John Chen says BlackBerry has to win “the regulated industry” first, consumers later
BlackBerry's leader also promises that BES 10 Cloud will soon become widely available. With the service up in the cloud, server ownership and management will become the company's responsibility, which is practically guaranteed to minimize the investment needed for its deployment by clients. Currently, the cloud-based enterprise solution is featured only by T-Mobile US.
The executive also shares his enthusiasm for BBM Messenger's growth. By making the service available on Android and iOS, BlackBerry has so far gained at least 40 million new BBM users, accomplishing 85 million in total. Although the secure messaging app is yet to start bringing meat on the company's table, Mr. Chen is confident that BBM will do "really well" when it becomes monetized.
On the topic of devices - Phone Arena's favorite, Mr. Chen insists that he will "never give up designing phones." According to him, the company now has "good phone people with good phone experience", possibly referring to the recent hiring of former Sony Ericsson and HTC CTO, Ron Louks. BlackBerry's chief believes that, just like in the movie business, “with smartphones you are one hit away from being great again". He also says that, in the future, BlackBerry will introduce both high and low-end smartphones, which will all run BB10.
Finally, John Chen points out QNX, BlackBerry's automotive computing product, as the industry's "market leader". He openly considers the platform's potential to become "number one" as cars increasingly become connected in the not-too distant future. "It's going to be a huge industry, and we have 40 OEM wins, so we're well on our way..." - explains the executive. Mr. Chen predicts demand for QNX will escalate well beyond BlackBerry devices.
Overall, judging by the CEO words, the company sees its future already secured, but has to deal with its present struggles in order to advance. That's why his "number one objective" is to make BlackBerry profitable again, and start investing in its long-term projects, as well as return to the consumer sector. To set its turnover in motion, this year the company will focus on winning customers from "the regulated industry - banks, insurance companies, health care, governments, state and federal. After that, I think, the opportunity really opens up." - says Mr. Chen. Recently, the CEO confirmed that BlackBerry' will invest in a Washington, D.C. based Security Innovation Center, which also shows how seriously the company is going after the regulated industry.
2. MartyK (Posts: 733; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
He's smart enough to know where to start..( Business). play on BB rep on being security!
13. Finalflash (Posts: 2456; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)
Problem is no one wants to get on a sinking ship hoping they'll fix the leaks and rise up again. They are bleeding and there is no way to get back in unless they decouple from the OS their key apps and put them on other platforms. Then they need to either build a new OS that people actually like again, or they need to adopt another one such as Android or whatever is available free.
19. donfem (Posts: 592; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Obviously, you have no clue about how business works.
22. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 878; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
It's actually a brilliant solution to make the company profitable again. The business sector is one that they always dominated and once they build up their brand again then use that motion to expand. It's about time BB invested in a CEO that knows what they're doing.
24. ThirdEye (Posts: 28; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)
Private business sector, where once BB ruled its roost so as to become a verb, has abandoned BB by droves.
My current company as well as some large companies, no longer rely on Blackberry and have moved to iPhones (which I do not like much). Infact they go so as to replace every manager and above with iPhones. BB took too late for the OS10 to come and when it came too, charged way too much for the hardware and more importantly their services.
Surprisingly iPhone is doing wonders to Apple by getting into corporate American business in places where Microsoft is entrenched, My company is heavily into MS ecosystem like moving to Windows 7 pretty early, MS Exchange, Collaboration software. It did not move to Windows Phone but instead from BB to Apple.
Most applications we do should be tested for mobility against iOS as well as Android.
26. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 878; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)
Yeah but they could use the Blackberry Enterprise solutions with ipad or any other system and still make some profit with the new business model.
3. Commentator (Posts: 3390; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
This guy seems to have a clear-cut, achievable vision, unlike Heins' "pray that BB10 will work" strategy. Now he needs to make BB attractive to businesses again.
4. Just.Saying (Posts: 132; Member since: 04 Apr 2013)
Two years ago, Here in South Africa, Almost everbody had a blackberry. The sole reason was for $6 a month you had bis that offered unlimited internet access, Even to download off the net. ( Data is expensive here ). Later on, Carriers started limiting the amount of data allowed on BIS. Then, MTN was first, BIS became limited to BBM chats only and could not be used to surf the net. With that, There was no reason to buy a blackberry. Then BB10 came that didn't support BIS at all. Today, we lucky if we sign up more than 2 people a month for a Blackberry package.
6. techaman (unregistered)
how expensive it does not sound like much. 6 bucks.
8. Just.Saying (Posts: 132; Member since: 04 Apr 2013)
BIS was $6 with unlimited internet. Normal data is $15 per gig.
