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One Year After Chen’s Arrival, Media and Analysts Brighten their View on BlackBerry

11.13.14 / Mike Mitchell


chen speaking 1

Last week marks the one year anniversary of John Chen taking the helm at BlackBerry. During that time, Chen has publicly stated that he plans to return BlackBerry to profitability within 2 years, by focusing on enterprise and security (to learn more, read the coverage of our Enterprise Portfolio launch today on the Inside BlackBerry for Business blog), and by not spreading the company too thin by launching too many new devices.

Considering the many reports about BlackBerry’s impending demise a year ago, what are publications and technology market experts saying about BlackBerry’s progress today?

According to Reuters, “talk of the company sliding into oblivion has faded.”

“John Chen has succeeded in changing the conversation about BlackBerry, and that is probably true both internally as well as externally,” said IDC technology analyst John Jackson.

Mashable penned an article last month which was shared nearly 14,000 times about the successful beginnings of the turnaround.


Chen previously made his name at Sybase, a database software company. According to the FT, Sybase “shares were trading at record lows and most in the industry thought it would not survive.” Under Chen’s leadership, Sybase returned into a money making organization for 60 straight quarters (for those of you who are mathematically challenged like myself, 60 quarters is exactly 15 years) and was sold to SAP in 2010 for $5.8 billion.

With BlackBerry cutting costs and losses, and introducing products such as the highly-in-demand BlackBerry Passport, many media are starting to take a positive sentiment.

According to the Financial Times, BlackBerry, “which was facing an existential crisis when he joined in November 2013, is now on a surer footing after he took an axe to costs and dramatically slowed the rate at which the group burns through cash. The group’s shares have risen by about half over the past 12 months.”


Glenn Rowe, a business professor at Canada’s Western University, told the National Post that Chen “has been managing a difficult turnaround well, and agreed with his tactics of empowering employees to take risks and tackle problems.”

“To me, good CEOs are those who create a problem-solving culture where you are asking good questions and not necessarily coming up with the answers,” said Rowe.

To hear more from Chen directly about the BlackBerry turnaround, watch these interviews on Canada’s  BNN business TV news.

At the end of the day, without happy customers, this turnaround can’t take place. Happy BlackBerry Passport customers like UK news personality, Piers Morgan:

As 2014 nears its close, we still have a huge Enterprise software announcement we’re making today (read all the coverage on the Inside BlackBerry for Business blog), as well as the return of the highly anticipated, ultimate communications tool: the BlackBerry Classic in December.

The turnaround isn’t complete, but the foundation has been laid, and as Chen says, we’re back to focusing on growth. Happy one-year anniversary, indeed.

About Mike Mitchell