Tag Archives: John Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s Letter to Employees

 BlackBerry CEO John Chen's Letter to Employees

Between the earnings call and media interview John Chen send letters to employees of BlackBerry.

Will Connors from WSJ got his hands a copy of it and posted it, which you can read below. It doesn’t sugar coat the challenges. And it does encourage employees to enjoy the holidays and come back recharged – there is definitely a lot of work to do.

At today’s Global Town Hall, I talked a bit about the state of BlackBerry and the changes we’re making to address pressing challenges.

A Tough Quarter

The overall earnings numbers this quarter are not good. BlackBerry will take a primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments of approximately $1.6 billion. In plain terms, we are acknowledging that we have inventory that is losing value by the day – devices that aren’t selling and warehoused components to produce even more in-market devices. This contributed significantly to a loss of $4.4 billion in this quarter.

Focusing Our Hardware Talent

This inventory write down points to a pressing challenge: how to profit from BlackBerry hardware, while reducing the risk of too much – or too little – inventory. To do this, we must focus our business on what we do well while leveraging the capabilities of our partners.

This is why today we announced we have established a five-year partnership with Foxconn, the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic products and components. They know how to manage supply chains and they have remarkable capabilities to get new products to market quickly.

With this partnership, BlackBerry will focus its resources to serve customers who value advanced security. In other words, we will continue to focus on what we do best – iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise mobility management.

With Foxconn’s scale and efficiency, BlackBerry can also compete more effectively in other markets. The initial focus of the Foxconn partnership will be a smartphone for Indonesia and other fast-growing markets in early 2014.

We are working on recruiting a head of our Devices business and I look forward to introducing him to you soon. I am confident that he will continue to focus our teams on areas where BlackBerry can deliver maximum value to our customers.

Capitalizing on Opportunities

It’s important to remember our operating units continue to have significant strengths and opportunities:

BlackBerry remains a leader in secure enterprise mobile device management, with a global enterprise customer base exceeding 80,000. We continue to work to shift this base to BlackBerry 10. BES 10 commercial and test server installs have increased to over 30,000, up from 25,000 in September 2013.
QNX is a leader in the automotive sector; its technology is used in more vehicle models (200+) and by more automakers and suppliers than all other platforms combined. QNX will unveil new technology in automotive and cloud services at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in January.

BlackBerry is a pioneer in mobile messaging with BBM. With the launch of multi-platform BBM, we’ve seen over 40 million newly registered iOS/Android users. More than a dozen Android OEMs plan to preload BBM, including most recently LG. More importantly, as we focus on monetizing BBM, over 250,000 BBM Channels have been created by a global user base, including large brands such as Coke Indonesia and USA Today. BBM is also the most secure mobile messaging service for use in regulated enterprises.

We have also increased our cash position to $3.2 billion, meaning we have the ability to make strategic investments in areas where we think we can grow and profit.

Turning a company around is hard work. I appreciate everyone’s commitment over the last year and I ask that you continue to work together to help move BlackBerry forward. I know that if we focus on what’s important and continually improve the way we approach our business, the quarterly results will take care of themselves. We’re bringing together a solid leadership team and we’re already making the kinds of changes necessary to move our business to profitability.

As we move into the holidays, I encourage you to enjoy some time with the people you care about and come back energized and focused in the new year. We have challenges ahead of us, but if we pull together and stay focused on our customers, we will succeed.


John Chen
Chairman and CEO

BlackBerry announces two new executive appointments

BlackBerry announces two new executive appointments

With the new CEO taking the helm of BlackBerry, they wasted no time to appoint new blood to the company to stir the ship around.

Press Release

BlackBerry Announces Two New Executive Appointments

WWATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – December 18, 2013) – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY)(TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced two appointments that strengthen the Company’s strategy, marketing and operations.

James S. Mackey was appointed Executive Vice President for Corporate Development and Strategic Planning, joining the Company with years of experience executing highly successful corporate strategies that drive growth. Mark Wilson was named Senior Vice President of Marketing and brings extensive experience building brand preference and driving integrated marketing for a number of well-known companies.

“Jim and Mark are important appointments for BlackBerry as they bring extensive experience and add the necessary leadership and depth that will help us drive our transformation,” said John Chen, Executive Chair and CEO of BlackBerry. “I have worked extensively with both of them in the past, have the utmost respect for their experience and accomplishments, and we have developed close and trusted relationships with each other that will enable us to cohesively manage the changes required to reshape BlackBerry.”

