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BlackBerry CEO Chen says he would sell the handset business if it continues bleeding red ink

Posted: , by Alan F.

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BlackBerry CEO Chen says he would sell the handset business if it continues bleeding red ink
If BlackBerry continues to bleed red ink from the handset business, the company's CEO said on Wednesday that he would have no problem jettisoning the operation. In a statement, Chen did say that BlackBerry should be profitable selling as few as 10 million handsets. Back in fiscal 2011, BlackBerry shipped as many as 52.1 million handsets. Last quarter, the company sold 3.4 million handsets (with only 1.1 million of those powered by BlackBerry 10).

Chen said that he is looking at investments for BlackBerry in heavily regulated businesses like financial and legal services, and healthcare. Those industries all need to have private,secure communications, which BlackBerry can provide. Chen states that businesses and governments are more interested in security since Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the NSA.

The CEO also said that an acquisition of a security firm is likely and mentioned that BlackBerry is building an engineering team around security services. Chen did add that he does have a long term strategy for the company, in addition to the short term goal of keeping the company alive. Talking about having to keep BlackBerry treading water, Chen said "You have to live short term. Maybe the prior management had the luxury to bet the world would come to it. I don't have the luxury at all. I'm losing money and burning cash."

"We are building an engineering team on the service side that is focused on security. We are building an engineering team on the device side that is focused on security. We will do some partnerships and we will probably, potentially do an M&A on security."-John Chen, CEO, BlackBerry

According to Chen, BlackBerry will be cash flow positive at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends February 2015. The CEO says that the company will be back in the black at the end of the following fiscal year that ends February 2016.

source: Reuters

47 Comments
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posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:01 3

1. Duketytz (Posts: 503; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)


Come on Blackberry, Chen isn't a good enough CEO in the first place...

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:06 3

2. AfterShock (Posts: 2812; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Better then the last three idiots imo.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:21 1

5. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 298; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


Actually IMO Thornton Heinz did an admirable job considering the absolute mess he inherited.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:43 2

11. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Heinz was just furthering the agenda of the two before him. That was not a good thing. He also wasn't very "transparent" with information. John Chen is much more forthcoming.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:18 2

4. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


MUCH better than the last three bozos.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:35 4

8. jroc74 (Posts: 5022; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


At least he's realistic, honest. Not living in a fantasy world.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:07 1

3. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1962; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Blackberry should have been better, with the purchase of the astonishing tribe, well the UI at lease ....

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:21 3

6. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


I don't think there is anything wrong with the BB10 OS. Just poor marketing, a lack of the buying public willing to try something new. The OS itself is great!

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:35 1

7. jroc74 (Posts: 5022; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I was kinda mad about that....because Motorola did demos of TAT a few years ago on demo phones....some of us just knew it was coming to Android...

BB surprised many with that move. That was one of the handful of bright spots BB had after their platform reboot.

If BB cant do anything to stay afloat...I hope some of their current stuff makes it to Android. TAT...QNX...

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:41

10. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


I think they can remain afloat, just maybe not in the handset division. I think they can leverage the QNX brand more. Android should not even enter the equation. BlackBerry can survive as a software and services company in the enterprise / corporate-government-security side of things.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 21:37 4

9. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


John Chen is just being practical. He's being realistic. He does have a plan set up to make the handset division profitable, but if that doesn't pan out, if they don't make the necessary profits, then I agree that he should sell the handset business. Or just shut it down. Look, I think everyone on phone arena knows by now that I'm probably the biggest BlackBerry advocate on phone arena. But I'm also a realist. If it's not making money, it's gotta go. Definitely not something I'd want to happen, but it is what it is. I would much rather see BlackBerry still remain in business, even if it means that BlackBerry has to transition to a software and services company entirely. In this interview, he does mention that they would still continue to work on and develop BlackBerry 10. As to what hardware devices that would be is anyone's guess. Perhaps they would license the OS out to others, like HTC or Sony. They are very familiar with that business model. What's important is that the company does what's necessary to become profitable again. I like the idea of them making security acquisitions and partnering up with someone in this field in the future.

