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BlackBerry CEO outlines new strategy, says BBM will eventually bring in revenue

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john chen (disney)
john chen (disney)

As BlackBerry enters 2014, CEO John Chen is yet again publicly outlining "the way forward" for his struggling company in a commentary at CNBC. "I'm not focused on who BlackBerry used to be," Chen writes. "I'm focused on what BlackBerry will be today and in the future." After just two months on the job, Chen insists that his team has already worked out a strategy that will stabilize business at BlackBerry. Again, Chen says this revised approach revolves around the company's "core strengths" of enterprise and security. "This isn't the first time I've held the reins at a tech company facing challenging circumstances," Chen says, referring to his former duties as CEO of Sybase. "I'm here to tackle this challenge because I believe we can succeed."

Chen points to BlackBerry's new operating structure, which focuses on its "core business drivers" of enterprise, messaging, QNX, and the hardware business as one positive change. Unsurprisingly, Chen puts a huge spotlight on the enterprise, suggesting that despite BlackBerry's struggles, the company still lacks a legitimate rival. "Don't be fooled by the competition's rhetoric claiming to be more secure or having more experience than BlackBerry," he says. The same applies to government contracts, according to Chen. "BlackBerry cannot just be replaced," he writes, citing BlackBerry's "Authority to Operate" clearance on US Department of Defense networks and popularity among other governments.

"Our company is strong financially, technologically savvy and is well positioned for the future."

On the BBM front, Chen says that over 40 million iOS and Android users have signed up for the company's messaging app since launch. BlackBerry will ride out that success and continue adding new features to BBM, ultimately planning "to turn it into a revenue stream in the coming years." BlackBerry clearly has plans to monetize its messaging platform, though it remains to be seen whether users will actually pay for the service when the field of alternatives continues to grow.

And finally, Chen reiterates BlackBerry's commitment to the devices market. He says the company's partnership with Foxconn will lead to major inroads for important emerging markets. "Leveraging Foxconn's scale and efficiency will also allow us to compete more effectively and create speed to market since we can design for faster product lifecycles." But priority number one at BlackBerry is to become a "nimbler, more agile competitor" in a constantly shifting mobile landscape.