BlackBerry Ltd. will survive by making fewer devices and focusing on software for businesses such as BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12, CEO John Chen told Reuters in an interview. The latest version of its mobile device management software for businesses, BES 12, will be launched this week.
"We will survive as a company, and now I am rather confident," Chen said. "We're managing the supply chain, we are managing inventories, we are managing cash, and we have expenses now at a number that is very manageable. BlackBerry has survived; now we have to start looking at growth."
For the first time in five quarters, the Canadian company reported profits at its handsets unit for its fiscal second quarter, which is the three months ended Aug. 31. In August, the company consolidated much of its intellectual property and core technologies under a single unit, and Chen hired a former Sony-Ericsson chief technology officer to run the unit.
BlackBerry has continued to woe its erstwhile core users, many of whom were corporate executives who couldn’t do without their BlackBerry Bold devices but eventually switched to smartphones from Apple Inc. or Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The BlackBerry Classic, a throwback to the once-popular BlackBerry Bold, will hit the market in December, while the first device with the latest 10.3 version of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, the Passport, launched in September, grabbing some attention for its square screen and touch-enabled physical keyboard.
Any new device would not be a general-purpose handset, Chen said in the interview, and the company’s future portfolio of products would likely include at least one device with radically new design and refreshes to the Passport and the midlevel BlackBerry Z3 model, according to the report.