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John Chen is ready to lead BlackBerry's turnaround

BlackBerry has had a rough time competing with the likes of Google's Android army and Apple's iPhone, but the company's interim chief executive officer recently laid out a strategy that focuses on what BlackBerry will become; not what it was. 
CNBC recently posted a letter from BlackBerry's interim CEO John Chen, who said that the company's troublesome past in no way reflects what BlackBerry has the potential to be. Further, he said BlackBerry is still the leader of the mobile enterprise. 
"When it comes to enterprise, we're still the leader," said Chen. "Don't be fooled by the competition's rhetoric claiming to be more secure or having more experience than BlackBerry. With a global enterprise customer base exceeding 80,000, we have three times the number of customers compared to Good, AirWatch and MobileIron combined. This makes BlackBerry the leader in mobile-device management.
"Many in the regulated industries — those with the most stringent security needs — still depend solely on BlackBerry to secure their mobile infrastructure. For governments, BlackBerry cannot just be replaced — we are the only MDM provider to obtain "Authority to Operate" on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) networks. This means the DoD is only allowed to use BlackBerry. Across the globe, seven out of seven of the G7 governments are also BlackBerry customers."
While Google and Apple have clearly surpassed BlackBerry in the consumer mobile market, BlackBerry was famously known for its place in the enterprise and government markets. However, many government agencies dropped BlackBerry throughout 2012.
For instance, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ditched their BlackBerrys in May 2012 in favor of iPhones. Immigration and Customs Enforcement followed suit in September, and in October, the Defense Department left its BlackBerrys behind and chose to go with Android and Apple devices instead. Later in November of that year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it was dropping its BlackBerry smartphones for a new fleet of iPhone 5s. 

BlackBerry CEO John Chen [SOURCE: Yahoo]

This all happened after a huge blackout that occurred in October 2011. For four days, BlackBerry users from around the world completely lost their messaging, browsing and email services. These three features are key to any business (or consumer) user, and proved to be a huge mark on RIM's record. RIM blamed the service troubles on an extremely critical network failure during a system upgrade
In March of this year, BlackBerry 10 (BB10) -- the company's latest mobile operating system -- failed to pass security requirements for the UK government. 
But Chen prefers to look ahead at BlackBerry's future potential, and learn from past mistakes rather than let them define the company. 
According to Chen's letter in CNBC, making "swift and impactful changes" such as new top executives has been crucial to BlackBerry's turnaround efforts. New leaders were essential in enterprise, marketing, corporate development and strategic planning.
Chen further said that BlackBerry will focus on services and software, and move to a new operating structure including Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded business and the Devices business. He added that in the last 60 days, over 40 million new iOS and Android users have registered to use BBM. 
BlackBerry made its efforts to focus more on software clear when it partnered with Foxconn earlier this month. The five-year partnership will allow Foxconn to manufacture BlackBerry products in both Indonesia and Mexico, allowing BlackBerry to take care of software while Foxconn handles hardware. Chen said the first BlackBerry smartphone to come from Foxconn will be released in March or April 2014, and it will be a 3G, BB10 device. It will initially launch in Indonesia, but make its way to six or seven other markets later. 
"We've accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we're positioned for the long haul," said Chen. "We have a strong cash position with more than $3 billion on hand, a renewed spirit, and trusted technology, network and platform. I believe BlackBerry has a clear lane ahead of us to create new trails as a nimbler, more agile competitor.
"The journey has just begun."
Chen stepped in as interim CEO back in November when former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stepped down

Source: CNBC

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By Qirfiraz on 12/30/2013 3:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
It appears, in John Chen, Blackberry has found it's Steve Jobs. Blackberry today, is very much like Apple of early 90s. Like Apple, Blackberry has a large loyal user-base, and a large loyal niche market. In early 90s Apple survived on publishing & other niche markets. Today Blackberry can survive on Enterprise sector, as well as niche markets of Indonesia, Germany, Brazil & South Africa, not to mention home-ground Canada.

