BlackBerry CEO puts focus on handsets, cross-platform messaging

BlackBerry's new chairman has published an open letter addressing the future of the company, after it took down its "for sale sign", replaced its CEO and sought new funding. 

"Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated," wrote John Chen on Monday. "We're going to our heritage and roots - delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions."

The company will target four areas as it works to regain relevance: handsets, cross-platform messaging, EMM solutions, and embedded systems. Chen said for the first time that "BlackBerry is not for everyone", and he added that the company was "very much alive, thank you". 

Chen said its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 product was "your future Enterprise Mobility Solution", with a big role to play in the company's future.

Even with its market share declining rapidly in recent years, BlackBerry has roughly $2.6 billion in the bank to develop new products, along with its recent $1 billion funding from Fairfax Financial. Chen said: "We will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period." 

The most important part of the letter is that BlackBerry has accepted that taking iPhone and Android head-on is a bad decision, and that it will instead attack the growing enterprise sector and a niche subset of customers who enjoy the business-minded BlackBerry product.

The BlackBerry Messenger product was once again highlighted as being a crucial asset to the company's portfolio. Android and iOS logos were even featured at the top of Chen's letter. 

Chen was appointed chairman of Blackberry last month and replaced outgoing CEO Thorsten Heins as interim CEO. On the same day Fairfax Financial announced its funding and that it would not be taking over BlackBerry in a $4.7 billion offer.

A committee has formed to select a permanent CEO, but given his background, it wouldn't surprise us if Chen keeps the chief executive role. He turned the company Sybase around from nothing into a $5.8 billion sale. 

 



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