BlackBerry to dial back handset launches

CEO Chen favours profitability focus as smartphone pioneer enters second phase of turnaround plan

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BlackBerry to dial back handset launches Chen: BlackBerry has survived; now we have to start looking at growth. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  November 10, 2014

Canadian smartphone maker, BlackBerry, will focus on margins and curtail the number of devices it launches, CEO John Chen said, as the firm enters the second phase of a two-year turnaround programme.

Chen was appointed in November 2013, after BlackBerry abandoned plans to sell itself in the wake of tumbling share prices and meagre smartphone market share. After cutting costs and selling off property in its hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, to raise cash, Chen believes the worst is behind BlackBerry.

"We will survive as a company and now I am rather confident," Reuters quoted him as saying. "We're managing the supply chain, we are managing inventories, we are managing cash, and we have expenses now at a number that is very manageable. BlackBerry has survived; now we have to start looking at growth."

Chen plans to launch only those devices that are most competitive, including one innovative device and upgraded versions of other popular models, such as the recently launched Passport and Z3 handsets.

"I'm not going to build a general purpose device, simply because it is a 5-inch touchscreen," he said. "The Chinese can build one for 75 bucks; I can't get enough parts together for 75 bucks."

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