'We're still not dead yet,' new Blackberry CEO tells customers

By Graeme Burton
04 Dec 2013 View Comments

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen has sent an open letter to the company's customers telling them that BlackBerry is "very much alive, thank you".

The letter to customers is intended to reassure them that the investments that they have made in BlackBerry's infrastructure and software are secure and that Chen will keep "the lines of communication open" as the company restructures.  

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"As we re-focus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM [enterprise mobile management] 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," he continued.

"In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated."

The company will continue to develop multi-platform mobile device management (MDM) software, he wrote. "Making this change enables us to manage all devices, turbo-charge BYOD [bring your own device] initiatives, and provide the very best management experience."

Chen claimed that the company has more customers in enterprise mobile management than any other vendor and that it manages more mobile devices too.

The letter coincided with sales figures from box-counters Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, which indicated that sales of the company's smartphones had tanked globally in the third quarter to the end of September, partly due to the uncertainty wrought by ousted CEO Thorsten Heins' decision to put the company up for sale.

That move stalled sales to mobile operators, through which most high-end smartphones are shifted on two-year contracts. In particular, it affected sales of the Z30, the company's new flagship smartphone, despite positive reviews.

A proposed sale to a consortium led by a Canadian insurance company fell through when it was unable to raise the funds and no other viable buyers came forward - apart from, reportedly, China's Lenovo whose tentative bid was turned away on security grounds by the Canadian government.

Heins was subsequently ousted in a boardroom coup, and replaced by the highly rated John Chen, who was responsible for the turnaround of software maker Sybase and its sale in 2010 to SAP for $5.8bn. 

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