BlackBerry CEO vaguely outlines plan for profitability by 2016

BlackBerry CEO John Chen took to CNBC in an opinion piece on Monday to once again highlight what he thinks is the company's road to return.

"It's been easy for competitors to promote negative stories about BlackBerry, focusing on the business of the past," Chen wrote. "But I'm not focused on who BlackBerry used to be — I'm focused on what BlackBerry will be today and in the future."

The interim CEO, who also serves as the chairman, says BlackBerry will return to profitability by 2016. "In less than two months, my team and I have engineered a new strategy to stabilise the company, return to our core strength in enterprise and security and maximise efficiencies," Chen said.

Earlier this month, BlackBerry signed a five-year deal with Foxconn to design and manufacturer smartphones. While BlackBerry will focus on smartphones for consumers, its business end of the company is its most important aspect. Chen said the company had been reorganised into four categories to address this - Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded business and the Devices business.

"When it comes to enterprise, we're still the leader. Don't be fooled by the competition's rhetoric claiming to be more secure or having more experience than BlackBerry," Chen wrote. "Many in the regulated industries — those with the most stringent security needs — still depend solely on BlackBerry to secure their mobile infrastructure. For governments, BlackBerry cannot just be replaced — we are the only MDM provider to obtain 'Authority to Operate' on US Department of Defense networks."

Chen also talked about the success of BlackBerry Messenger. This year it extended outside BlackBerry's OS and on to iOS and Android, making for more than 40 million new users. "We will continue to invest in this popular service and build out its features and channels, with plans to turn it into a revenue stream in the coming years," Chen said.

Chen's letter didn't move BlackBerry's stock price much on Monday, at a less than 1 per cent gain.

"We've accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we're positioned for the long haul. We have a strong cash position with more than $3 billion on hand, a renewed spirit, and trusted technology, network and platform," Chen  said in conclusion.

Chen was appointed chairman of Blackberry in November and replaced outgoing CEO Thorsten Heins as interim CEO. On the same day Fairfax Financial announced a $1 billion round of funding for BlackBerry, but it would not be taking over BlackBerry in a $4.7 billion offer.

A committee has been 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 last decade. 



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