I also think that there is a stigma of sorts associated with the "BlackBerry" name. Perhaps they should rename their mobile initiatives to "QNX Mobile" or the like. Leverage the QNX brand as much as possible, since they do own it.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 22:40 1

12. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


BlackBerry would never could survive without the handset bussiness, unless it wants to be a small company.
Latest quarter earning showed that the the revenue came from Software (QNX, BBM ... etc.) was equal to only $65 Million (which is 7%) of the total revenue. This is very low compared even to the total miserable revenue that they reported. So, I don't think that the software business could do that much as you mentioned.

The Services segments form 57% of the revenue ($548 Million). 80% of that came from BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service). which is completely dependent on BBOS handsets. The rest 20% of the Services is for the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions). As a result, the revenue from the services is declining day by day due to dwindling of the BBOS devices market share. Also, I don't think that the BES will make a miracle and save BlackBerry.

The BB 10 does not participate in the service revenue, unless the ones that are used for corporate and run on BES.
Finally, BlackBerry hardware contributes for 37% of the total revenue and it keeps falling.

All in all, I don't see any future for this company to revive again. Because Software and Services don't perform that well as you referred.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 23:11

13. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


They can survive as a software and services company. This is what they are already transitioning to.

Yes, they are going to be a smaller, niche player. They are moving in this direction. The downsizing, layoffs, etc.

BB10 does indeed participate in service revenue, as you yourself have stated. The plan is to phase out BIS and expand BES, of which BB10 is a part of. They already have 33,000 commercial and test BES servers set up worldwide, and counting.

I also think that you, like many people, are not counting on BlackBerry leveraging QNX. QNX is already THE market leader in automotive, and is used in mission-critical hardware such as satellites and nuclear power plants.

BBM is another service where BlackBerry is looking to make money. They have already begun to monetize it through BBM Stickers, and have more ideas in the works to monetize it like BBM Channels.

BlackBerry is also looking to make acquisitions in the security industry and partner in other fields such as the medical field.

BlackBerry also has a growing leadership in Mobile Device Management.

All of what I mentioned are software and services that BlackBerry is monetizing and or looking to further monetize, in the wake of failing hardware sales.

All in all, I see a future in which this company will be revived and profitable. They have much software and many services in which they are leveraging to make themselves profitable.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 23:23

14. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


Talk about facts and numbers instead of hopes and wishes.
Currently, the software (QNX & BBM) and the BES generating almost 15% of the $976 revenue. Which is regarded an extremely low amount compared to what big companies do and even to what BlackBerry did in the legendary ages.

I told you BlackBerry would never come back to its prosperous glory.
It either silently and gradually die and sold into pieces or transform to be a small company.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 03:30 1

16. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Sold off into pieces? Like your precious Nokia. Raped and plundered by M$, devalued from a company that was once larger than Pepsi & Coke combined to a mere shell of itself. Fell from the top ten to not mentioned at all. Selling 8 million handsets and calling that good. Used to be bigger than Samsung & Apple combined. Now Samsung and Apple pay more in taxes than Nokia makes in a fiscal year. The biggest collapse of any company in history. EVER.

JohnNokia... With a name like that, showing your fanboy proudly, I wouldn't put down any other company if I were you.

Like Alpha Geek said, Blackberry can and will survive by becoming a smaller company. Nowhere did he say BlackBerry would regain its former heights. That's the dummy in you not knowing how to read.

