New Blackberry CEO confirms focus on business customers

BlackBerry’s new CEO John Chen has penned an open letter to its business customers confirming its focus on the enterprise and insisting reports of the company’s “death” have been “greatly exaggerated”. 

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The letter, addressed to BlackBerry’s “valued enterprise customers and partners”, is an attempt to “set the story straight” and reassure customers the company is “here to stay”.

It continues: “We’re going back to our heritage and roots – delivering enterprise-grade end-to-end mobile solutions.”

The letter takes a similar format to a print ad campaign BlackBerry ran in October, which at the time looked to reassure consumers, shareholders and prospective new owners they could “continue to count on” the struggling smartphone maker. 

While the new letter does not mention a complete exit from the consumer market, it seems likely. BlackBerry says its refocus will target four areas: handsets, enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, cross-platform messaging and embedded systems.

On the devices front in particular, BlackBerry notes its failure to keep up with its mainstream competitors Apple’s iPhone and phones running Google’s Android software: “We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone. That’s OK.”

BlackBerry says it will continue to have an “open conversation” with its enterprise customers, which will include the launch of an “EMM Realities” webcast series. Chen has also invited customers to send their feedback to a dedicated ceofeedback@blackberry.com email address.

The letter comes a week after BlackBerry undertook a major restructure of its executive management team, including scrapping the CMO role, which was held by Frank Boulben.

At the time, CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood, told Marketing Week the most important thing BlackBerry needed to do at the time was to reassure its most important customers in a “more direct way”. 

Chen took the top job at BlackBerry from Thorsten Heins last month after the company abandoned plans to sell its business and instead opted to raise a $1bn round of financing to secure its future.

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