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Fact Check: Darling, the Moon Is Still the Moon in All of Its Phases

Why Canadian “tech darling” BlackBerry is greater than the sum of its parts

As we have previously noted in this column, everyone is entitled to their opinion — but not to their own facts. So today we are clarifying a few untruths about our strategy. We hope it helps as we care about you, our stakeholders, and we want you to know that we hear you.

First and foremost, we consider the best interests of our stakeholders – that includes our shareholders and our thousands of customers – across everything we do. If we didn’t then it’d be easy for us to do something like sell the company's valuable products and IP for pennies on the dollar.

Taking the easy way out and abandoning our mission is not “The BlackBerry Way.” The company was formed to serve your needs and to solve hard problems. In fact, the challenge of doing exactly that was what attracted John Chen, our CEO and executive chairman, and it’s what still keeps him up at night, and “sweating the details” every day.

As he recently stated in Inc. Magazine, he took the job because “I wanted to do something meaningful, that most people don't want to do, and find it very difficult to do well. So when I thought about it, I said, ‘I will be able to make it better.’ I don't know whether that's enough, but I sure wanted to give it a try.”

Commitments Matter

A decade ago, Chen publicly committed to rebuilding BlackBerry for the next century, and to accomplish it, he laid out plans to tackle one of the most formidable problems facing the technology industry — then and today: How to securely connect the sprawling Internet of Things.

Solving this complex problem is not just important to BlackBerry, it’s important to everyone, all around the world. It is also not a journey that comes without ups and downs, but we embrace the phases and stay the course, as the value of achieving the vision is so significant.

The benefit of securing and connecting the IoT is irrefutable. As McKinsey and Co. states in a 2023 report, “When the industry can converge the IoT and cybersecurity, the reward could be enormous.” The report goes on to state:

  • The IoT supplier market is expected to reach a baseline of approximately $500 billion by 2030.
  • If the “cybersecurity concern is completely managed,” IoT spending would increase “by an average of 20 to 40 percent.”
  • IoT suppliers could add another 5% to 10% of value by unlocking new and emerging use cases.
  • As a result, the “combined total addressable market (TAM) value across industries for IoT suppliers could reach in the range up to $750 billion,” which is 50% higher than it otherwise could.

These facts illustrate why BlackBerry established its convergence vision, and why we are vigorously executing on it in numerous ways:

  • We introduced BlackBerry IVY®, a dedicated convergence platform that paves the way for secure, seamless communications, from the IoT “edge” to the cloud.
  • We showcased how to complement BlackBerry QNX®, our industry-leading IoT software for controlling smart embedded devices (the actual “things” that make up the IoT), with AI-based endpoint security.
  • OEMs across industries — including Philips, Johnson & Johnson, Becton Dickinson and others — embed BlackBerry’s Cylance AI-backed cybersecurity software in their IoT endpoints.
  • We announced BlackBerry UEM for the IoT to enable organizations to manage and secure IoT endpoints and realize the vast benefits of the IoT.
  • And that’s just the beginning.

Chen has never wavered on this bold and long-term course of action for this iconic company, that is beloved by so many. So why are some suddenly questioning their “darling’s” strategy?

Understanding Project Imperium

We recognize that Project Imperium is important to you, and how it ties to — in fact, underscores — the company’s convergence strategy may have caused some confusion. After all, if BlackBerry is committed to its vision of marrying the fields of cybersecurity and the IoT, why has it announced plans to pursue a subsidiary initial public offering (IPO) for its IoT business?

Unlike other tech leaders that seem to be “spinning out” underperforming divisions, Chen is instead spinning up BlackBerry’s highest performing business unit, to extract greater value from the IoT and capitalize on the sector’s greater TAM – the convergence TAM. The IPO process will provide flexibility and a broader opportunity for each of BlackBerry’s business units – IoT and Cybersecurity – to independently align to this major emerging market trend, and allow BlackBerry’s IoT business to achieve a more equitable market valuation.

So, what is this humble employee’s advice to BlackBerry’s stakeholders, both supporters and detractors? Keep aiming for the greater good; don’t turn away from it, even if the going gets tough; and in the meantime, “Stay Zen.”

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Steve Kovsky

About Steve Kovsky

Steve Kovsky is former Editorial Director at BlackBerry.