We'll revisit this conversation next year when BlackBerry is still here, cash flow positive, and Nokia is stuck at being a patent troll for cash.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 04:34

18. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Thank you Digital Jedi. You are one of the few on this site that see the reality of the situation, not some troll hater wishing for the demise of BlackBerry. And you're right: with John being an apparent diehard Nokia fan, he shouldn't be talking about ANY other company going under as Nokia had the biggest collapse in HISTORY.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 06:24 1

19. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


Dear DigitalJedi_x2 or thealphageek1,

Don't ever try to be smart here and compare the Dinosaur with a small fish.
The 8 Million WP of a single quarter that you ridiculed them, will be more than what BlackBerry sell in the current year (if it is still exist), and also it is much more than the 5 millions of BB10 units that BlackBerry shipped in more than one year of releasing BB10. Moreover, Nokia generated a revenue from handset of 65 Million units in the same quarter. While the pathetic BlackBerry had only 1.3 million in its revenue (Next quarter would be less than 1 million according to WallStreet analysts).

Agree with you that Nokia board had the worst decision when they only chose WP as their main OS. They can easily adopt Android and re invent Symbian or MeeGo beside WP as well, so they could stay the largest phone manufacturer.

After that Mass destruction caused by Flop and MS, Nokia is still the second largest phone manufacturer and sold 260 Million in 2013 only, the number that BlackBerry could not see if it is counted its all gadgets sold in its whole history life.

The hanset division of Nokia is acquired by microbitch for $7.5, which is extremely underestimated by almost all analysts. In contrast, the value of BlackBerry hardware is ''$ ZERO'', and they failed to sell the ''WHOLE'' company, and no one showed any interest to buy BlackBerry.

The problem with Nokia is WP. Nokia hardware will revive again if they adopt Android. Nokia X series (Highly customized low end android) would increase the Nokia market share much more than before, but still not like adopting Android as a second main OS. The ''PERCEPTION'' of Nokia is great brand with the best build quality, and I never seen someone said Nokia is ''suck'' like many many other said about BlackBerry, which is not true as I personally see.

No way ever to compare the situation of totally dead pieces of scraps and a great company that severely destroyed , but still one of the best and largest phone manufacturer that their phones are so popular desirable by billions of people, and not by a small community called ''Crackberry''

Also, latest quarter, Nokia Solutions and Networking (NSN) division generated $4 million, a number that John Chen put as a target to be 2015 total fiscal year revenue.

In summation, stop to be so dumb and unable to face me by facts and evidences, so you turn to call me a troll.
Face me with facts and numbers as I did with you, and don't turn the discussion to a field that you are a clear loser in it.

The discussion here is about BlackBerry and not Nokia.
Finally, keep discussing in one username, instead of logging from your second one and try to show to others that you are having supporters.
Just grow up ..

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:01

21. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Dear JohnNokia jack@SS

1. Alpha Geek and I are two very different people. Don't get mad because no one came to rescue the mad rantings of a Nokia fangirl.

2. With a your username proudly displaying your fangirl-ism, I wonder if you just like tearing other companies own or trolling other articles simply to make yourself feel better about the SH*TTY company you shwack off too.

3. Before you come on here trying to be smart, LEARN TO SPEAK PROPER ENGLISH. You seem very illiterate and I would actually make you somewhat serious if I wasn't laughing so hard at your preschool grasp of the English language.

4. Alpha Geek hit you with facts. He's the BB expert. Not me. I just felt like smacking a troll around. Its always troll smacking season.

5. You show such disdain for BlackBerry, so why comment on a BlackBerry article? Simply, because you are indeed a troll.

6. Don't get angry because Samsung and Apple pay more in taxes than Nokia makes in a fiscal year. Nokia is DONE. FINITO. Not even the Nokia X will save them. Five years from now when BlackBerry is the dominant player in MDM and turning a profit on handset sales, Nokia will be quietly sold off to M$ to finish out the rest of Its pathetic existence as M$'s property. They're already M$'s B*TCH.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:40 1

22. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


First, you turned the discussion from BlackBerry topics to Nokia.
Secondly, you are now personally attacking me.

Thirdly, My native language is not English. I'm fluent in other three languages that you would never can learn someday. So it is not an achievement if you are perfect in your own language.
Also, I'm a PhD students in Oral Surgery- Boston University... Something you can't ever dream to reach.

Finally, you are a disrespectful and impolite person. You judged me and you don't know who I'm.

