back to article BlackBerry CEO John Chen: Y'know what, we'll go back to enterprise stuff

Interim BlackBerry CEO John Chen says critics should quit dwelling on the snakebit smartphone vendor's past missteps and look instead to what the company plans to do tomorrow. In an editorial published by CNBC on Monday, Chen said that he has crafted a new strategy for the Canadian firm that leaves it "well-positioned for the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, just look readers...

    BlackBerrry's best selling current phone is still the Curve, which is now so ancient it's even gone past 'Hoxton' on the irony scale. And they don't sell many of those. And it's outclassed by everything, including two tin cans connected with string.

    I think it would be very sensible for John Chen to keep quiet for another year or so. At least then his options might be worth something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, just look readers...

      I think BB phone sales might increase once people start upgrading their current phone.

      I know that my next phone will most likely be a Blackberry. Since I prefer the Blackberry physical keyboard, I'll get a more functional all-around phone that way.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Yes, just look readers...

        So you're just going to keep using your existing phone that grows ever more obsolete, hoping for them to come out with a new model you feel is capable of replacing it? At what point would you give up and concede the company shot itself in the foot, the leg, the arm and the groin, and the bleeding is at this point impossible to stop?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, just look readers...

        "I think BB phone sales might increase once people start upgrading their current phone."

        Nah - most coporates are looking at Windows Phone instead. Very few are making any new investment in Blackberry, and Apple is too expensive and Android is too insecure.. Also in the BYOD space - many are looking at getting rid of unmanaged devices too...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, just look readers...

      Considering going back to a curve myself. It does the essentials well - phone, text, email (I can actually see more than one line of text messages unlike iOS). It does the required bits ok for occasional desperate use - maps, internet. It's poor at FB can't do instagram but really doesn't matter. Camera very basic but works.

      Thing is I can type on them without auto/recorrecting every third word and the battery last 4-5 days with light use. Currently iOS has taken a step backwards in my view - dodgy UI, playlists crash music app, HDR crashes camera so I've gone back to an old ipod for music and that doesn't restart the track everytime I pause it and come back to it.

      I'd love to see where all these "knocked down" Q5, Q10 and Z10s are. For having a $billion of them they can't sell they don't seem to be pushing them too hard/cheaply...

      1. Jess

        Re: Yes, just look readers...

        Try Amazon for cheap BB10 devices. I am typing this on a Q5 that cost £185. It's far nicer than Android. They seem to be a little more expensive due to Christmas, than a few weeks ago.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, just look readers...

      Yep you're dead right and when they die in 2014 as Nokia and low cost Chinese vendors get their act together at the low end pretty much all that service revenue, more than half of their total revenue for Q3 simply disappears in a puff of smoke. KABOOM

  2. danR2

    BB10 is finished

    A careful parsing of Chen's statement shows a growing future for QNX, but not on mobile. He can't say at the moment they will slowly let BB10 die. The base would simply melt away: "If the future is Android, and BB10 will just hang on for a while like an appendix, for legacy apps, why bother? just get an HTC or Samsung and be done with it."

  3. markw:

    The proof, of course, will be in the pudding.

    Of course it won't because this is nonsense.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Proof in this sense means test.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: The proof, of course, will be in the pudding.

      Could be a christmas pudding. Plenty of proof in one of those.

      1. markw:

        Re: The proof, of course, will be in the pudding.

        Which comes from a time when alcohol was "proved" (i.e. tested) to ensure it wasn't watered down.

        Perhaps the journos have been at the electric soup?

        Or perhaps standards of literacy ain't wot they used to be ...

