BlackBerry’s new interim CEO, John Chen, has claimed that the ailing mobile-maker has no plans to stop manufacturing smartphones, despite decidely weak sales for its most recent handsets.
Chen's comments come less than a day after he replaced Thorsten Heins as the top exec at the company, following the decision to abandon a planned sale to Fairfax Financial.
Speaking to Reuters, Chen said he was not looking at moving out of the hardware space in an attempt to boost BlackBerry’s fortunes.
He explained: “I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business. I have done this before and seen the same movie before."
Chen helped turn around ailing tech company Sybase in the late '90s. The software firm was in a similarly parlous state to BlackBerry, but was eventually sold for $5.8 billion on 2005, despite posting an operating loss of $98 million in 1998.
BlackBerry’s decision to ditch Heins and take $1 billion of investment from Fairfax, rather than sell up, has seen its share price plummet.
However, Chen’s background suggests there’s a sliver of hope. He said he anticipates a turnaround will take around 18 months.
The issue Chen now faces is pulling BlackBerry back to some level of respectability.
Its BB10 platform won critical plaudits, but a series of boardroom bust-ups ensured devices such as the Z10 and Q10 were failures.
With Google and Apple so dominant and Windows Phone quietly growing, this task could prove Herculean, even for a man of Chen’s talents.