Try to not be racist and insolent.
I won't talk with you anymore, and please, don't ever comment on my posts.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:32

29. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Now who's making personal attacks? Pot meet Kettle.

1. How do you know how many languages I know, what field I'm in or what I do. Easy answer: You don't. Just like I don't if you made up that horse SH*t you just spread around.

2. I'm a Person of Color. People of Color don't have the power to be racist in this world. To be racist would mean I have some type of social, economical or political power over others. People of Color have none of those.

3. You came and commented negatively on a BlackBerry article, offering nothing of substance to say. Just your opinion. In other words, you came to TROLL. Then got angry because someone called you out on it and trolled the troll. If you have nothing of substance to say about the topic, then say nothing. Trolling is RUDE and IMPOLITE. So when you troll, people are RUDE and IMPOLITE to the one who is trolling.

4. When in Rome dude... Meaning, if you come to a site where the majority of the users speak English, then it would behoove you to do so. Otherwise, no one understands what the f*ck you're saying and yo look foolish. Use Google Translate the next time you want to comment on an article.

So what have we learned today?

1. No trolling. Its rude.
2. Use Google Translate if you can't speak the predominant language in comments or forums.

3. Try to use some salve on that butthurt of yours.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 12:03 1

32. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Damn!! Laid the smack DOWN on his rudy-poo candy a$$! Lol!

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 13:50 1

34. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


4. DigitalJedi_X2 is the biggest troll on the phoneArena website.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 13:55

35. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


No he's not. YOU ARE. Especially among BlackBerry articles.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 14:02

37. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


OK, so now you're his advocate? No one's talking to you. GTFO!

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 16:30

43. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Well I'm talking to you, so SMD!

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 17:08

45. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Sorry dude, but I prefer vaginas. Maybe ask Chen, he might give you a blowjob

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 14:10

38. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


No. You are. And this Just made it plain obvious. The only thing I troll are trolls like YOU.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 14:18

39. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


You are the biggest troll I've ever seen
Go back to lag-land.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 14:40

40. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Is that all you WP fangirls can say? That Android las?

Android hasn't lagged since 4.0. Get a clue moron.

And go back to being M$'s b*tch like Nokia while you're at it. Rocking that impotent OS. But then again YOU'RE impotent so what can I expect?

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 15:34 1

41. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2047; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Hahaha the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was the first phone to run Android 4.0 lagged like an old grandpa. The one who's impotent is your stupid little Android OS & you yourself.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 17:24

46. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


You must really be on my sack dude. You're continuously vying for my attention. Hate to burst your bubble dude, but I don't go that way.

I'm flattered. Really I am. But I prefer women. So if you'd kindly release your lockjaw grip off my s@ck, it'd be much appreciated.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:23

26. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


First: Digital Jedi and I are two different people. Neither one of us need to stoop as low as to be one person coming from 2 different accounts.

Second: I would say more, but seeing as how DJX laid the smack down on you, I won't further the hurt by adding paragraphs of pain.

Third: you really don't say anything good about BlackBerry. Only negative comments. That makes you a troll. If you have that much disdain for BlackBerry, why do you bother posting on BlackBerry articles? I'm not a fan of any Apple product, and therefore do not comment on Apple related articles.

Fourth: Nokia is in as bad a situation as BlackBerry, if not worse. Their handset division was sold for a FRACTION of its former price.

Five: I came at you with FACTS. Always do. NEVER accuse me of coming with anything less.

Six: BlackBerry has a rather Large installed user base. Larger than Nokia's installed user base on Windows. Even BBM has a larger installed user base than all of WP. With that number of potential BB10 customers to draw on, I know BlackBerry will be alright.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 15:40

42. downphoenix (Posts: 2359; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


This is true. Blackberry's fall has been pretty hard, but it has been like a feather compared to Nokia, they were WAY bigger than RIM was, and almost got to the point where they were barely moving more handsets than them. Even if you count the modest successes of phones like the Lumia 520, they are but a tiny fraction of what Nokia was moving just 4 years ago.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 04:27

17. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Fact: in an interview with Reuters, John Chen is quoted as saying, "I don't want to get rid of the handset business, I want to become less reliant on it."

