyers orders one and presents the receipt to the judge. Oh oh!

Or we CrackBerry people should just order one as a gift, shipping address:

BlackBerry Ltd.
c/o John Chen
Corporate Head Office
BlackBerry B
2200 University Ave. E
Waterloo, ON, Canada
N2K 0A7

Reckon they'll deliver? It would be worth a try, wouldn't it?

I'm in... $10 from me...

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

Now, Chen needs to work on the carriers and getting the phones to market. Surely there must be something illegal in the way the US carriers are unmarketing BlackBerry...

Posted via CB10

I was honestly pondering writing such a post for my own blog but you beat me to it, and as always do it better :). I do not believe anything better could've happened for BlackBerry the company than 1. Acquiring QNX when they did. 2. Master Chen. I'm personally grateful to this man for putting up the fight we need most right now.

Mr. Chen is proof of the old adage... "it's not about the size of the dog in the fight, it's all about the size of the fight in the dog!"

Posted via CB10

Chen obviously deserves no credit for the NXP litigation, and it remains to be seen whether or not the T-Mobile kerfuffle was wise or a colossal error. The speed of the Typo piece has more to do with the fact that the US justice system moves fast in patent matters

Posted via CB10

Good thoughts. I fully agree. Chen is the man of the moment. But I still think marketing is weak and I see only little change in approach to consumers. Product cycle definition is poor. We need to know more about BlackBerry - android etc. OK for enterprise focus, but really it will never be a growth pole.

Posted via CB10

Well John, let's start by changing they way updates are provided, ....im with AT&T and still don't have the update that can out in JAN!

Posted via CB10

Who knows if this tactic will work, but at least it's more fun to watch unfold. Besides, keeping quiet didn't work in the past for BlackBerry. I'm still trying to figure out why know one heard from Heins for months before he left? All very strange.
Myself, I like Chen's style. It's not like he's going off in some uncontrolled manner. He is sticking up for what's right. Giving BlackBerry a voice is a great way to generate interest. From what I see, the press is not saying anything negative about his actions. Plus, coming from a guy who is already well respected helps.

Powered by BlackBerry

Target : Sebastian Marineau .

Make sure that this turncoat does not reveal anything to Apple.

Any leaks to Apple will be deemed breach of confidentiality .

Then the Zipper will have to get involved.

BlackBerry...Get it done!!!

Posted via CB10

I really like what JChen has done so far - to me he's saying all of the right things. But 5% of me can't entirely shake the 'but what if the end game is a house sale?' questions. It's the involvement of Prem that makes me think this from time to time.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Prem's a value investor, and in it for the long run. He'd rather see a decent dividend paid that selling a good cash cow for a lump sum.

Wanting to buy the whole house for me is a strong indicator, he's not in it for a quick and dirty reno.

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

I was passed that they settled all their other cases when they put the company up for bid. Settling too easily is like hanging a 'free money' sign around your neck.

Posted via CB10

All this tough-take-no-crud act is fine and good for now. But Blackberry is still in the position that it has to put up or shut up.

Excellent leadership and incredibly honest. Nothing like anything we have ever seen at RIM and BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

I'm glad to see mr.chen speaking up and fighting for BlackBerry.
Some may like his aggressive style, some may dismiss it as mere bluff and bluster.
But-perception IS reality in the media, and the perception is that blackberry is "back from the brink".
And I'm cool with that. I've seen more comparatively good press on blackberry in the past two months than I've seen in the entire last year.
I love an underdog and I love blackberry. Mr.Chen rocks!

Posted via CB10

Although I like the new energized BB, I do not understand how all this litigation helps sell phones. I see the legal team loving Chen, they love billable hours.

Meantime revenue is crashing.....

Well, I don't think it was ever meant to sell phones. Isn't that just a given?

Powered by BlackBerry

As a long time blackberry user who just switched to t-mobile I'm really unhappy with this and I'm a little tired of you romanticizing an alienating business decision.

I don't care if t-mobile doesn't display blackberry in the store, etc. I know I want a blackberry on t-mobile and until john Chen threw a baby fit I was able to do that. I like Jump and was excited to use that to buy a new BlackBerry every 6 months.

John Legere said it best when he said he doesn't know why BlackBerry would like to limit their customers' choices. And now I'm left with the choice of buying less blackberry phones at full price and bringing them to tmobile, switching carriers at a great up front cost and a higher monthly cost and still buying less BlackBerry phones, or just moving on to another OS.

I don't want to move on to another OS but John Chen is making that the easiest decision. I don't always take the easiest road, but that's not a ceo's best move - making it difficult to buy their products.

Posted via CB10

Did you get a new BB10 phone with TMOBILE? Or did you bring one onto their network, on a prepaid month-to-month plan? Because in that case you can switch to another carrier for free at any point...
I personally hear you, but you have to look at it from Blackberry's point of view: they are not exactly profitable right now. T-Mobile happens to be the 4th US Carrier, the smallest one, with the least amount of current BlackBerry users. I think they probably did a cost-benefit analysis of doing another license for their products, and decided it didn't make good business sense. The "sending a message" part of it was likely secondary. Just my opinion. But if BB was making lots of money off the T-Mo partnership, they wouldn't have gone this route.
The good news? Your phone will still work on their network! For as long as you want to stay with them.

Posted via CB10

This tough no-nonsense approach might just work in winning back the enterprise client.

Sent from my BlackBerry Z30

Chen Rocks! He is good publicity for BlackBerry. He is Outspoken, Bright, Knowledgeable and Exciting to Listen too. There is "Life" in this Man. He is serious, and fun all at once. He can be described as a hammer character persona for BlackBerry (whatever that means! take it as you will LOL) It's the Chen era. Believe in him, and have fun. :)

Mr Chen is my CEO!

Kudos to him and BlackBerry!!

#ChenIsMyCEO #BB10Believe #BlackBerryNation #BB10Army #BB10Freak #KeepMoving #TeamBlackberry #BBMCrossPlatform #BBM4All #IChooseBlackBerry10

I'm MongezaurioBerry

BeautyEh - even if t-mobile does no advertising they say 1+ percent of their customer base is blackberry. Out of approximately 40 million customers that is 400,000 blackberry customers that are getting pushed out of blackberry by blackberry. Let alone if they plan on gaining market share they are giving up on selling to 40,000,000 potential customers.

In America customers are more loyal to their carrier than phone manufacturers. Even with the iphone - millions of customers wouldn't or couldn't leave their carriers to follow the phone they wanted. Apple saw that and gave up on exclusivity (and had the demand to do so).

Also, blackberry always touts how they cater to the low-end of the market - millions of people don't even qualify credit-wise to be verizon or at&t customers.

The more I talk about it - the more annoyed I get. You won't find too many people who advocate blackberry more than I do - but this is getting ridiculous. I was on verizon and switched to t-mobile because they had the 10.2 software update when no other carrier did (verizon ended up launching it a week after I switched).

Posted via CB10

I'm proud to see John Chen kick some ass on behalf of us and the brand we love. Take no Prisoners Sir

Posted via CB10

MR CHEN

MARKET MARKET MARKET

I Completely despise the fact that these great BlackBerry devices are not marketed.

I see no print or media advertising.

Apple and Samsung basically own the market and they still advertise the hell out of their phones. I see 3-4 Windows based phones commercials a night watching the tube.

I see NOTHING for BlackBerry. How do they expect to increase market share when people don't even know what you have to offer???? Come on get with the program!!

Posted from my Z30 on CB10

Right on , go get'em John, Thorston Heins glad to see you gone , ill walk ten miles for a Blackberry , having tried iphone the Blackberry 10 kicks ass