John Chen

BlackBerry Interim CEO John Chen says the journey has just begun

Today, Interim BlackBerry CEO, John Chen had a commentary posted on CNBC that lends a bit more information to his overall plan.

Chen starts out by saying that he’s “not focused on who BlackBerry used to be”, but “on what BlackBerry will be today and in the future.” He notes that the company is strong financially and that in under two months, they have already engineered a strategy to stabilize the company. Chen first wanted to focus on the enterprise users along with BES, then moving focus to software and services.

We’ve accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we’re positioned for the long haul. We have a strong cash position with more than $3 billion on hand, a renewed spirit, and trusted technology, network and platform.

While Chen doesn’t provide further information into what we don’t already know, he does give a summary and affirmation of what BlackBerry has done so far since he’s been at the helm, and also what we can expect from the company in the coming months.

Here’s the full transcript of what he had to say:

It’s been easy for competitors to promote negative stories about BlackBerry, focusing on the business of the past. But I’m not focused on who BlackBerry used to be — I’m focused on what BlackBerry will be today and in the future.

Today, our company is strong financially, technologically savvy and is well-positioned for the future. In less than two months, my team and I have engineered a new strategy to stabilize the company, return to our core strength in enterprise and security, and maximize efficiencies.

This isn’t the first time I’ve held the reins at a tech company facing challenging circumstances. I’m here to tackle this challenge because I believe we can succeed.

I’m surrounded by a talented team of industry leaders, including our new leaders for enterprise, corporate development and strategic planning, and marketing. In the coming weeks, I’ll continue to build out my leadership team with those who have the skills and passion to get BlackBerry back on the path to profitability.

It was important to make swift and impactful changes to ensure that our customers’ investments in BlackBerry’s infrastructure and solutions are secure. With these changes, I’ve made a commitment to be transparent with my strategy and how I will execute.

The team’s first priority was to focus on our core business drivers, so we had to move to a new operating unit structure: Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded business and the Devices business. This structure will drive greater focus on services and software, establish a more efficient business model for the Devices business, and support each unit’s transformation and growth objectives.

When it comes to enterprise, we’re still the leader. 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.

Our popular messaging service, BBM, is also renowned in regulated industries for being the most secure mobile-messaging service, and consumers love it, too. In the last 60 days, more than 40 million new iOS and Android users have registered to use BBM. We will continue to invest in this popular service and build out its features and channels, with plans to turn it into a revenue stream in the coming years.

QNX has always been one of our most exciting technologies and it is poised for further growth. Already the dominant machine-to-machine technology of the automotive industry, new capabilities and cloud services are being unveiled at CES in January, and we’re looking toward adjacent verticals for expansion.

To be more nimble and responsive to market demands and customer needs, we have streamlined our Devices business model and partnered with Foxconn to manufacture smartphones in Indonesia and other fast growing markets. We’re also focusing our design and hardware team on developing high-quality products at competitive prices. Leveraging Foxconn’s scale and efficiency will also allow us to compete more effectively and create speed to market since we can design for faster product lifecycles. With a partner dedicated to our hardware, BlackBerry can focus on what we do best — iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise-mobility management.

We’ve accomplished a great deal in these last couple months, and we’re positioned for the long haul. 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.

— By John Chen

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