BlackBerry sales double in the UAE as CEO Chen plays "What would Steve Jobs do?"

BlackBerry sales double in the UAE as CEO Chen plays "What would Steve Jobs do?"
BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently sat down with The Grey Lady (The New York Times) for a wide ranging interview. Chen said during the chat that he has a plan that starts with enterprise customers, continues with plans to profit more from selling server software than by selling handsets, and ends with BlackBerry coming out the other side as a new consumer brand. Chen's five year plan fits perfectly with the five year contract he signed late last year.

His main focus seems to be on software, not surprising considering his background. He turned around an ailing Sybase and sold it to SAP for $5.8 billion. "I’ll let the software determine what kind of device we make," Chen stated, which means that BlackBerry devices could end up inside larger products. Or, BlackBerry could devise new products and form partnerships to get them manufactured.

This is not to say that BlackBerry will give up making handsets. Chen says that his company must continue to produce phones in order to keep a presence with consumers, although in the future smartphones could be replaced as the device used to run apps and access the internet. The CEO does plan on pushing BES, especially to financial companies. And Chen isn't too full of himself to admit that he is following something he learned from the late Steve Jobs. "I watched Steve Jobs on YouTube, when he came back to Apple," said the executive. "He got up and said, ‘I don’t have a new product, I’m insanely focused on my customer base.’ That’s me now."

There is some other BlackBerry news sure to put a smile on John Chen's face. Price cuts that BlackBerry put in place in the UAE have led to a doubling of sales in the region during February, from the prior month. After a recent report from comScore showed that Windows Phone now has a higher market share than BlackBerry in the U.S., John Chen can use all of the good news he can get.

source: NYTimes, TheNational via BerryReview

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