“We Do Compete In The Consumer Space” – John Chen

Due to the curse and magic of time zones, I don’t get to talk to Biggly nearly enough, with me being on the west coast of the good old U.S. of A. and Biggly living in what I only imagine as being a mythical place full of gnomes and fairies. But I was able to wake up to a great post by Biggly about an interview with John Chen by the Jakarta Post. In his post Biggly talks bout the hints that Chen seems to have dropped about what is taking place with the Z3. I know I am probably being entirely too optimistic about what we will eventually know about the Z3, but I listen to Chen, and if you listen to what Chen has said since taking over as CEO just a few months ago at BlackBerry, and listen to him today, you shall notice some not so subtle changes. Chen went from a positive man coming in to the company, convinced he could turn it around, laying out a framework to make it happen even before his feet touched the ground at BlackBerry HQ. And we fans were left hoping that he would be able to do it. But listen to his interviews now, and there has been an ever so subtle change. No longer is it a “we can do it stance”, it is now a “we are doing it, and this is when it will be done”. As a fan, I am extremely excited!

Now, at the end of my day, and probably just a short time before the magical nymphs arrive to awake Biggly from his slumber, I finally had a chance to go back and read the source for Biggly’s post. And there was another part of the post the stood out for me.

Who's leaving the consumer space? Not me!
Who’s leaving the consumer space? Not me!

Not too long ago, we heard that BlackBerry would be focusing on enterprise. This greatly upset some rather loud voices in the BlackBerry community, who immediately thought that BlackBerry was abandoning the consumer. We here at UTB have held on to the idea that we have not been abandoned, that BlackBerry’s focus on enterprise does not mean that we have been abandoned. And we’ve even taken a bit of flak from some of our neighbors for holding on to this belief.

And yeah, this happened:

In terms of Indonesia, I know this is a very big consumer market so far. It is also one of the biggest BBM markets for us. But from our revenue perspective probably not one of the top because 80 percent of our customer base is in the so-called regulated industry, such as the governments, the banks, the healthcare system and the judicial system.

How will you compete with other phones from competitors such as iPhone and Android-based phones which have become increasingly dominant in Indonesia’s market?

They are very focused on consumers. We have a very strong hold in enterprise. We do compete in the consumer space, and the product we launched [the Z3] is a very competitive product, especially since our brand is really big here in Indonesia.

The words I’ve been waiting to hear. A blurb in an interview that makes me want to prance around singing “we were right, we were right”, but I’m a bigger man than that. And if I had actually done that, I would surely not say that here. Nope. Never.

A pretty logical statement from Chen isn’t it? The Z3 is not an enterprise device. It is a consumer device. And where did they launch it? In one of their biggest markets. The right device, for the right market, with the right marketing. 80 percent of the customer base is enterprise? Then of course that will be BlackBerry’s prime focus.

What’s the important take away from this? That yes, BlackBerry is rightfully focusing on enterprise, but they haven’t forgotten or given up on us consumers. And that’s directly from our man Chen.

Disclaimer: I have never been to the UK, or as I prefer to call it, the Land of Biggley, but I have seen The Lord of the Rings, and feel like I have a pretty good impression of what it’s like over there.


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.