Fact: In the same interview, and in one with Bloomberg, John Chen says he wants to leverage the monetization of both QNX and BBM to offset falling hardware / Handset sales.

You should stop living in a fantasy world John, and deal in reality. BlackBerry will not be sold off in pieces, that's just what you would like to see. Not going to happen. John Chen Has a plan set in motion, as is evident by Chen making the deal with Foxconn. No one said that BlackBerry would return to its former glory days. They will most definitely not be the same company of old. What they will be in the next 2 to 4 years is a software and services company dealing primarily in enterprise and government and security.

That is the reality of the situation John, not your little fantasy that you wish to see come true.

You and I have had this conversation before. You said that you own seven BlackBerry devices. You should sell them or burn them, as you have no faith in the survival of BlackBerry. As I said before, if you think the ship is going down, feel free to jump overboard. I will stay on and watch this company remain a float, and transform into a very different, successful company focused in security, Enterprise and governments.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 06:32

20. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


The first interview was yesterday with Bloomberg, later he clarify his idea with Reuters.

I own almost 30 phones and currently I have 9 BlackBerry phone (I just purchased two more recently).

I love to try every OS or well-know company gadgets.
I see BlackBerry as one of the smartphpne world founders, but currently they don't have any chance to survive.
I love BB10 and BBOS, but that does not preclude me to say what I think about my view to this company.
Leave your emotions on one side.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:47

23. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


My emotions are NO WHERE In my response. The one catching feelings here is you, John. And BlackBerry does have a chance to survive. Just because you doubt it doesn't make it gospel. I own a plethora of tech devices as well. But I do not own one from any company that I have so little faith in.

So please leave YOUR emotions out of this.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:06

24. Johnnokia (Posts: 528; Member since: 27 May 2012)


I wish that would be true. We always need to see competition, and BlackBerry did too much in developing smartphone world

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 01:48

15. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 752; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


Maybe Facebook would buy them :)

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:11

25. sumwhatrediculous (Posts: 18; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)


Put me in charge one moth and allow me to make one handset and I could save blackberry
all I would ask is for a ongoing sallery of 100000 dollars and to be known as the man who saved blackberry

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:28

27. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Yesterday, Reuters published an article that said I would consider selling our Devices business. My comments were taken out of context. I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.‎ I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable. BlackBerry is not a handset-only company. We offer an end-to-end solution and devices are an important part of that equation. That’s why we’re complementing our Devices business with other revenue streams from enterprise servicesand software, to messaging. We’re also investing in emerging solutions such as Machine to Machine technologies that will help to power the backbone of the Internet of Things. We will do everything in our power to continue to rebuild this business and deliver devices with the iconic keyboard and other features that you have come to expect from this brand.‎ Rest assured, we continue to fight. We have not given up and we are not leaving the Devices business.---These words are from John Chen himself. Guess BlackBerry doesn't have any plans on leaving the handset business after all.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:31

28. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Please refer to: http://blogs.blackberry.com/2014/04/not-leavi​ng-handsets/

That is the link of the article where Chen said he is NOT leaving the handset business.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 10:06 1

30. tenzin (Posts: 90; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)


No one will buy new blackberry after this

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 13:59

36. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)


Nobody cares what you think, ten cents, oops...I meant tenzin.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 10:07

31. tenzin (Posts: 90; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)


Clear suicide

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 12:22

33. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


Troll detected.

Why come here if you don't have anything constructive to say?

Clown.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 17:06

44. tenzin (Posts: 90; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)


I am bb Z30 user and I am pissed off because ceo troubled company cannot say about selling before started his big Fight.am I right?

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 23:25 2

47. apiskula (banned) (Posts: 578; Member since: 25 Jan 2013)


Bleeding red are you kidding me. It's gushing out and not even life support is going to say enough you now.

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