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BlackBerry CEO: We’re totally still alive, thanks

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Ailing smartphone maker BlackBerry is officially taking down its “for sale” sign.

In a yet another open letter — apparently the company’s preferred method of communication these days — BlackBerry’s interim CEO John Chen attempted to reassure customers and investors of the company’s stability.

“The investments you’ve made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are secure,” wrote Chen. “In short, reports of our our death are greatly exaggerated.”

BlackBerry seemingly reached a deal to go private in late September, when FairFax Financial offered to buy the company for $4.7 billion. But the deal fell through, with BlackBerry instead opting to raise $1 billion in new investment.

The company also ousted embattled chief executive Thorsten Heins in early November, temporarily replacing him with former Sybase CEO John Chen. Since then, Chen has been cleaning house, axing a slew of high-profile executives who oversaw the decline of the once proud company, which was valued at $80 billion in 2008.

No longer competitive in the consumer market, BlackBerry is staking a claim on its most viable hope for the future: the enterprise.

“We’re going back to our heritage and roots — delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions,” wrote Chen. “As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, [enterprise mobile management] solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems.”

BlackBerry has been cutting thousands of jobs worldwide and plans to cut thousands more as it attempts to stem massive losses (nearly $1 billion in the second quarter). As VentureBeat’s lead mobile writer Devindra Hardawar put it, “This is what it looks like when a giant falls.”

The full text of Chen’s letter is available below.

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

More about the companies and people from this article:

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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