  4. Mikel

    Beginning to dislike Blackberry stories

    The first couple years were interesting. But lately it just seems morbid. Here we have the zombie of what was once a friend, chained to a stump. It is still moaning weakly for brains as we watch it slowly decompose. Really, turn away. We know the story ends with it transforming into an incorporeal patent troll eventually. We don't have to watch the sad stages of decomposition.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Beginning to dislike Blackberry stories

      Yeah but Canadian telecom related company fails do tend to be like a gruesome car crash on the side of the motorway you can't turn away from (see also Nortel).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beginning to dislike Blackberry stories

        Curiously you can't walk two steps in any BlackBerry office without bumping into somebody ex Nortel.

        I wonder - could these facts be in any way related?

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Beginning to dislike Blackberry stories

          I don't see how. Nortel self-executed its management out of fear from legal problems at exactly the wrong moment, lost courage, then got lawyered mercilessly for all its worth like Gimp.

  5. earplugs


    Sounds like the million dollar toilet in the space shuttle.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    And Quite Perfect for Pirate Privateer and Renaissance Renegade Man alike

    That executive decision for Blackberry Futures, Mr Chen, whenever one has loyal and dedicated novel enterprise development players back room, in house and on board and in satellite proxy operations, is bound to be good and encouraging news for all kinds of go ahead, go getting presidents in sub-prime binds with bands of petrified legislators to edutain and stagnant rules and regulation to negotiate ... and/or ignore and replace, of course.

    Time and Tide and Progress Wait for No Man Kind or Virtual Machine Control System. That is the RIM niche, is it not, which delivers Blackberry IT its bold edge and leading position in the field of mobile operating systems supplying advanced demonstratives? Or is that Remote Asset Controller yet to be purchased and integrated into the Global Macro/Virtual Matrix/QNX Neutrino Microkernel?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And Quite Perfect for Pirate Privateer and Renaissance Renegade Man alike

      Jim Balsillie - We've missed you man!!

  7. The MOTO

    BB10 starting to get popular

    Many of the people I have been talking to have, as the saying goes, had it up to here, with the iPhone. Many have switched to the new Blackberrys and others are considering. Blackberry needs of course millions upon millions of sales to be successful and not just the handful of sales that I can possibly attest to.

    Nonetheless this may very well be more to it than this simple anecdote. It sure seems like it to me, at least in the prosumer market that I tend to swim in.

    1. Fihart

      Re: BB10 starting to get popular

      With whom, pray ?

      Though I have an oldish Blackberry, I'm not the typical user. Mr brother on the other hand is. He's worked for two firms which had BES and handed out BB's to all and sundry. When I last mentioned the newer BB10 models, his response was they don't work with the firm's version of BES and it isn't going to switch any time soon. His kid and wife use iPhones and I suspect that's where he'll go next.

      When I saw the Z10 is at fire-sale prices here, I gave it a glance because, apparently, the OS no longer screws up your SIM so it won't do internet in other phones. And my present phone looks well made, but it's a replacement for two that failed within contract. Other experiences with BB so far have not been positive either -- impossibly small onscreen keyboard, multiple reboots when updating (and 3 minutes to boot from cold each time) and a general feeling that it's the BB way or else.

      Well, next time it'll probably be else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BB10 starting to get popular

      It's a bit Catch-22: IT departments may think that BYOD was a cheapskate mistake provoked by a generation of managers that could actually understand how to use iPads and so wanted to use them rather than Windows, but they can't make a convincing case for going back to security if the company might be about to go down the tubes.

      God may not be on the side of the big battalions, but the Finance Department most definitely is.

      It's a pity really. In the absence of a keyboard I can use easily, I'd buy an iPhone if I felt that function was being prioritised over form (bigger screen, more robust housing, micro SD card, micro USB and HDMI out). But I'm clearly in a minority, because technically I've just described one of several Androids or the BB Z30, and they don't sell in anything like the numbers. Apple's unwillingness to make a big-battery expandable phone that can bounce a bit is my chief objection to them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BB10 starting to get popular

      That would explain the catastrophic 50% plunge in device sales and muli-billion dollar write downs of unsellable BB10 phones over the past couple of quarters. :-)

    4. danR2


      You've drunk the BB Cool-aid, I get it.

