John Chen has been doing a lot of interviews lately and they all revolve around the future of BlackBerry’s hardware division. Yesterday Erica posted a video of Chen’s interview with CNBC and Brad followed up with an excellent commentary on the secure nature of BlackBerry’s hardware division. How happy we are to be declaring the ‘Officialdom’ of that statement!
Chen also conducted an interview yesterday on Bloomberg speaking about the future of the handset business. In that interview, Chen hinted that two new devices will be released by February 2017. He then goes on to discuss the claims of profitability and the claims that some are making that Chen continues to push back the boundaries.
Now I believe that it is the perceived pushing of these boundaries which have allowed the media at large to continue to push their boundaries of their declaration of BlackBerry’s death. We’ve been hearing for six years now that BlackBerry has no future and that it’s death was imminent. At least once per year since then, someone has declared that BlackBerry wouldn’t see out the year. This speculation has played havoc with the stock prices and effected the public perception of BlackBerry products, both software and hardware. We all know that the software division is profitable and Chen in both this interview and his interview with CNBC states that the outcome for profitability looks good. In this interview, Chen also informs us that he is going to segmented reporting in order to be more transparent with how each individual division is going. This speaks to me of the confidence that Chen has in his hardware.
When asked about what is the benchmark of profitable, Chen talks about the fact that the handset business has profitability ‘beyond the margins’. This effectively means that so long as handsets aren’t a drain on resources, they will stay. Chen’s qualifier for this was that BlackBerry’s customers depend on the devices for BlackBerry’s services and I see this as the key. The hardware division is part of BlackBerry’s global business blueprint. BlackBerry as a company are safe and they need to make the handset business work. They are doing that.
All this begs the question of when and how. What is the deadline? Is there a deadline, or can this merry-go-round of passing the deadline between BlackBerry and the media continue ad-nauseum? Chen clearly states that nothing has changed for him with deadlines. He said back in September 2015 that he would know in a year whether he can turn the handset business around and in this video he states quite clearly that this means September 2016 is that deadline. So for the next five months, we will continue to have the back and forth between BlackBerry and it’s supporters and the media who wish to ensure that BlackBerry’s star continues to stagnate, but that’s all we have.
In a wedding ceremony, sometimes the minister will ask if anyone has reason for the bride and groom not to be joined to speak now or forever hold their peace. The media have only one complaint about BlackBerry and that’s their hardware division. If by September there is no reasonable evidence that BlackBerry’s hardware division should be dismantled, surely the press have to hold their peace? The deadlines have been drawn, after September, there’s no more ‘one more year’ from the media. John Chen at the helm of BlackBerry has made swift decisive action and based in this information above, the media will very quickly run out of ammunition against this innovative comeback kid.
Source: Seeking Alpha