BlackBerry CEO John Chen is clearly not married to the company's handset division. In a new interview with Reuters, he hinted strongly that a decision to either keep going with that part of the business or dump it is close at hand.
The article quotes Chen as saying, "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business." He also stated that the company could continue to make money in that area even if BlackBerry shipped just 10 million smartphones in a year. A few weeks ago, BlackBerry said that the company shipped 3.4 million units of its smartphones in its fiscal fourth quarter, but just 1.1 million of them used the new BB10 operating system.
If BlackBerry can't make money by selling handsets, how will the company, which continues to lose money. stay afloat? Chen said in the interview that their teams are putting in more time on security software products for enterprise customers, stating that businesses are more concerned with keeping their data private since the NSA Internet spying controversy started in 2013.
One thing is for sure; don't look for BlackBerry to pursue the consumer handset business anymore. Chen stated, "We are not going to spend any more money to maintain the latest version of Angry Birds."
Update: John Chen is apparently doing some damage control following the Reuters interview. In a post on the company's blog, he now says his remarks about BlackBerry dumping the handset division "were taken out of context." He added, "I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon."