John Chen says company’s focus is on security not consumer market or China

John Chen BlackBerry Classic

As the year draws to a close, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been rather vocal about his company’s smartphone strategy. He’s already talked about the reasoning behind the creation of the BlackBerry Classic and last week Chen said that the phone was just a point of entry, or one part of BlackBerry’s larger strategy. When pressed, Chen was quoted as saying, “Smartphones will not matter in the long term.”

Just a few days after that interview aired, Chen has taken to LinkedIn to reiterate his point. Speaking via a blog post titled “Don’t Believe The Hype,” Chen said that in the interest of being straightforward, the company’s focus is on security and not the consumer market or China. Believing that it’s better to “tell it like it is” than to give in to the temptation to chase hype and trends, Chen cites Kim Kardashian and China as examples of BlackBerry hype.

“For example, recently I’ve been advised to capitalize on Kim Kardashian’s pronouncements that BlackBerry phones are her “heart and soul,” or talk up plans to enter the China market, however preliminary they are today,” Chen wrote. “I am grateful for Kim’s loyalty and respect her passion for BlackBerry, but it is not the right time for us to focus on the consumer market.”

He is, of course, referring to reports that he met with Lenovo, Xiaomi, and HTC to explore growth in China. In a recent interview, Chen expressed interest in expanding the company’s Chinese presence through partnerships. Chen said today that the plan for China will be ‘well thought out’ and will account for timing, and the company’s long-term strategy, among other things. One thing Chen seems sure of is that it won’t involve a takeover.

“It won’t be rushed because it’s exciting or turned away from because of security concerns. And it won’t include a takeover.”

For now, though, BlackBerry will focus on “extending [its] legendary security foundation with new solutions for the enterprise,” and Chen is adamant that this will not change.


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