Skip to main content

BlackBerry CEO sends company-wide letter after poor results

BlackBerry has taken it on the chin lately – a sad lede that feels a bit déjà vu to write, given how the company has been faring on its earnings reports as of late. BlackBerry executives apparently seem concerned that the company's continuing dismal announcements are affecting morale, as CEO John Chen used a company-wide letter on Friday 20 December to announce just what the company's results mean and how BlackBerry plans to address the future.

Spoiler: BlackBerry employees were encouraged to enjoy and relax during the holiday season, and reminded that the company still has clout in the world of secure mobile messaging and device management.

"Turning a company around is hard work. I appreciate everyone's commitment over the last year and I ask that you continue to work together to help move BlackBerry forward. I know that if we focus on what's important and continually improve the way we approach our business, the quarterly results will take care of themselves. We're bringing together a solid leadership team and we're already making the kinds of changes necessary to move our business to profitability," Chen wrote.

Chen's other announcements weren't anything Earth-shattering – rather, he gently explained the company's reasoning for turning to Foxconn to manage the company's considerable inventory and raw BlackBerry device manufacturing. The move should allow the company to reduce the $1.6 billion (£979 million) pre-tax charge for its inventory and supply commitments that it suffered in its third fiscal quarter.

"This inventory write down points to a pressing challenge: how to profit from BlackBerry hardware, while reducing the risk of too much – or too little – inventory. To do this, we must focus our business on what we do well while leveraging the capabilities of our partners," Chen wrote.

Chen commented that Foxconn will first focus on manufacturing devices for Indonesia and "other fast-growing markets" at the start of 2014. BlackBerry itself plans to soon hire a new head of the company's Devices division and, in general, will focus on security, software, and the enterprise mobile device management while Foxconn takes the reins on the company's hardware.

Additionally, Chen commented that he hopes to use the company's $3.2 billion (£1.9 million) cash position to make strategic investments that could further help BlackBerry "grow and profit."

"We have challenges ahead of us, but if we pull together and stay focused on our customers, we will succeed," wrote Chen, whose largest claim to fame to date was spearheading Sybase's return to profitability and eventual sale to SAP.

In other interviews, Chen has said that he believes it'll take about four to five quarters for BlackBerry to be profitable.