By retrospooty on 12/30/2013 3:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
"Blackberry has a large loyal user-base"

Blackberry doesnt have a large loyal user base... What they have is many corporations that haven't invested, tested or fully authorized a replacement yet... And a large base of irritated customers that want out!

By Monkey's Uncle on 12/30/2013 5:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
What they have is many corporations that haven't invested, tested or fully authorized a replacement yet

Correct. Switching platforms for mobile messaging isn't cheap or fast for a large corporation. It takes time, but regardless of whether it switches to iOS or Android, the big enterprise is currently working on moving off of Blackberry.

Blackberry is simply too unstable at this time for big business to stay with it beyond a couple more years.

By Pastuch on 12/31/2013 12:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone that thinks that Blackberry is going bankrupt doesn't know anything about IT security. Iphones and Androids are nowhere near secure enough for large governmental agencies with stringent security requirements. Show me one country with a Tax service/agency that has dropped Blackberry. Losing tax payer data isn't an option.

Barack Obama: “I'm not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,”

By retrospooty on 12/31/2013 4:57:38 PM , Rating: 1
That has nothing to do with BB's inability to remain profitable. They just lost 4.4 billion this quarter after losing 1 billion the previous one. The slight difference in security isnt going to sustain them in the long run. IT deps are duming them left and right... Even the high security required firms are evaluating other options. It's over. Go home, just a matter of time.

By Reclaimer77 on 12/31/2013 7:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
This "IT smartphone" segment you speak of simply isn't large enough to sustain BlackBerry. Especially with BYOD (bring your own device) being preferred over company phones.

I haven't seen one damn security feature that's unique to Blackberry that can't be implemented on Android or hasn't been already. And I would say KNOX is superior to any BlackBerry managed solution.

Show me one country with a Tax service/agency that has dropped Blackberry

Good point. Because nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is faster to respond to changes in technologies like Government agencies. Am I right??


By Cheesew1z69 on 12/31/2013 8:54:58 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone that thinks that Blackberry is going bankrupt doesn't know anything about IT security
And yet, they are....

By Flunk on 12/30/2013 4:25:30 PM , Rating: 3
They used to have a loyal fanbase, 2 years or more ago. Now everyone who cared has moved on. I think they really missed their chance and now there is little hope.

Did you notice that their big new strategy is to bring in cheap Chinese phones, slap BB10 on them and sell them?

By Guspaz on 12/30/2013 4:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's not like large parts of their existing phones aren't designed and manufactured in China anyhow, and on many units, the final assembly is in Mexico.

By melgross on 12/30/2013 6:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
Chen is no Steve Jobs. He's not doing anything unique. No new products of note. No major rehaul of present products. He's doubling down on third world customers who aren't very profitable.

I wish them the best, but I doubt it will be enough in the long run.

By ipay on 12/30/2013 3:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
BlackBerry CEO: We're Still the Leader of the Enterprise# hahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa

RE: jpke
By kickoff on 12/30/2013 3:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
My thoughts exactly! I couldn't stop laughing when I read his quote!!!!

RE: jpke
By Pastuch on 12/31/2013 12:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
They are still the leader of the Enterprise. Look at the number of governments and specifically tax agencies and defence departments.

I've heard that before
By bug77 on 12/30/2013 3:24:08 PM , Rating: 3
It's what IBM used to say about Lotus Notes. Maybe they're still saying it, but I've been out of touch for many years now.

RE: I've heard that before
By ritualm on 12/30/2013 3:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Iraqi Information Minister, Blackberry edition.

For now.
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/30/2013 2:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
I expect this enterprise lead to peter out over the short term. I know of one major Fortune 1000 enterprise that is moving from Blackberry to iOS (in roll out) and Android (in testing) for mobile communications. I expect that will complete in 3-4 years at the end of which they will be dumping Blackberry.

Two other companies I know of are still using Blackberry for their support contact streams but not their day-to-day business.

By DukeN on 1/2/2014 12:18:07 AM , Rating: 2
it came way too late.

I have to agree with this though, having used BES as well as other MDM products.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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