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Blackberry's John Chen Named Second Best CEO by CNN, Here's Why

News by Luke Jones on Wednesday December 24, 2014.

industry news · luke jones

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John Chen
John Chen

I have been surprised by the apparent shock of fellow tech publications today after the news that Blackberry supremo John Chen was named the second best CEO of the year. He lost out in CNN's countdown of the best company chiefs to Apple's Tim Cook, but while it?s easy to rag on Blackberry, a lot of people have missed the point of what the company has been doing this year, and Chen has done a great job.

When he entered the Canadian company, it was collapsing around him and predictions that the company would be out of business or sold and broken up within months were very real. Chen righted the ship with a clear strategy, something Blackberry had been lacking for a few years. He decided to chase services and the enterprise market, where the brand still means something. He would speak to people who want a Blackberry.

The result was opening services such as BBM to iOS and Android, a move that resulted in 91 million users and the opportunity to now monetize that service and user base. Chen has shored up numerous enterprise deals, while he has not ignored the hardware front either (now not a core part of Blackberry's success).

The Passport is a business minded users perfect device, with its square 4.5-inch screen it offers unparalleled reading, which to the average smartphone user seems unimportant, but to Blackberry's clients is arguably essential. He spoke further to a small but core following by releasing the Blackberry Classic this month, a device with a full QWERTY keyboard and trackpad, again hardly likely to entice the normal smartphone crown but likely to strike a chord with on the move business email hounds.

The biggest mistake tech writers and commentators make about Blackberry is thinking that because its hardware does not sell in vast numbers then the company is not going to make money. A 1% share in the hardware market is not what John Chen wants, but the company is now based to survive beyond hardware if needs be. It's a rocky road and the latest quarterly financials suggest there will be plenty of downs with the ups over the next year.

But forget any doom mongering notion that Blackberry will not survive, the company is on the rebound in a business sense and profitability is predicted for 2016. Chen is now 99% sure the company will survive, leaving 1% to the anything is possible scenario. A company in transition and turning around does not pile on revenue quarter after quarter, so forget the bleak assessments and look at what's happening with investors. They are returning to Blackberry and putting faith in the company, and Chen is a huge reason for that.

source: CNN

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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