BlackBerry to businesses: 'We are very much alive, thank you'

In yet another open letter, CEO John Chen attempts to get businesses to stick with BlackBerry.

BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen.
BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen Bloomberg video/Screenshot by CNET

BlackBerry is trying to mark what little territory it has left.

In an open letter to customers, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has again proclaimed it is "very much alive, thank you," noting that the "for sale" sign had been taken down and that an investment in the company is secure.

If it sounds familiar, that is because this is the second such open letter issued by BlackBerry in the last few months. The company launched a similar campaign in October after it had seemingly reached a deal to go private. That deal fell through, and new managers, including Chen, were brought in to clean house.

This letter in particular is focused on businesses using BlackBerry to manage their mobile devices, a secondary part of the business that complements its core smartphone operations. But with its smartphone business quickly losing traction with customers and its market share continuing to deteriorate, the company is focusing more on the software and device management side of things.

The recent turmoil has provided an opening to companies such as Good, which also offers an e-mail and mobile device management system, to pick off some of BlackBerry's customers. BlackBerry, however, says it will "refocus back to our roots" and target four areas: handsets, enterprise mobility management, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems.

The company hopes to live on as a largely enterprise-software company, something that plays into the strengths of Chen, who formerly ran a business-centric mobile software company called Sybase.

The letter hammers home the point that BlackBerry remains a leader in this area, managing all devices -- not just BlackBerrys -- and that it manages more devices and moves more secure data over mobile than anyone else.

Here's a copy of the letter:

To our valued enterprise customers and partners,

You're hearing a lot of noise in the market about BlackBerry. MDM vendors are undoubtedly inviting you to webinars and enticing you to switch off your BES. We want to set the story straight about BlackBerry in the Enterprise, both for our existing customers and for those about to implement BYOD and MDM.

We are very much alive, thank you

Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.

The investments you've made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are secure. I will keep the lines of communication open as we navigate through this transition.

We're going back to our heritage and roots - delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions. As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems. And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period.

In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.

Setting the record straight: We will manage all devices

We're serious about multi-platform MDM and even more serious about multi-platform EMM. We deliberately moved to a new platform with BES10 last year. Making this change enables us to manage all devices, turbo-charge BYOD initiatives, and provide the very best management experience.

Our competitors want you to think that BES only manages BlackBerry devices, and that we are somehow more expensive than other MDMs. This is false.

We understand the realities of the enterprise mobility market better than anyone, and we're in the game for the long term. We've been investing in enterprise mobility management - for any device - and thanks to customers like you, we're doing very well. Here's the proof:

Our EMM customer base is much larger than any of the other vendors in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management - and is growing.

We manage more mobile devices than any other vendor. Period.

We move more secure mobile data than anyone else.

We have substantial cash and are not a small VC-backed "pure play" MDM player seeking additional funds every year.

Security is not debatable - regardless of the device

BYOD users may be able to bring any device to work, but it's our job to ensure the risk doesn't follow them in. Whether you're deploying corporate-owned iPads or allowing BYOD Android devices, security is paramount.

We have more certifications from government agencies than any other vendor and we're the only EMM vendor and handset maker to receive the Department of Defense "Authority to Operate" certification.

Governments, global corporations and organizations that will not compromise on security continue to choose and trust BlackBerry.

BES10 is your future Enterprise Mobility Solution

We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone. That's OK.

As we committed to earlier - we are more than just a device company. Today, BES10 supports multi-platform MDM, mobile application management and security. We have also made it as easy and low cost as possible for you to trial and deploy BES10.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to have an open conversation with you. Keep an eye out for an EMM Realities webcast series where we will drill down into the key areas in this letter. In the meantime, I want your feedback on how we can better serve your EMM needs.

I believe in BlackBerry and I'm confident in our future in enterprise, our technology and our ability to adapt to changing market needs.

Sincerely,

John S. Chen
Executive Chair and CEO

Tags:
Mobile
Phones
About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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