Chen: Reports of Blackberry’s Death are “Greatly Exaggerated”

by Matt Klassen on December 3, 2013

Blackberry has taken down the ‘For Sale’ sign, fired the realtors, and has once again proclaimed itself “very much alive, thank you.” In an open letter yesterday, Blackberry CEO John Chen attempted to retain what little territory his company still lays claim too, assuring investors that Blackberry is stable and that his company is a smart investment. If such assurances sound familiar though, it’s because it’s the second time in the last few months Blackberry has taken to the media to assuage fears the company remains on the brink of disaster…only now things seem so much less hopeful then they did two months ago.

While this second open letter may seem a tad desperate, the company has aimed its pleadings at the one market it still may have a hope of sustaining a presence in, enterprise. Its not surprising then that this letter focuses on how business can employ Blackberry to manage their mobile devices, once a tertiary service that would complement Blackberry’s core smartphone now thrust into the forefront as the company seemingly looks to switch its focus from devices to software and device management.

There’s no question that such a change in mission comes somewhat as a surprise from Blackberry, but as I’ve said before, its really all Blackberry has left. If the company can’t leverage its successful services like BBM and its device management tools to regain traction in the enterprise market, there looks to be no future for the once great Canadian mobile company.

It was not quite two months that the future seemed bright for Blackberry; well, maybe not bright, but less bleak to be sure. Then CEO Thorsten Heins had seemingly brokered an acquisition deal with the Fairfax consortium, one that would allow Blackberry a chance to discover itself by going private. But as we know, the deal fell through, Heins lost his job, and now Blackberry is working overtime to convince us all that things at the company are fine, despite the fact that it has almost entirely gutted its senior management core of course.

But again, lets be fair here, Blackberry still has some things going for it, particularly its secondary services, one’s that could help the enterprise sector combat the greatest extant threat to corporate security the mobile generation has ever seen: the BYOD movement. Companies are still scrambling to develop comprehensive network security solutions to respond to the persistent threat of lost data, lost devices, and careless employees. Blackberry, it seems, is ready to help.

The company, Chen notes in his letter, has invested heavily in enterprise mobility management—for any device—and he notes Blackberry is finding some initial success as a software and device management firm, offering companies tools that popular phone platforms like Android or iOS don’t bother to give you. “We understand the realities of the enterprise mobility market better than anyone, and we’re in the game for the long term,” Chen said, adding that, “We move more secure mobile data than anyone else…We manage more mobile devices than any other vendor. Period.”

That said, while Chen is working overtime to once again instill consumer and enterprise confidence in the Blackberry brand, one has to wonder if he’s working just as hard to convince himself with his own spin doctoring, knowing that he has been given the unenviable task to captain a ship that’s already almost underwater.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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