Chen's comeback plan for BlackBerry compared to a quadruple bypass operation

Chen's comeback plan for BlackBerry compared to a quadruple bypass operation
This past week, new BlackBerry CEO John Chen gave us some idea of what to expect with his plan to bring the company back from the dead. Relying on its deal with contract manufacturer Foxconn, BlackBerry will be providing software only to a series of low-end phones developed and produced by the contract manufacturer. Foxconn will also handle inventory, warehousing and order fulfillment. The company is still working on a couple of high-end models which should make the long-suffering BlackBerry fan in the states excited.

According to William Blair analyst Anil Doradla, Chen's decision to remove BlackBerry's input on the hardware side of the business, at least for all but high end models, makes the executive seem like a skilled doctor performing a very complex operation on a very sick patient. Doradla was impressed with the new CEO, who gave him a feeling of true leadership unlike past BlackBerry executives. Still, the analyst says it is way too early to decide if BlackBerry can deliver on the new plan.

One thing that we haven't heard Chen discuss, and we find fascinating, is that of the 4.3 million BlackBerry units sold in the third fiscal quarter, 3.2 million of them were running BlackBerry 7 OS. This surely has a lot to do with emerging market sales, and the low price of some older BlackBerry models in such regions. But there also is something to be said about certain older 'Berry models. Take the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930. This handset just might still offer the best physical QWERTY ever attached to a smartphone.

It might behoove Chen to study the history of BlackBerry and see what worked and what didn't, and where the company went wrong, before he scrubs in for the delicate operation he must perform to save the patient.

source: Barron's via BGR

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