BlackBerry ''very much alive'': Interim CEO John Chen news
03 December 2013

BlackBerry Ltd was "very much alive, thank you," interim chief executive John Chen affirmed in an open letter yesterday, Reuters reported. The smartphone maker said in the letter that it was committed to rebuilding itself as a niche player concentrating on the enterprise market.

Chen took over as CEO a month ago after BlackBerry dropped plans to sell itself.

"Our 'for sale' sign has been taken down and we are here to stay," he wrote in the letter which he addressed to "valued enterprise customers and partners".

"In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated."

BlackBerry, a one-time leader in on-the-go email, saw its market share plummet after  Apple Inc's iPhones and devices powered by Google Inc's Android captured the market. Its new smartphones have not been able to win back customers, as Chen acknowledged in the letter.

"We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone. That's OK," he said.

The company has shed workforce by the thousands in the last two years and in September it said job cuts would extend to over third of its global workforce as it refocused itself on the enterprise market - large business and government clients - that formed the mainstay of its dominating presence in the 1990s.

"We're going back to our heritage and roots, delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions," said Chen, a turnaround specialist with software maker Sybase in the late 1990s.

"The investments you've made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are secure. I will keep the lines of communication open as we navigate through this transition."

BlackBerry shares rose 5 Canadian cents to C$6.76 on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday, just above the record low of C$6.25 it hit two weeks ago. The stock however, was at just a fraction of the stock's record high of C$150.30, hit in 2008, when the company dominated the smartphone market.

The smartphone maker said early last month that rather than sell itself, it would raise $1 billion in a convertible notes offering led by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Holdings Ltd.

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BlackBerry ''very much alive'': Interim CEO John Chen