BlackBerry CEO favours enterprise over consumer market

By Danny Palmer
08 Jan 2014 View Comments

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen has denied that the Canadian firm is a "niche player" in the smartphone market and insists the company can turn a profit by 2016. 

That, he told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be achieved through focusing on corporations and business users. 

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"If there's a dollar I need to spend between the consumer space and the enterprise space I'll spend it on the enterprise space for now," he said, as reported by The Telegraph.

Chen added that BlackBerry wouldn't release any new devices aimed at consumers, rather than business users, in "the foreseeable future," and essentially acknowledged that the company can no longer compete with the behemoths of Apple and Samsung in that particular market.

"We will have a set of phones that are aiming at consumers but I don't think we will have set of phones that pitch against competitor phones," he explained. "We need to uniquely call out what's good about our phones. If you go after other people's phones by definition you've fallen behind."

"For the next 18 months development will only focus on enterprise," Chen added.

Fallen behind might be a bit of an understatement, with the most recent figures suggesting that BlackBerry now holds less than two per cent of the global smartphone market.

The decline is so steep that while BlackBerry mobile phones were once the most frequently used by business users, the company has now even fallen behind Microsoft. Windows mobile phones now hold about five per cent of the smart phone market.

BlackBerry had a torrid time throughout 2013, a year that started with the underwhelming launch of the Z10, and ended with the company cancelling two upcoming smartphones due to launch early this year and calling off its BlackBerry Live 2014 conference. The yearly event had run every year since 2002.

In the autumn, the company cancelled plans to sell itself and go private when the only bidder was unable to raise the financing to complete the deal

The company's own financial reports suggested that revenues at BlackBerry fell by over 50 per cent during 2013 compared with 2012. 

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