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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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