BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced that he is ready to shift focus away from the handset division in a bid to turn BlackBerry profitable by 2016.
After announcing a three-year plan to turn things around for Blackberry earlier this year, CEO John Chen has stated that the organization would exit the handset business unless the division turns a profit. Chen said that Blackberry would instead focus on the corporate sector by offering “investments, acquisitions and partnerships.”
Chen did not divulge exact numbers, but did say that overall sales of 10 million units would be a minimum to make a profit. The manufacturer is not off to a great start, as it had recorded revenues for only 2 million handsets last quarter. However, the imminent launch of devices like the BlackBerry Z3 should see increased handset sales this quarter. The BlackBerry Z3 has been manufactured in collaboration with Foxconn and is designed for emerging markets. The Z3 features a 4.5-inch qHD screen, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400, 1.5 GB RAM, 5 MP camera, 8 GB internal memory and a micro-SD card slot. The handset will likely be available for under $200, which is great value for the hardware it offers.
Even if BlackBerry does not sell 10 million units, the handset division will not be axed. To offset the revenue loss, Chen said that BlackBerry will focus on generating revenue from its QNX software and BBM instant-messaging service. He suggested that network security solutions were also being considered. “We are building an engineering team on the service side that is focused on security. We are building an engineering team on the device side that is focused on security. We will do some partnerships and we will probably, potentially do an M&A on security.”
Chen re-iterated that BlackBerry as a whole is on course to be profitable by 2016. He said that the organization would be cash-flow positive by February 2015, which if it occurs would be an achievement considering it lost $423 million this quarter. Chen also mentioned that long-term goals at BlackBerry included extending the platform to connect to all manner of connected devices.
“We are not only interested in managing BlackBerry devices. We are interested in managing all devices that you would like to speak to each other,” he said.