Well you know that things are especially good with the BlackBerry Passport when BlackBerry CEO John Chen made the following statement at the MIT Enterprise Forum event earlier today in Hong Kong.
“It’s a good thing that some people can’t buy BlackBerry’s Passport phone”, he said. “That means it’s popular”
The following article, “Why John Chen’s Happy You Can’t Buy a BlackBerry Passport” by Clement Tan and Gerrit De Vynck from Bloomberg is a must read. In that article, they both concede what BlackBerry fans have known for at least the last 2 weeks. That there is excessive demand for BlackBerry Passport devices that have exceeded even BlackBerry’s expectations, resulting in inventory issues.
What I have noticed on the online websites such as ShopBlackBerry.com and Amazon.com over and over again is that as soon as BlackBerry Passport becomes available it is sold out in a few hours. I noticed the same issue while talking to a few reps in some of the major carrier stores in Toronto, Canada. They can’t keep enough Passport devices, as it is in very high demand and are constantly being sold out. This is also the case in other countries such as the England and Singapore, where the BlackBerry Passport has been released. Our own UTB contributor, BigglyBobblyBoo noticed this as well in his article titled, “Is The Passport The Most Sought After Device Of 2014?”
The Bloomberg article does begin with the usual BlackBerry struggling company introduction that many tech articles start with when mentioning BlackBerry. But there are also some positive news as well. They acknowledge the fact that BlackBerry’s latest flagship device is a hot item and in general presents a positive outlook for both CEO Chen and his turn around plan.
What is also encouraging is that it also mentioned that Chen is looking at possibly expanding sales into China, which has not really been a market that BlackBerry has focused on. Next month he will be attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing in his first trip to mainland China as BlackBerry’s CEO and he hopes to come back with some ideas and a strategy for expanding into that market.
Below are a couple excerpts from the article.
It’s a good thing that some people can’t buy BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY)’s Passport phone, Chief Executive Officer John Chen said. That means it’s popular.
Shortages of the business-focused smartphone show that efforts to turn around the unprofitable company, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd. (BB), are taking hold, Chen told an MIT Enterprise Forum event today in Hong Kong. Demand for the phone — the first major new device released globally since Chen took charge in November — has exceeded the Canadian company’s expectations.
“I’m glad to have inventory issues. It shows that people want the phone,” said Chen, 59. “We took a very conservative approach and didn’t order too many.”
In his attempt to return the company to profitability by 2016, Chen is focusing on products such as the BlackBerry Blend feature that appeals to corporate customers because it helps them merge work and personal information. BlackBerry’s smartphone shipments sank to 13.7 million units last year from 52.3 million in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as it struggled to compete with touch-screen devices produced by Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co.
The Passport pre-sold 200,000 units in the first two days, selling out in six hours on BlackBerry’s website and within 10 hours on Amazon.com. The square-screen smartphone is designed for business users who write e-mails, study spreadsheets and read documents on their phones.
BlackBerry was focused on the 30 percent of the market that sees their phones as a tool, not as an entertainment portal, Chen said.
“That is not a space that we can afford to be in now. Being sexy and being a workhorse are two different things,” he said.
Chen, a Hong Kong native, said he doesn’t yet have a strategy for expanding into China. The company got 16 percent of its sales from the Asia-Pacific region during the fiscal year that ended in March, compared with 19 percent from the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chen said he hopes to get ideas when he attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing next month, his first trip to the country as CEO.
“China is too big a market to ignore,” Chen said. “It is clear that BlackBerry needs to and should be in that market.”
Well there you have it folks. CEO Chen is continuing his turnaround strategy for BlackBerry and in the process is seeking new markets to expand BlackBerry sales. In the year since he has been there the entire mood of the company and outlook has changed from despair to one of hope and cautious, but positive optimism for the future. I am also noticing it in the media and tech blogs as well.