New BlackBerry CEO John Chen's open letter doesn't say much

Staying in the hardware business

In BlackBerry’s latest personal appeal to its customers, new CEO and Chair John Chen posted a message to the company’s official blog on Wednesday, stating that the company is hoping to put its troubles behind it and “reclaim” its success.

As was widely reported last week, the company reached and passed a deadline to find a prospective buyer. In September, BlackBerry investor Fairfax Financial released a letter of intent to purchase the ailing Canadian tech company for US$4.7 billion, but gave BlackBerry six weeks to find a better offer. Many were rumoured, but none materialized, leaving BlackBerry to take itself off the market. An investor group, led by Fairfax, is now planning to lend the company $1 billion in convertible debt, and former CEO Thorsten Heins has been replaced by Chen.

In the somewhat vague message below, Chen addresses the need for BlackBerry to move on. But in a recent Reuters interview, Chen stated that BlackBerry isn’t looking to move out of the hardware business. Here’s the blog post:

To our BlackBerry Community,

As you know, this is a time of significant change at BlackBerry as we accelerate our efforts to transform our business.

I know there has been a lot said about BlackBerry, but let me remind you that at BlackBerry, we are not dwelling on the past. We are looking towards the future.

We Are Committed to Reclaiming our Success

We have begun moving the company to embrace a multi-platform, BYOD world by adopting a new mobility management platform and a new device strategy. We are also leveraging our tremendous assets, including BBM, our network and QNX. While we are proud of these accomplishments, we know there is more work to be done.

I know that it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim BlackBerry’s success and we are ready for that challenge.

Our Commitment to our Customers Remains Unchanged

We remain committed to delivering high quality products and services to the millions of people who rely on us globally. We also want our customers to know that BlackBerry has significant financial strength for the long-haul.

I believe in the value of this brand. With the right team and right strategy in place, I am confident that we will rebuild BlackBerry for the benefit of all of our constituencies.

We are Excited for the Future and you Should Be Too

Thank you for your strong support and continued commitment.


John S. Chen

Executive Chair and CEO