We’re not exiting the handset business, BlackBerry’s CEO insists

A report from Reuters quoting BlackBerry CEO John Chen as saying the vendor could exit the handset business if it can’t be made profitable is drawing strong reactions across the world of technology — including from Chen himself.

In a report Thursday morning, Reuters, which interviewed Chen, said BlackBerry would consider existing the handset market if it stays unprofitable and would focus on expanding its corporate reach with products such as BlackBerry Enterprise Service, its mobile device management solution.

“It I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” Reuters quoting Chen as saying. It also said he added the time frame for such a decision would be short, and that he believed the business can be profitable.

Following publication of the Reuters report, BlackBerry sent reporters a link to a blog by Chen, where he claimed Reuters took his comments out of context.

“I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon,” said Chen. “ I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable.”

Chen went on to outline how BlackBerry is not just a handset company, outlining its enterprise services business and investments in emerging solutions, such as Machine to Machine technologies to power the backbone of the Internet of Things.

“Rest assured, we continue to fight,” said Chen. “We have not given up and we are not leaving the devices business.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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