Before joining BlackBerry, Mackey served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Open Text Corp., as well as head of Corporate Development at SAP, where he developed and led the Company’s global merger and acquisitions group, including completing more than 40 acquisitions.

Wilson will join BlackBerry in January from Avaya, where as CMO he led the marketing transition to a customer-solutions orientation. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate and Field Marketing at Sybase, and has extensive experience in marketing roles at AT&T and KPMG. At Sybase, he oversaw branding and advertising, lead generation, sales enablement and mobile product marketing operations.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Sends Open Letter To Enterprise Customers

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Sends Open Letter To Enterprise Customers

BlackBerry Interim CEO John Chen have send out Open Letters to its Enterprise Customers to assure them that BlackBerry is here to stay and to boost their confidence in the company.

An Open Letter to Customers
To our valued enterprise customers and partners,

You’re hearing a lot of noise in the market about BlackBerry®. MDM vendors are undoubtedly inviting you to webinars and enticing you to switch off your BES.

We want to set the story straight about BlackBerry in the Enterprise, both for our existing customers and for those about to implement BYOD and MDM.

We are very much alive, thank you

Our “for sale” sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.

The investments you’ve made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are secure.

I will keep the lines of communication open as we navigate through this transition.

We’re going back to our heritage and roots – delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions. As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems. And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period.

In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.

Setting the record straight: We will manage all devices

We’re serious about multi-platform MDM and even more serious about multi-platform EMM. We deliberately moved to a new platform with BES10 last year. Making this change enables us to manage all devices, turbo-charge BYOD initiatives, and provide the very best management experience.

Our competitors want you to think that BES only manages BlackBerry devices, and that we are somehow more expensive than other MDMs. This is false.

We understand the realities of the enterprise mobility market better than anyone, and we’re in the game for the long term. We’ve been investing in enterprise mobility management – for any device – and thanks to customers like you, we’re doing very well. Here’s the proof:

  • Our EMM customer base is much larger than any of the other vendors in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management – and is growing.
  • We manage more mobile devices than any other vendor. Period.
  • We move more secure mobile data than anyone else.
  • We have substantial cash and are not a small VC-backed “pure play” MDM player seeking additional funds every year.

Security is not debatable – regardless of the device

BYOD users may be able to bring any device to work, but it’s our job to ensure the risk doesn’t follow them in. Whether you’re deploying corporate-owned iPads or allowing BYOD Android™ devices, security is paramount.

We have more certifications from government agencies than any other vendor and we’re the only EMM vendor and handset maker to receive the Department of Defense “Authority to Operate” certification.

Governments, global corporations and organizations that will not compromise on security continue to choose and trust BlackBerry.

BES10 is your future Enterprise Mobility Solution

We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone. That’s OK.

As we committed to earlier – we are more than just a device company. Today, BES10 supports multi-platform MDM, mobile application management and security. We have also made it as easy and low cost as possible for you to trial and deploy BES10.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to have an open conversation with you. Keep an eye out for an EMM Realities webcast series where we will drill down into the key areas in this letter. In the meantime, I want your feedback on how we can better serve your EMM needs.

I believe in BlackBerry and I’m confident in our future in enterprise, our technology and our ability to adapt to changing market needs.


John S.
Chair and CEO

How BlackBerry stands to benefit from NSA snooping allegations

How BlackBerry stands to benefit from NSA snooping allegations

An interesting article by Ivor Soans from First Post –

Edward Snowden may be Obama administration’s biggest bugbear, but the fallout of the NSA revelations may make Snowden a hero to BlackBerry fans desperately hoping for a revival of the once all-powerful smartphone maker.

The reason: Even as the US administration is working overtime repairing the damage to US foreign policy interests after it was alleged that NSA surveillance extended to the leaders of Russia, Mexico, Brazil, France and Germany , the furious German government which considered the US a close ally is now taking steps to protect itself despite US claims that it isn’t monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s communications now.

And as most Chief Information Officers will attest, on the mobility front, BlackBerry is the Gold Standard when it comes to security. According to a blog post by George Kesarios, as a result of the NSA revelations, the Apple iPhone will no longer be a device that will handle ‘official correspondence’ in the German government.

