John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, took to the company’s blog to “clarify” a Reuters report that the company may exit the devices business, falling back on the time-honoured defence that “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,” he said.
According to the original report, Chen told Reuters that “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business.” It was suggested that the company could turn a profit on handset shipments of around 10 million units per year – it recognised revenue on just 1.3 million in its most recent quarter.
While Chen’s original comments were hardly met with surprise – the company has been losing share for some time, and seems to be able to do little to turn the tide against rivals such as Apple and Samsung – it may have caused (more) concern among BlackBerry’s core enterprise customer base, where stability is considered a key asset.
“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,” Chen continued.
BlackBerry has already taken steps to transform its devices business, partnering with contract manufacturer Foxconn, and planning a device that plays to the strengths of its original, iconic handhelds.