BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has seen its stock price finally start to rise after what seemed like years of inexorable decline, thanks to investor confidence in CEO John Chen and a lot of focus on the company’s strengths. But in a recent interview with Luke Dormehl at Fast Company, Chen said that he has no intention fo ceding the consumer space to the competition.
“One critical challenge we have been addressing is the company’s broad approach on both enterprise and consumer markets,” said Chen. “[This] doesn’t mean we are turning our back on the consumer–far from it–but it’s important we narrow our focus on our core strengths. I believe in the values of this brand and I’ve assembled the right team and strategy with the strong confidence that we will rebuild BlackBerry for the benefit of all of our constituencies.”
BlackBerry has no US market share
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) might not have much of a choice in the matter. Its market share in the US has fallen to zero. The users that remain amount to a rounding error. Chen mentions the company’s reputation for security, which is a distinct advantage for attracting corporate and government clients, and the company’s keyboard which he touts as the best mobile keyboard in the business, but DM consumers voted with their wallets long ago. Touchscreens and ease of use have won over productivity and security. The unwillingness to see that fact is a big part of BlackBerry’s decline, so it’s disheartening to see Chen make similar comments.
Chen is in it for the long haul
Although Chen said that he will stay until he turns the company around. The previous management built a lot of hype around BB10, creating even more disappointment when the new phones flopped, but Chen has been careful to acknowledge that a turnaround will not be quick.
By continuing to manufacture high-end smart phones and refusing to give up on developed markets (BlackBerrys are still popular in some emerging markets), he’s presumably planning for the day when he has rebuilt the brand and found a way to connect with consumers, or at least a niche class of consumers. In the meantime, most investors will be more interested in what he does with the enterprise unit and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) messaging platform BBM.