But this is not the end of the story for BlackBerry. After a major shift in executive leadership and a refocusing of business strategies, we can be sure that the company is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Changes from the Top Down
Interim CEO John Chen has stepped in to attempt to revitalize the company and restore it to a new state of profitability. Stockholders can feel a certain sense of reassurance by this change in leadership as John Chen has a track record of rescuing failing companies.
Before BlackBerry, he worked with Sybase Inc. and managed to take the struggling technology company and made it profitable once again. So it is certainly foreseeable that he could do the same with the now struggling BlackBerry.
John Chen is confident in the strategies the company is implementing now and has made it a point to emphasize to shareholders as well as the public that BlackBerry is here to stay.
Among many of the new CEO’s changes are the terminations of the chief operating officer and the chief marketing officer (not only the people but the positions altogether). Additionally, the chief financial officer has been replaced by James Yersh, BlackBerry’s former senior vice president.
These major changes come with a bid to shift the focus of the company’s sales. Chen plans to pull attention away from the consumer market, noting that their handsets simply cannot compete in popularity with other smartphones on the market today. Instead, he plans to secure the company’s foothold with enterprise customers as the phone for business.
The New BlackBerry Messenger
They will not totally disappear from the consumer market. However, their still successful BlackBerry Messenger software continues to be one of the company’s strong points.
Under the changed leadership, BlackBerry launched a new version of their messenger application compatible for both android and iOS this past October. The new BlackBerry Messenger was downloaded more than 10 million times in the first 24 hours of launching and has proved a still viable source of profit for the company. It even made it to number one on the list of most downloaded apps for the iPhone.
However, success has been limited by increasing competition from similar messaging applications on the market. In response to this pressure, the company is working to revamp the software to offer more than the competitors.
The new BlackBerry Messenger — which is currently still in beta stages but has been released exclusively on BlackBerry devices — will function more like a mobile social network similar to Facebook or Twitter, offering users the chance to follow and interact with “channels” representing companies and celebrities.
Internationally, the popularity of BlackBerry’s phone has not decreased as dramatically as it has in the United States. They still have substantial customer bases in many foreign and emerging markets. And their new plans to install BlackBerry Messenger as a default application on android phones in the Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, Indonesian and Indian markets should help to secure the success of the new software.
The Future of BlackBerry
With big changes and shifting focuses, there are definitely some things to look forward to in the coming year for the company. John Chen has saved technology companies in similar financial hardships before and the launch of their new messenger app was a notable success.
As of Dec. 2, the stock is currently sitting at a humble 6.41 which does mark a 1.26% increase. Despite the moderate increase, it’s difficult to say for sure whether these changes will be enough to save the company. With more than two weeks to go before the third quarter financial reports come out on Dec. 20, it’s too early to tell if the new direction the company is taking will, indeed, be an upward one. This is a stock to watch and wait on as the 2014 year rolls in and the drastic changes the company is undergoing truly take hold. What can be said for sure is that changes were needed. In its former condition, BlackBerry was definitely on its way out. Hold.