Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded and Devices are the areas that make up Blackberry’s operating structure moving into 2014. Blackberry has a strong cash position with over $3 billion and will now focus on its core business drivers – software and enterprise services.
Under John Chen, the company has experienced aggressive restructuring as it positions itself to compete in the market. Chen draws from a rich experience in dealing with an ailing tech company. At the helm of Sybase, he returned the company to profitability after a sharp downturn in the 1990s. According to John Chen, Blackberry will be profitable by 2016.
Blackberry’s earnings report in the last quarter registered massive losses. This was the result of low smartphone sales, asset impairment charges and inventory writedowns. The company is however not giving in to analysts’ advice to abandon its device business.
Stocks were up 17% after the announcement of a 5 year deal with Foxconn to cut down device manufacturing costs. Foxconn will be manufacturing low-end Blackberry devices targetting emerging markets with the first product expected in March or April of 2014.
“Blackberry can now focus on iconic design, world class security, software development and enterprise mobility management” – CEO John Chen in a CNBC post.
Blackberry continues to dominate in mobile device management. It has a global enterprise customer base of 80,000 which is 3 times that of Good, Airwatch and Mobile Iron combined. Currently most of Blackberry’s customers are drawn from the regulated industry with its devices providing a secure mobile infrastructure to the US Department of Defence. All 7 members of the G7 governments are also Blackberry customers.
QNX is an industry leader in embedded technology having been acquired by Blackberry in 2010. The division supplies machine-to-machine technology in the automotive industry and more capabilities as well as cloud services are set to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show this January.
October saw Blackberry open up its messaging services to other smartphone platforms. Over the last 60 days, BBM has gained more than 40 million Android and iOS users. With continued investment, improved features and channels BBM could soon be turned into a revenue stream for Blackberry.
John Chen: “Blackberry has a clear lane ahead of us to create new trails as a nimbler, more agile competitor.”