Mobile

BlackBerry fights bad press with an open letter to fans: ‘Count on us’

Above: BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins holding the Z10 and Q10 phones

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

With little hope of combating all of its negative press, BlackBerry is choosing to embrace it and remind fans that “you can continue to count on us.”

Tomorrow the company will kick off a media campaign with an open letter, telling its customers and fans that all is not lost, reports fan site Crackberry. The letter will appear in more than 30 print media outlets, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as on BlackBerry’s social media channels.

For BlackBerry, a company that has never been very public about its own shortcomings, the letter comes as a surprise. While it reassures fans that it has money on hand, strong security, and “best in class enterprise mobility management,” it also acknowledges that there will be a 50 percent expense cut, something that was previously announced in September alongside a nearly $1 billion quarterly loss and 4,500 layoffs.

“These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges,” the company writes. “We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.”

BlackBerry announced last month that it had accepted a $4,7 billion buyout offer from Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings, but the company is also keeping itself open to better deals. At the very least, BlackBerry won’t just blink out of existence, but selling at just $9 a share to a private investment firm seems like an ignominious end for a former mobile giant.

The company is clearly trying to control some of the conversation around its current troubles, but as with many moves from BlackBerry lately, it may be too little, too late.

Case in point: While shopping for an iPhone 5S at a T-Mobile store this weekend, I witnessed an employee actively discourage a BlackBerry fan from buying a new BB10 device.

“They’re in serious trouble,” he said.

Read the full letter below.

To our valued customers, partners and fans,

You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry. You’re probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day.

We have one important message for you:

You can continue to count on BlackBerry.

How do we know? We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free.

We are restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 percent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization.

These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges. We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.

One thing we will never change is our commitment to those of you who helped build BlackBerry into the most trusted tool for the world’s business professional.

And speaking of those dramatic headlines, it’s important that we set the record straight on a few things.

Best in class productivity tool.

We have completely revamped our device portfolio this year with the launch of BlackBerry 10. We have four BlackBerry 10 devices – two all touch and two hybrid (touch and QWERTY) – and all are running the third update of our new platform. If what you care about most is getting things done – taking care of your business – we have the best range of devices for you. And we continue to offer the best mobile typing experience – no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Best in class security.

Governments all over the world, global corporations and businesses that simply cannot compromise on security choose and trust BlackBerry. Security is our heritage, and the industry recognizes that BlackBerry is the most secure when it comes to the device, server and, of course, our global data network. Have no doubt that you can continue to trust us to keep your communication safe and private.

Best in class enterprise mobility management.

We changed with the market, embracing BYOD because we understand that as iOS and Android devices become common in the workplace, businesses still need to manage all of these different platforms seamlessly and securely.

This is not a trivial task. While there are a number of startup companies that make bold claims, BlackBerry has more software engineers and the most resources dedicated to developing the most innovative solutions to address this complex challenge.

And our customers know it. Over the past quarter, our BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 server base grew from 19,000 to more than 25,000. Corporate clients are committed to deploying and testing the latest enterprise technology from BlackBerry. We are committed to evolving with our customers. That will never change.

Best in class mobile social network.

We are bringing the most engaging mobile messaging platform to all, with our BBM launch for Android and iPhone.

There are already around six million customers pre-registered to be notified of our roll out. This number is growing every day, and speaks to the tremendous opportunity we have to expand BBM beyond BlackBerry smartphones to make it the world’s largest mobile social network.

Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone. That’s OK. You have always known that BlackBerry is different, that BlackBerry can set you apart. Countless world-changing decisions have been finalized, deals closed and critical communications made via BlackBerry. And for many of you that created a bond, a connection that goes back more than a decade.

We believe in BlackBerry – our people, our technology and our ability to adapt. More importantly, we believe in you. We focus every day on what it takes to make sure that you can take care of business.

You trust your BlackBerry to deliver your most important messages, so trust us when we deliver one of our own: You can continue to count on us.

Sincerely,
The BlackBerry Team

More information:

Research In Motion, Ltd., is a provider of wireless solutions for the mobile communications market. The company is the designer and manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, and also creates touchscreen and mobile keyboard techn... read more »

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