5. jellmoo (Posts: 1121; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Can Blackberry be saved? I don't know, they've taken quite the hit over the past few years. But if there's anyone with the ability to do it, I think it would be John Chen. He pulled off a minor miracle with Sybase, and his path of action for Blackberry is a smart one. He's as far removed from the "old guard" of Blackberry execs as you can get, and that is incredibly important.
15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
If BB can get an enhanced security offering shipping in a calendar quarter, they could be in a position to profit from the blowback over NSA vacuuming up the Internets. But I think they should put their office that markets security in Europe, not the U.S. The Euro zone seems downright livid over the NSA.
7. techaman (unregistered)
no they cant android took over the contracts and bb is not very appealing its just old looking and the keyboard limits the phone. he is wrong trying to win industry over before consumer consumers are the one buying the and using and spreading the word of the phones and now with bring your own device to works is killing them.
11. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)
Android took over what contracts? In business? In government? Do you even know what you're talking about? Despite BlackBerry's current situation, they still have far more government and business contracts than Android. Do you even have links providing any info saying that Android took over BlackBerry contracts? I don't think you do. Also, "consumers" are not the only one purchasing phones. Governments and businesses buy phones for employee use on the job all the time. They buy them for security and reliability, something that BlackBerry has in abundance. And most of them prefer using keyboard phones. Its easier to type on. You should really do your research before you post on sites like this.
9. Altair (Posts: 367; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
BB Can't be saved. Not without a huge amount of cash, which they don't have. As Stephen Elop sayd, there is a war of ecosystems going on. MS has the power, BB don't.
Only choice for BB is try to push break and still fall in bankrupt, or sell itself (which already failed).
They don't seem to know, that they missed a train already. BB10 was failure. They can't start from a fresh table. Business today is educated and won't spend the money of company, that can't guarantee future.
RIM = RIP
BB = RIP in less than a year.
17. jellmoo (Posts: 1121; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
They actually have a whole lot of cash. They have more than 3 billion in cash on hand, and zero debt. That isn't their problem. Their problem is that they aren't competitive in the consumer market, and they put way too much capital into that market. Now they are moving away from the consumer line, and into prosumer and enterprise, their bread and butter.
12. thealphageek1 (banned) (Posts: 942; Member since: 02 Feb 2013)
@Altair, you really have no idea what you're talking about, do you?
14. PBXtech (Posts: 1032; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
I like this guy, he seems to have a good understanding of what made BB great and wants to get back to doing what they did best, enterprise. I don't think they'll ever be as big as Android, but I'd hate to see BB go under, they've done too much for the mobile community to disappear.
16. Whateverman (Posts: 3242; Member since: 17 May 2009)
BB has to speak to the masses first. Ignoring the consume is what got them in the situation there in now. They have to do both because when given a choice by their employees, people are choosing Android and iOS. Keyboards are okay, but no one wants a phone with a keyboard anymore.
18. jellmoo (Posts: 1121; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
That's what they tried to do, and couldn't. BB10 was their consumer product attempt at regaining market share. It didn't work. Both Android and iOS are so entrenched that even behemoths like Microsoft struggle to gain market share.
Chen is moving them in the right direction, focusing on rebuilding what the brand means to business, and also attract and retain top performing employees.
It is a massive battle, but they have still have very valuable products, just not ones that are quite consumer centric.
21. Whateverman (Posts: 3242; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Sure, I think they have good products too. But they're going about it all wrong in my opinion. BB10 doesn't LOOK very appealing at all and the devices themselves are very underwhelming to a public that has gotten use to 13 MP cameras, Snapdragon processors and huge app stores. BB makes midrange devices and calls them flagships.
I really wish they had of taken their time with the first BlackBerry Storm. It was half baked in both hardware and software. The Storm 2 was a fantastic phone but people were so turned off by the original, that no one wanted to give it a chance. Had they taken their time with it, added a decent app world, and slap a better camera on it, could honestly see them being a strong third in the market right now.
25. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)
Much of what Mr. Chen says makes good sense. It seems to me that focusing for a while on making lower-tier BlackBerries for the emerging markets is a decent move. Monetizing BBM, and making it available on other platforms, is not a bad idea, either. Making the BES compatible with other platforms is a real win for existing BES customers, and may bring back a few who have left. Going after QNX integration in automobiles is a great diversity tactic. Leveraging patents in QWERTY keyboards and enterprise-level security is sure to be good. Heck, they could even license Typo and make some money without having to do anything but secure the deal. The more I hear from Mr. Chen, the more it sounds to me like there may still be hope for BlackBerry to avoid the "burning platform" condition that Nokia found themselves in. Yes, the debut of BB10 was a bit less than impressive, but I am always all for keeping options open, and so I will be glad if I don't have to some day say "these Berries taste like BURNING!"