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Chen said the company should be able to make money off of as low as 10 million hardware shipments per year

BlackBerry has been having a hard time moving smartphones since Apple's iPhone and Google's Android-powered smartphones have taken over. But Blackberry CEO John Chen says that he would consider leaving the hardware business if it means saving the company. 
"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," said Chen. 
He added that the company should be able to make money on as few as 10 million shipments per year.
But this is pretty low, considering the Waterloo, Ontario-based company hit 52.3 million shipments for the year in 2011 at its peak. 
“I don’t have a plan to get rid of handsets, I have a plan to not be dependent on handsets,” said Chen. “All I need to do is replace the handset revenue, and this company will be very different.”
For the most recent holiday season (Q4 2013), BlackBerry only sold 3.4 million smartphones, and 2.3 million of them were running older BlackBerry operating systems -- not the new BlackBerry 10 OS.   
In the long term, Chen said he wants to make a move into sales of software that connects computers with different machines, such as cars, kitchen appliances and heart monitors.

John Chen [SOURCE: RIM Blogs]

It's no secret that BlackBerry has hit some hard times. The company has been plagued with troubles ever since Google's Android and Apple products have taken over the consumer market (and the 2011 outage that affected BlackBerry customers around the world didn't help, either).

BlackBerry has since not only been pushed out of consumer competition, but also got the boot from many government agencies and corporate offices, which were areas that BlackBerry traditionally held down. 

But BlackBerry's short-term goal is to keep focus on those corporate and government sectors, where it can offer secure services on its mobile devices. For instance, BlackBerry Messenger will continue to be a top BB feature, but it won't try to compete with the likes of WhatsApp.

"We are not going to go up against Whatsapp. We are going to be more focused on secure communications, secure messaging," said Chen. 

In fact, any consumer-related aspects of BlackBerry's platform will not likely get the attention it was once given. Chen is fixated on making an enterprise device only instead of trying to keep up with the trends of the consumer market. 

"We are not going to spend any more money to maintain the latest version of Angry Birds," said Chen.

BlackBerry is in the midst of an eight-quarter turnaround that doesn't expect to see company profitability again until 2016. For Q4 2013, the company recently reported revenues of $976 million, down 64 percent from the $2.7 billion it reported in the year-ago quarter. This is also the first time BlackBerry has had less than $1 billion in quarterly revenue since 2007. 

UPDATE: 4/10/14 @ 3 p.m.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen wrote a blog post today that corrected recent reports, which said that BlackBerry would consider leaving the handset market. According to Chen, there's no plan to do so. 

Here's Chen's full post: 

Yesterday, Reuters published an article that said I would consider selling our Devices business. My comments were taken out of context.

I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.‎ I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable.

BlackBerry is not a handset-only company. We offer an end-to-end solution and devices are an important part of that equation. That’s why we’re complementing our Devices business with other revenue streams from enterprise services and software, to messaging. We’re also investing in emerging solutions such as Machine to Machine technologies that will help to power the backbone of the Internet of Things.

We will do everything in our power to continue to rebuild this business and deliver devices with the iconic keyboard and other features that you have come to expect from this brand.‎

Rest assured, we continue to fight. We have not given up and we are not leaving the Devices business.

Source: BusinessWeek

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RE: .
By wordsworm on 4/10/2014 7:00:49 PM , Rating: 3
You can never write off a company until it's gone. Look at Apple.

RE: .
By Milliamp on 4/11/2014 3:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
True, the problem with many companies isn't a technical one or one of fundamentals. It is often a problem of "culture" within the company that is toxic.

They have have assets, an existing market position, and ~2 billion on cash (that they are burning very quickly).

In theory they could turn the company around. 2 billion is probably less than it cost Apple to make OSX, but in reality that toxic culture at many companies is very hard to cut out and often doesn't change until someone really shakes things up or the company goes bankrupt.

Once companies get on that predictable downhill climb they very rarely manage to save themselves. They have lost about 95% of their share price since mid 2007 so far and they went from 6 billion in cash last year to 2 billion now.

They just fired 1/3 of the whole company and they are just about out of runway. Because success may mean building a whole ecosystem of apps to compete against Andoid/iOS I'm not even sure its possible let alone easy.

The employees are more worried about inflating life rafts than bailing water at this point.

RE: .
By wordsworm on 4/15/2014 2:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
A big part of the problem is that they now lack vision. I know the company was sinking even when Bastille was still running it, and maybe he was thinking more about how to live the life of a billionaire rather than on how to fend off fierce competition.

But if nothing else, you can see throughout Jobs' life, that he was a visionary and a perfectionist. He knew how to find the best people to create a successful company, how to take advantage of situations, how to turn things around. I might not like his products, but I have nonetheless seen technology evolve around his work.

So... will there be someone for Blackberry? Probably not. The only thing that brought Apple back from the brink was Steve. He's gone now, and I don't know if there will be someone for Blackberry.

Some of it, though, is stabilizing and then building from there. Some companies have done that, like Yahoo...

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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