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.