The BSI (Bonn federal office for information security) has drawn up guidelines and phones used by the German government must be BSI approved. And since the software developed by the BSI is not compatible with the iPhone, the conclusion of many observers is that soon iPhones will start disappearing from the German Parliament, says Kesarios.

Incidentally, the German government purchased nearly 40,000 secure BlackBerry Z10 smartphones a few months ago, including one for Merkel. eWeek reported that the Z10s in use by the German government included a Secusmart encryption engine installed via a micro SD card, that takes advantage of BlackBerry’s Balance feature, which allows the creation of a wall between two functions of the BlackBerry — once installed, the Secusmart BlackBerry meets NATO requirements for classified communications, allowing the BlackBerry Z10 to act as a typical smartphone, while encrypting all communications with other secure systems.

Other German government bodies have also taken to the Z10 since no foreign intelligence agency has succeeded in breaking the encryption on the phones, according to the German Interior Ministry . And this when Secusmart says that there was no way the NSA could crack the encryption built into Merkel’s Secusmart-enabled BlackBerry Z10.

Secusmart CEO Hans-Christoph Quelle insisted that the high security solution from Secusmart for secure communication within the German government was not affected by NSA attempts. “Theoretically, it would take 149 billion years to crack this code based on today’s technical standards, even with the use of special computers. The universe itself isn’t even that old. That’ll definitely keep the USA busy for awhile,” Quelle was quoted as saying.

In the UK, the Telegraph reports that Apple iPads have been banned from Cabinet meetings due to fears of foreign intelligence agencies bugging confidential meetings. It is feared China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan have developed the ability to turn mobiles into microphones and turn them into transmitters even when they are turned off, using a Trojan computer virus, explains the Telegraph article.

And in the US itself, while President Obama was the first President to carry a personal mobile phone and uses a secure BlackBerry , members of his Administration are told not to take Apple iPads on overseas trips because they are not considered secure enough.

While angry countries are making their annoyance known — in September Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a State Dinner at the White House , Brazil also joined hands with Germany to sponsor a resolution at the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance.

But while the posturing takes place it would be fairly obvious that Brazil, France, Russia, Mexico and hopefully our very own India would take US promises of no more surveillance with a NSA-sized pinch of salt. And which also means they’d be looking for secure mobile solutions and BlackBerry fits that need like a perfect glove.

And closer home, with claims of even state governments snooping illegally, and allegations of illegal tapping by even units of the Indian Army BlackBerry’s smartphones could find a renewed lease of life from those worried about such illegal monitoring, which thanks to scary revelations might include every official and politician in India. But even in other countries, this would certainly mean the niche government market for such solutions.

And new BlackBerry boss, John Chen, Executive Chair & CEO is a focused enterprise man who knows more than a thing or two about niche markets. In his last executive position, Chen was CEO of Sybase, and he took it from a position where it had lost respect and was bleeding money to one where he sold Sybase to SAP for $5.8 billion. His modus operandi was slashing expenses and a focused pursuit of niche segments of the database market rather than competing with database behemoths like Oracle and IBM.

Chen’s latest move where BlackBerry CMO Frank Boulben and COO Kristian Tear were shown the door earlier this week might also be a clear sign that BlackBerry will be focused on its enterprise customers and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), it’s now cross-platform mobile instant messenger whose initial cross-platform adoption numbers pleasantly surprised even BlackBerry fans, leave alone media that usually bays for BlackBerry’s blood.

While BlackBerry spends on boosting BBM’s popularity, it has also launched the first salvo into monetising BBM.

The focus on the enterprise might be the other lynchpin of this strategy till they hopefully get to the future where BlackBerry could aim at becoming a leader in software-driven mobile computing solutions (that touches vehicles, healthcare, financial markets, etc,) with BBM extending reach to the consumer domain and connecting the two (which was also why BBM went cross-platform).

In the context of the CMO and COO exits, Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group told Financial Post that much of the marketing activity had been reaching out and going after consumers, and in an enterprise business, that’s mostly carried by sales. In the same article, BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis explained: “If you’re going to have a consumer focused business. It’s good to have a CMO. Because you’re going to be doing a lot of heavy advertising.” Gillis believes BlackBerry will inevitably “deemphasize the handset business, or won’t focus on selling it to consumers.”

Chen certainly seems to be starting well on the incisive leadership block and the NSA revelations may have just given BlackBerry a lucrative chance to own a profitable niche from where Chen can start rebuilding the brand. And while its early days yet, some have even started comparing him to Steve Jobs .

