John Chen is NOT Giving Up On The Consumer Market


Recently, John Chen penned a very good post on his LinkedIn Profile page discussing his plans for BlackBerry moving forward and what the focus should be to ensure this already successful turn around continues.  Chen has never been one to mince his words and has always been direct with his plans.

One of the lessons that I have learned over the years is the importance of being straightforward. It’s been especially true for me being the CEO of an iconic and global brand such as BlackBerry.

There is always the temptation to make statements that feed sensationalism, or make executive decisions that chase hype and trends. I have found telling it like it is the best thing to do, even if it hurts in the short-run, because it builds a foundation of trust over the long-term.

As with all things BlackBerry, his words have been twisted, taken out of context and some even omitted and cherry picked throughout the blogsphere leading to a lot of misinterpretation and negative spin.  Take this recent headline I read for example.  “John Chen says Company’s focus is on security and not the consumer market and China”.

That is correct, John Chen did state those things in his post.

For example, recently I’ve been advised to capitalize on Kim Kardashian’s pronouncements that BlackBerry phones are her “heart and soul,” or talk up plans to enter the China market, however preliminary they are today. I am grateful for Kim’s loyalty and respect her passion for BlackBerry, but it is not the right time for us to focus on the consumer market. Our focus right now is on extending our legendary security foundation with new solutions for the enterprise. Nothing is making us waver from that strategy.

However, one major thing is omitted and I’m not sure if this is a matter of convenience (maybe this particular blogger has a character limit when posting) or if its just a blatant attempt to twist the information.  Yes the big focus in on their strong suit.  That’s only natural and the smart thing to do.  But as you see, John Chen did add that he will not give up on the consumer.

That doesn’t mean that we are giving up on our many phone fans, as you can tell from the recently-released BlackBerry Passport and the soon-to-be-released BlackBerry Classic. But we cannot and will not chase sensationalism.

As for China, again, it is not currently the major focus but Chen also added to this.  “Not focusing on China” was also another thing that was being Cherry picked by a lot of tech bloggers.   Being a systematic planner and thinker like Chen is, its clear that he will not jump into such a market with both feet before having a well thought out plan in place.  And again, he also states this in his post.

As for China, rest assured that we are developing a well-thought out plan that will take into account many factors, including timing and our long-term strategy. It won’t be rushed because it’s exciting or turned away from because of security concerns. And it won’t include a takeover.

I will always take a rational approach and long-term view. As thrilling as riding the hype or letting the crowd dictate my tactics may feel in the short run, it will hurt in the long run. Build trust and be clear on your priorities and know that the right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision. That philosophy should serve you and your organization well, whatever situation you are in.

So as you can see, John Chen is not abandoning China. He’s also not abandoning the consumers space.  He is doing the smart thing and focusing on what BlackBerry does best and that’s enterprise.  We all do remember that BlackBerry rose to prominence in the consumer space strictly by focusing on the enterprise market in the first place.

Some of us have are just ahead of that trend and realize this and have already made the move.  Time for you to jump on board and come back to black.

  • ital1

    Well done Ray; it’s exactly this focus that allows BlackBerry to leverage their technologies to expand into other verticals such as health care with the NantHealth partensrship. Bloggers can’t just get past devices, however devices are one part of a secure end-to-end solution. He clearly stated that they’re not abandoning consumers yet sites that depend on click revenue need to focus on negatives and misinformation for clicks.

  • Chaplain_Clancy

    The ignorance and close mindedness of some of the commenters is astonishing.

  • Ithinkthere4iam

    No need for me to jump back, this Pollack is already so Black.

  • BB Racer !!

    Stay focused JC win that high margin enterprise business back !

  • jrohland

    I know there have been a few posts about Amazon customer reviews of the Passport but, to me the Amazon sales primarily represent end user purchases. I.E., the consumer market. As of this morning it is now showing 5 stars. There has been a considerable upswing in the number of verified purchases. I suspect the Black Friday sale has a lot to do with that.

    This is one of many very positive reviews from people claiming to have left iPhone for Passport:

  • Bigglybobblyboo

    John Chen never did give up on the consumer market. Anyone who says otherwise is either being sensationalist or is utterly clueless as to how business works.