  8. David Gale

    Going back to enterprise?

    Going back to enterprise? Now, there's a coincidence. I wonder how long it will take Ballmer's successor to come to the same conclusion about Windows?

  9. asdf Silver badge

    wow gj sherlock

    >a reference to his time as CEO of Sybase, which he returned to profitability after a sharp downturn in the late 1990s.

    Gee you mean when everybody had a sharp downturn and all but the lame dot com only companies came back strong? Couldn't you say the same thing about SUN and look how that turned out.

    1. AMB-York Silver badge

      Re: wow gj sherlock

      >> a reference to his time as CEO of Sybase

      Ignored for years, bought out by SAP, now ignored by SAP too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wow gj sherlock

        Ur clueless ... You know SAP HANA ??

        Anon for a reason ... ;-)

        1. AMB-York Silver badge

          SAP HANA

          Yep, and it's nothing to do with Sybase.

          Maybe you're thinking of IQ - great product, ignored by SAP.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wow gj sherlock

      Yes. You could. And this might well prove to be the difference. Sybase was never a big company to start with and it was always a software company. SUN on the other hand was a huge company that made most of its money from hardware, but had its traditional business decimated by Compaq, HP, Dell, IBM etc

      Sound familiar?

  10. Christian Berger Silver badge

    They could have a chance if they would build stuff companies want

    Companies would love to have a secure and easily manageable mobile system. Blackberry claimed to provide that even though their implementation was heavily flawed (e.g. closed source BES). In any case the hardware was great. Crisp monochrome displays and querty keyboards. It's the hardware you always wanted to have.

    If Blackberry would step back for a moment and do the following: Bring out a simple device and have a very minimalistic software stack for it. Don't store much data on the device and make it essentially a smart terminal using open protocols. Do as much as possible on the server. Open Source that software and make it easy for someone to access the flash of the device to update it, while making it easy to stick a seal over the port used for doing so. Don't use the charger port for this.

    For most companies that won't make much difference except that they can run the BES on a proper server platform. Companies which want more can add modules to the server to, for example, access internal databases. When the protocols are open and simple, that should be easy.

    Companies who have higher security needs can simply look at the source code and throw out things they don't want. Then they can compile it themselves. In fact there could even be an industry of companies providing hardened devices.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Virtual Wraithdom is the LOVE Application Implementation Device and a Truly Hot Driver

      Hi, Christian Berger,

      At Certain Incredibly Active Executive Layer Levels are Quite Specifically Peculiar and Particularly Hardened Devices, SMARTR Global Operating Devices which Foster and Mentor and Monitor Divided Revisions in the System Applications Programming for Myriad Alternative Operands Drivering the HyperRadioProActive Media Presentation of Futures' Realities.

      And no small thing for Blackberry to Provide Leading Execution of Executive Direction via its Virtual Private Networking Driver Chain of Super Executive Enterprise Vehicles/Beta Virtual Platforms which be also Virtual Beta Platforms, ensuring and assuring and insuring cover to all bases with all possible reliable accesses to stores of Restorative Source CodeXSSXXXX.

      Real hot virtual intellectual property that changes everything in a flash, with and without cash, a crash and a smash, although those three lowly parameters are easily reconfigured to deliver catastrophic climaxes and climactic catastrophes alike, and in tandem, and with others to convert and morph into something else and quite different, for there be no shortage and dearth of alternate choices, whenever Applied Imagination, Vivid and Viable, Vivacious and Virile and Viral, has Unlimited Sources for Resources.

      Care for a piece of that pie and future action, Mr Chen? Say the word, write the check, and IT is there and in full working order and ready for gross base affirmative astute action.

      Well, El Reg and Vultures, surely you weren't expecting the future and a new year to be the same and not dissimilar to all previous years. That aint Progress at all, and in fact be Regression and Stagnation and Petrification. Time for AI Change, heh?