Message from BlackBerry Interim CEO John Chen: We are committed to reclaiming our success

Message from BlackBerry Interim CEO John Chen: We are committed to reclaiming our success

To our BlackBerry Community,As you know, this is a time of significant change at BlackBerry as we accelerate our efforts to transform our business.

I know there has been a lot said about BlackBerry, but let me remind you that at BlackBerry, we are not dwelling on the past. We are looking towards the future.

We Are Committed to Reclaiming our SuccessWe have begun moving the company to embrace a multi-platform, BYOD world by adopting a new mobility management platform and a new device strategy. We are also leveraging our tremendous assets, including BBM, our network and QNX. While we are proud of these accomplishments, we know there is more work to be done.

I know that it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim BlackBerry’s success and we are ready for that challenge.

Our Commitment to our Customers Remains UnchangedWe remain committed to delivering high quality products and services to the millions of people who rely on us globally. We also want our customers to know that BlackBerry has significant financial strength for the long-haul.

I believe in the value of this brand. With the right team and right strategy in place, I am confident that we will rebuild BlackBerry for the benefit of all of our constituencies.

We are Excited for the Future and you Should Be TooThank you for your strong support and continued commitment.


John S. Chen

Executive Chair and CEO

BlackBerry Employees gets Farewell Letter from Thorsten Heins

BlackBerry Employees gets Farewell Letter from Thorsten Heins

As BlackBerry goes thru a transition where we saw Thorsten Heins stepping down as interim CEO John Chen takes his place. We are sure that BlackBerry will emerge stronger and better. In the letter, Thorsten explains all the happenings within BlackBerry, from the end of the strategic review to the appointing of John Chen as interim CEO. He even had some motivational words for all of the loyal employees as to what’s next.

In terms of next steps, your day-to-day responsibilities will remain the same through this transition. As a team, each and every one of you plays an important role in BlackBerry’s success, so I thank you for staying focused on delivering the high quality products and services that our customers have come to expect from BlackBerry throughout this transition.

Thorsten Heins Letter:-

Dear BlackBerry Team Members,

I am writing to share some important news with you today regarding BlackBerry.

This morning, we announced that we have entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment of U.S. $1 billion from Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and other institutional investors, which is a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.

Today’s announcement also marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives process being conducted by the Special Committee. After conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we are pleased to announce this agreement that supports a strong future for BlackBerry. As you will see in the press release we issued this morning, this agreement also comes with some changes to BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and management team, effective upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in mid-November.

Today I bid farewell to this great company, but leave with the confidence of knowing that BlackBerry’s future is in your capable hands. Together, we have accomplished a great deal over the past six years, and I thank you for your loyalty and dedication along the way.

John Chen, a renowned expert in technology and global markets, will be appointed to the position of Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and Interim CEO pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Chen’s experience transforming Sybase from a mature technology company into a high-growth enterprise data management, data warehousing, mobility management and analytics innovator, as well as his deep roots in the technology industry will be invaluable to BlackBerry’s future. Additionally, Prem Watsa, a long time BlackBerry supporter and one of Canada’s preeminent investors will rejoin the Board as Lead Director.

I’m sure you all have lots of questions about what this means – and that’s why we are hosting a town hall meeting later this week where you will have the opportunity to hear directly from the new leadership.

As always, it is important for BlackBerry to speak with one voice. Should you receive any calls from investors please forward them to Paul Carpino. Media and other outside inquiries should be forwarded to Heidi Davidson.

In terms of next steps, your day-to-day responsibilities will remain the same through this transition. As a team, each and every one of you plays an important role in BlackBerry’s success, so I thank you for staying focused on delivering the high quality products and services that our customers have come to expect from BlackBerry throughout this transition.

You can continue to count me as BlackBerry’s biggest fan. Please know that I will be cheering from the sidelines.



BlackBerry has no plans to shut down handset business Intends to continue handset manufacturing

BlackBerry has no plans to shut down handset business Intends to continue handset manufacturing

In an interview with Reuters, John Chen stated that the company has no plans of shutting down the handset business just yet.

“I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business. I have done this before and seen the same movie before.”

Chen is the temporary replacement until the board is able to find a more permanent solution. With this announcement it is clear that BlackBerry will continue to fight for market share and will bring its mobile computing to the larger audience.

John Chen BlackBerry New Interim CEO