New BlackBerry CEO has no plans to axe smartphone business

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| November 4, 2013

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry made waves today when it announced that rather than be acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, it would instead accept a $1 billion investment from the firm and oust CEO Thorsten Heins. Neither BlackBerry nor interim CEO John Chen have gone into specifics about exactly how they plan to turn things around in the coming months, but Chen has confirmed that one thing that we won't see is the death of BlackBerry's smartphone business.

Speaking to Reuters, Chen said that he's got no plans to give BlackBerry's phones business the axe, even though it was responsible for a near-$1 billion loss in the company's most recent earnings. "I'm going to rebuild this company," Chen said. "I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business. I've done this before and seen the same movie before." The exec wouldn't elaborate on his plans for BlackBerry, but he did estimate that it will take around six quarters to turn BlackBerry around.

As Chen notes, he's got experience in changing a failing company's fortunes. When he took the position of CEO at enterprise software company Sybase in 1998, it had just posted a $98 million loss. Fast-forward to 2010 and Chen managed to sell the firm to SAP for a cool $5.8 billion. Whether or not he'll be able to work similar magic with BlackBerry remains to be seen, but it's easy to see how his history could inspire hope in the BlackBerry faithful. What do you think Chen should do to help turn BlackBerry around?

Via Reuters (1), (2)