Why BlackBerry CEO Chen Doesn't Worry About Smartphone Market Share
In a Q&A with reporters, BlackBerry's John Chen explained why the company doesn't have to be a big player in smartphones to continue to sell them.NEW YORK—BlackBerry CEO and executive chairman John Chen couldn't have made it more clear: His company doesn't worry about its smartphone market share anymore because such statistics are not relevant to BlackBerry's ongoing future as a security software business. In a revealing and intimate Q&A interview with reporters here at the third annual BlackBerry Security Summit, Chen said that even as his company now gets most of its sales and revenue from software instead of hardware as it did in its past, smartphones will continue to be part of its offerings until there are no more reasons to sell them. "Why am I still in the handset business?" he asked. "First of all, if I came to you [and talked about] a billion dollar software company … that is making money … that does [Internet of things] … and that does embedded technology … you would never ask me a question about handsets" and their market share, he said. Chen even expressed a bit of friendly aggravation about the constant questions from journalists over the last two years about BlackBerry's continuing move to specialize in software instead of hardware.
Instead of smartphone market share being key to BlackBerry, Chen said that reporters "have conditioned [themselves] that you must ask that question" every time they write about BlackBerry or speak with Chen. "You are sounding like my wife" when she brings up something he might have done wrong in the past, he said with a smile.