      Happy New Year, One and All. GCHQ sends IT LOVE but not necessarily from the Doughnut where it is allegedly mined, if one can believe all recent activity accounts, .... and what's not to accept and believe is true in the tales which have been leaking ever increasingly believable levels of sensitive info?

      Having no secrets requires no security and releases valued discrete and valuable dedicated assets to pursue novel inquiry of what tomorrow will bring to add to the future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Virtual Wraithdom is the LOVE Application Implementation Device and a Truly Hot Driver

        You know, I have the odd feeling that there's a fairly intelligent post under there if I could only decipher it.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Virtual Wraithdom is the LOVE Application Implementation Device and a Truly Hot Driver

          That's typical for missives from El Martian. It's like Philip K. Dick's "Pink Ray", only slightly mistuned.

  11. Glen Turner 666

    But the enterprise has gone...

    There's no "going back to the enterprise" as a safe ground for Blackberry.

    The reason is simple: the iPad. That device's sheer ubiquity has forced IT managers to do the previously unthinkable: accept unmanaged devices onto their networks. Sure some networks still won't do that -- sometimes for valid security reasons -- but those networks accept a fall in productivity. If you're business IT -- arguing that computing improves productivity -- then not allowing personal-owned IT is a path to irrelevance.

    There's also finance. Everyone has a smartphone. Why on earth would en enterprise want to issue its staff with one? You might do it as some sort of non-monetary salary. But the idea that key staff get a work mobile is one that beancounters are no longer keen on.

    The result is that enterprises aren't as keen on Blackberry's special sauce as they were during the era of the standardised desktop operating environment.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: But the enterprise has gone...

      I think a lot of manager are rethinking their lemming decision to allow iPhones and iPads into the network infrastructure. It's not a manageable device from a business perspective. And as MS has proven again and again, you can't bolt that on as an afterthought. It has to be built in from the ground up. With BB it is. The only danger to the business was that BB might fail and they'd be without the vendor to support the device. If the company has been restructured so that's not as big a risk as it was 10 months ago, you can reconsider your future plans.

      If you think you're in the IT business and you aren't working for IBM, HP, Dell, or similar, you'd better think again. Your trade made be IT, but your business is likely something else. And that something else is what you need to be focused on, because it's what you're really there to support. Hell, even IBM, HP, and Dell need to be thinking that way.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "With a partner [Foxconn] dedicated to our hardware"

    That would be "dedicated" in the sense of "when they're not doing stuff for Apple"?

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: "With a partner [Foxconn] dedicated to our hardware"

      Foxconn work with almost every major player in mobile, gadgetry, and IT hardware.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "With a partner [Foxconn] dedicated to our hardware"

      TRANSLATION. If you have anything to do with hardware in this company suggest you start polishing up that CV of yours.

  13. MarleysGhost

    "With a global enterprise customer base exceeding 80,000, we have three times the number of customers compared to Good, AirWatch and MobileIron combined," he wrote.

    Well ya, John but then Good, Airwatch and Mobiliron actually manage multiplatform customers as opposed to just aging BlackBerry e-mailers.

  14. John Savard Silver badge


    Since Foxconn is in China, won't that mean that newer Blackberry phones will be regarded as less secure?

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Oops

      How can something processing sensitive data through closed sourced applications running with System rights be even less secure?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope.

    I hope Chen is putting teams of engineers together to drastically improve their Enterprise offerings and also perform a major upgrade to their BB10 OS that will allow BB power users to finally give up their OS7 devices;

    BB10 was a step back for them and this needs to be fixed ASAP if they want to hold on to their enterprise customers.

  16. ItsNotMe

    And in the background...

    ...the strains of "Nearer My God to Thee" are heard.

    "Interim BlackBerry CEO John Chen says critics should quit dwelling on the snakebit smartphone vendor's past missteps and look instead to what the company plans to do tomorrow."

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