BlackBerry CEO John Chen, in a candid interview, said their biggest challenge is to convince employees that smartphones are only a part of the solution and must not be considered the only answer to end their company’s struggle. Contemplating the BlackBerry’s future, Chen added that though the firm is stable and is making money, it needs to register growth to attract more consumers and investors.
Smartphones important, but not the only thing
On Tuesday in a discussion with Ian McLean, president of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, Chen pointed out that employees need to believe that the smartphone is merely one of the solutions to the company’s ongoing struggles and an “inside-mentality” change is essential to realize any real growth. He also admitted that such a transformation is going to be most challenging, as BlackBerry was, at one point, the leading smartphone developer in the market.
“Structurally and psychologically and mentality-wise we are still a handset company,” Chen said.
However, Chen noted that software and services pertaining to almost 10 billion endpoints, for instance, medical devices, machines, vehicles, home appliances, etc., are going to be crucial for the company’s growth in the future. Moreover, the CEO claimed that the company will be earning more money from software and value-add techniques across all platforms in the upcoming years.
“Handsets are important. This is not a binary yes or no, but we’ve got to make handsets part of the solution, not the only solution,” he said.
Will Chen restore growth for BlackBerry?
Since Chen took over as CEO in 2013, BlackBerry’s expenses have been reduced significantly. During the first quarter after his hiring, the company spent $1.1 billion in cash, which decreased to $200 million in the next six months. In 2011, the smartphone maker was the largest organization in Waterloo, Ontario with 11,000 employees. But, post-job cuts last June, this number has come down to 2,700. Moreover, the company’s stock price has increased considerably after Chen’s introduction as CEO. But many analysts are still unsure of BlackBerry’s revenue growth in the software and services segments.
Nevertheless, Chen is optimistic about the company’s future prospects, and as a part of his turnaround strategy, the smartphone maker bought three companies to strengthen its security services regarding the sharing of voice, data and files. Also BlackBerry is developing new smartphones that will be launched later this year.