BlackBerry Going Private? Company Pens Open Letter To Customers And Partners [FULL TEXT]

 @redletterdave
on October 16 2013 11:27 AM
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BlackBerry, which plans to publish an open letter that asserts the company’s financial stability, has lost more than 95 percent of its market share since 1998. Courtesy / Reuters

As BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRYcontemplates its own future, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company plans to publish an open letter in 30 different newspapers across nine countries that asserts the company’s financial stability despite its decision to break up the company and lay off around 4,500 employees in the process.

“These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges,” BlackBerry says in the ad. “We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.

BlackBerry in September signed a letter of intent with Fairfax Financial Holdings, one of its largest shareholders, to take the company private in a $4.7 billion deal, which would be worth $9 a share. That offer, however, is preliminary and subject to financing, among other conditions. In  the meantime, BlackBerry founders  Douglas Fregin and Mihal “Mike” Lazaridis have reportedly shopped BlackBerry around to several prominent private investors, including the Carlyle Group and the Blackstone Group, while New York City-based Cerberus Capital Management, which has a history with acquiring businesses in distress, has reportedly pursued a nondisclosure agreement with BlackBerry to receive access to confidential data. 

“Our customers read a lot about BlackBerry these days, as we make the headlines quite often – this has created a lot of noise and confusion,” BlackBerry chief marketing officer Frank Boulben told Reuters. “We want customers to know that they can continue to count on us – we are here to stay. We have substantial cash on our balance sheet and we have no debt. We are restructuring our cost base and this is a very painful transition, but it will make us financially stronger and we want to get that message directly to our customers.”

We have the full text from the open letter from BlackBerry, and here it is:

To our valued customers, partners and fans,

You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry. You’re probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day.

We have one important message for you:

You can continue to count on BlackBerry.

How do we know? We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free.

We are restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 percent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization.

These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges. We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.

One thing we will never change is our commitment to those of you who helped build BlackBerry into the most trusted tool for the world’s business professional.

And speaking of those dramatic headlines, it’s important that we set the record straight on a few things.

Best in class productivity tool.

We have completely revamped our device portfolio this year with the launch of BlackBerry 10. We have four BlackBerry 10 devices – two all touch and two hybrid (touch and QWERTY) – and all are running the third update of our new platform. If what you care about most is getting things done – taking care of your business – we have the best range of devices for you. And we continue to offer the best mobile typing experience – no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Best in class security.

Governments all over the world, global corporations and businesses that simply cannot compromise on security choose and trust BlackBerry. Security is our heritage, and the industry recognizes that BlackBerry is the most secure when it comes to the device, server and, of course, our global data network. Have no doubt that you can continue to trust us to keep your communication safe and private.

Best in class enterprise mobility management.

We changed with the market, embracing BYOD because we understand that as iOS and Android devices become common in the workplace, businesses still need to manage all of these different platforms seamlessly and securely.

This is not a trivial task. While there are a number of startup companies that make bold claims, BlackBerry has more software engineers and the most resources dedicated to developing the most innovative solutions to address this complex challenge.

And our customers know it. Over the past quarter, our BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 server base grew from 19,000 to more than 25,000. Corporate clients are committed to deploying and testing the latest enterprise technology from BlackBerry. We are committed to evolving with our customers. That will never change.

Best in class mobile social network.

We are bringing the most engaging mobile messaging platform to all, with our BBM launch for Android and iPhone.

There are already around six million customers pre-registered to be notified of our roll out. This number is growing every day, and speaks to the tremendous opportunity we have to expand BBM beyond BlackBerry smartphones to make it the world’s largest mobile social network.

Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone. That’s OK. You have always known that BlackBerry is different, that BlackBerry can set you apart. Countless world-changing decisions have been finalized, deals closed and critical communications made via BlackBerry. And for many of you that created a bond, a connection that goes back more than a decade.

We believe in BlackBerry – our people, our technology and our ability to adapt. More importantly, we believe in you. We focus every day on what it takes to make sure that you can take care of business.

You trust your BlackBerry to deliver your most important messages, so trust us when we deliver one of our own: You can continue to count on us.

Sincerely, The BlackBerry Team

BlackBerry has lost more than 95 percent of its market share since 1998. According to ComScore, BlackBerry’s market share of U.S. smartphones is roughly 4.3 percent, which is just ahead of Windows Phone at about 3 percent. BlackBerry told IBTimes on Tuesday it plans to release BBM for Android and iOS "within days," after badly botching its launch last month.

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