BlackBerry CEO hopes to turn profit by fiscal year 2016
Published Tuesday, January 7, 2014 1:26PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 7, 2014 9:31PM EST
LAS VEGAS - Your next smartphone is unlikely to be built by BlackBerry, but CEO John Chen is determined that the company will have a role to play in the data and communication platforms that mobile devices will use in the future.
Speaking to a group of about two dozen reporters during a special Q & A session at the Consumer Electronics Show, Chen discussed his plans for the Canadian tech company’s future.
Despite several headlines in recent months about job losses and departures, Chen was optimistic about the team he’s assembling to lead the turnaround.
Even with new executives on board, change won’t happen quickly.
“It’s going to take a while,” Chen says.
Still, the roadmap is being drawn. Chen says he wants the company to be cash-flow positive in four quarters, and then turn a profit in fiscal year 2016.
"We will no longer have any significant inventory issues moving forward," Chen says, a couple weeks after the company announced a new deal with electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build devices and do some design work, particularly for emerging markets.
Chen also says we may “probably” see another BB10-powered smartphone released this year, other than a phone built by Foxconn.
While he says many critics have put a focus on handset sales, it’s not the most important thing.
He says there will be growth in the area of big data and device-to-device communication. “That’s the frontier to win,” he says.
Focus on enterprise
Chen is enthusiastic about the potential for growth with enterprise customers. One main reason, he says, is because the profit margin is higher.
He says that between the consumer market and the enterprise market, if there’s a dollar to spend, he’s going to spend it on the enterprise services business unit that deals with corporate clients.
“For the next 18 months development will only focus on enterprise,” Chen says.