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John Chen Puts His Odds of Turning BlackBerry Around at 50:50

John Chen

The market is taking kindly to John Chen’s frank interview with the Financial Times. He went on the record stating that he pegs the odds of him succeeding at turning around BlackBerry was about 50:50. On the other hand when asked if BlackBerry could ever be more than a nice player he responded that he hoped the would become a dominant player. Its all about execution for his plans and delivering every single time. Check out the full interview here. (Google search to get past paywall)

16 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Now here is something interesting. Earlier today I watched this video interview on their website. After reading some false claims by other website, I went back to watch it again. The video does not include the 50/50 comment. Your website reported the question right. ” What are the chances of becoming more than a niche player?”Other sites are twisting his words and saying ” Mr Chen thinks BlackBerry has a 50/50 chance to survive. Unreal.

  2. Sorry, to be clear….the website edited the video and removed Mr Chen’s 50/50 statement.

  3. Yeah it was all about being a niche player not surviving

  4. Interesting comment about the BB culture being resistant to change. I wonder why, and in what sense.

    • Think “physical keyboard.” Those are the ones who are resistant to change. The market has CLEARLY spoken and said they would rather have more screen real estate than a physical keyboard, even business users! Yet the BB physical keyboard lovers will vehemently (and dare I say ignorantly) proclaim that they will leave BB for another platform if BB gets rid of the keyboard. I simply cannot wrap my mind around the logic in that. If the only thing keeping you with BB is a physical keyboard, you’re already gone. Just LEAVE already so that those of use that are really in BB’s corner can get some truly great devices instead of resources being wasted on developing phones with physical keyboards; thereby continuing to do damage to BB’s image. Just get an iPhone, get behind that Ryan Seacrest keyboard project, and call it a day.

      • Therte are many people, including myself, the singer Drake etc, that enjoy the feel, feedback and shoertcuts that a real physical keyboard brings. There’s nothing wrog with BlackBerry continuing this path, as long as they provide a top of the line speced all touch and physical keyboard plus the marketing to go with it.

      • What people want is “VARIETY” and “CHOICE”. You have the Z10 and Z30 full touch devices. You have the Q5 and Q10 physical devices. You have the Z3 full touch and Q20 physical keyboard coming soon with a bit of a classic splash to the mix.

        You have the rumoured 64-Bit 8-Core monster Z50 coming in Sept 2014. To me this is choice. And they have no choice but to provide phones with physical keyboards, WHY? Because people want them. Which is why I purchased a Q5 the other day, along with several family members going with the Q5 and Z10. CHOICE is KING.

        • Yup! I like that statement: Choice IS king!

        • I’ll sell my car to buy that beast when it arrives! BlackBerry has NO idea how desperate their loyal users are for a true SUPER-powered BlackBerry device – smartphone or tablet! Like I said, it has to have 4 GB RAM and a minimum of 32 GB storage to claim that SUPER status!

        • Yes, choice is important, but how important is it really? How much choice is there with iPhone? You either get an iPhone or nothing when it comes to Apple, and they’re doing just fine, to put it mildly. Name another company that is producing a physical keyboard phone these days. What percentage of BB customers are opting for the Q5/Q10 these days, anyway? It’s like the physical keyboard folks are holding patronage over BB’s head; “Give me a physical keyboard or I’m leaving!” Seriously?

          What BB should do is cordon that niche of users off, give them ONE device, and get updates to them whenever they have time between getting with the rest of the world in their device lineup. Focus massive attention on modern technology, then throw a bone to the keyboard camp when they can.

      • I have also had a similar desire to write such a post as you did. However, I wouldn’t to so harsh. Indeed, many, many apparently devout physical keyboard folks have left BlackBerry for iPhone and Android. These folks happily left to go to a non-keyboard device because they weren’t happy the Q10 was delayed after the Z10 was released.

        What’s up with that mentality? There is so much more to BlackBerry than just the physical keyboard. I did learn to see HUGE value in a physical keyboard when I saw my teenage son rapidly texting under the table while speaking to me – all without looking at the keypad! However, for a multi-faceted device, which smartphones had become, a physical keyboard consumed too much space. That same son of mine is happy to now be sporting a Z10. I did offer the Q10 as an option, but he saw that he would have less apps and less real estate for browsing the web and editing video and photos. Do folks really do that on a smartphone? I guess so!

        Do I blame him? Today, he has adapted to the Z10’s excellent virtual keyboard and types at quite a decent speed. Perhaps he may now have to look at the keypad while typing, but the device itself can do so much more than his old Bold ever could have.

        I think BlackBerry will continue to provide both sets of users with the very best they can. I’m quite pleased with the Z’s virtual keyboard shortcuts and the Q series has its own set of shortcuts too. Folks get to pick what they like, but either choice is a good one depending on your priorities.

        • I should add that a Torch-like slider phone does offer many benefits to the enterprise – one device that has both a large screen and a physical keyboard as well. It allows an enterprise to offer one device that can support its in-house business apps.

          BlackBerry needs to support all three styles of phones.

  5. Many sites have turned this up-side-down, claiming BBRY has a 50% chance at survival. Not the case, and not what Mr. Chen meant.

    BlackBerry CEO John Chen puts his odds of turning BlackBerry around at 50:50 in a recent interview with Financial Times, while some sites have been falsely reporting this as 50% chance of survival that is definitely not the case or point Mr. Chen made.

  6. Ya this is not a 50% chance of failing, I hate when sites manipulate the truths.
    Thanks for reporting this and thanks for the article.

    • Wish Chen could have made it more clear what he meant. This spun off quickly as bad news, and this is hurting the enterprise business and other BlackBerry businesses as well.

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