BlackBerry's new CEO believes their future is tied... to iPhone

BlackBerry's new CEO believes their future

BlackBerry's new CEO has begun articulating his vision for the once-dominant handset maker's future, and it's a future that depends increasingly on iPhone owners. That's because the previously proprietary BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) service is now cross-platform, and enterprise mobile device management now requires support for iOS as well. From Marcus Adolfsson's interview on CrackBerry.com:

“You could be an iPhone customer, and also a BlackBerry customer,” Chen explained. “You could be an Android customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. It's not mutually exclusive. I think that's an important key message of the company going forward.”

Other companies have taken their services cross-platform with mixed results. However, there are few other options left for BlackBerry at this point. The question remains: How can they woo iPhone users to their services? How can they get people to give BBM and BES a chance?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 25 comments. Add yours.

BB fan forever says:

First First First, HAHA!!!!!! No but I would like to see users from Android and Ios on BBM. It's super fast and very secure.

DaveSter678 says:

This guy totally knows BB has no chance as a standalone company anymore. They may still have some money left to burn through, but it will go [a bunch of it to his golden parachute].

But this is purely about the next gig for this CEO. He is positioning himself for the next job, after he takes a bunch of cash from BB.

Rowanova says:

If that's Mr. Chen's BB solution he will be unemployed before long too.
To little to late, I'd say.

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lui22 says:

I'd say this is a bit opinionated and taken out of context Richie.....I'd expect better from you

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SockRolid says:

It's a blog. Blogs are all about opinions.
Deal with it.

lui22 says:

@richie. He meant that customers aren't as loyal as companies want to believe. My for example have a predominantly apple ecosystem out of laziness. iPad iPhone Apple TV iMac iCloud....yet I have no problem ditching all apple and going to all blackberry infact I have Q10 Z10 PlayBook BlackBerry Music Gateway and BES. Literally those are the electronic devices and services that I use....

Not only am I a Apple customer I am a BlackBerry one aswell. I use bbm and BES on my iOS devices. I am not the anomaly. People don't just stick to one thing. In many households you'll see all kinds of ecosystem customers of one company also being customers of another. The future of one company doesn't just live in the hands of another but on how and what services they provide and where they do it.

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SockRolid says:

I'm watching Arbitrage on Netflix as I type this. Lots of Blackberries being used in the film, which was filmed in 2012. But, ages ago, you used to be able to tell the year of a film by the featured cell phone. In the '90s and early '00s they got smaller and smaller until it was just the Motorola StarTAC and RAZR (plus the various candy bar style Nokias.) But there was a new, smaller phone in every film up until the '00s. Sony even enjoyed a brief period of being the coolest cell phone maker with a tiny little cube-like phone with a fold-down mic boom. Killed off by the StarTAC. Sony never really recovered in the US cell phone market.

Now, the opposite is happening in films. Sure, you can roughly guesstimate the year of the film by the smartphones the actors use. But there are fewer and fewer brands, especially in the smartphone space. I'm pretty sure Arbitrage will be one of the last feature films to feature BlackBerries.

GeniusUnleashed says:

I can't figure out what's taking BB so long to simply focus on being the best messaging system in teh world and allowing every manufacturer and OS to use their service. They could be the universal SMS, something we badly need right now. If they went crypto, people would flood to them.

skyhawk85u says:

I can't figure out why anyone would use BBM, especially on an iPhone. I downloaded it just to check it out, waited my turn to get in. Finally realized it's junk. It looked awful and wasn't all that functional. None of my friends have it and never will. I'd be shocked if this went anywhere for BB.

GeniusUnleashed says:

Why? Because the iOS market is shrinking world wide daily. We need a universal messaging system in place now that we're global and iMessage isn't it. Hangouts is good, but not sure I want it to be in Google's hands.

skyhawk85u says:

Oh.... nooo - definitely would not use Hangouts. How about plain ol' SMS? That's as universal as it gets. There's just no way you're going to convince enough people that BBM has enough (or any) advantage.

GeniusUnleashed says:

SMS isn't worldwide like other messaging systems. We need a universal app like SMS is for America.

lui22 says:

Yeah no not going to pay 10 cents a message to talk to my cousins in Mexico and the uk

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iSRS says:

I agree. BB should focus on services. It could lead to a resurgence.

What is it going to take to convince consumers? Nothing. The consumer space is shrinking for them.

They need to focus on the enterprise, the rise of BYOD, and those existing enterprise customers that also deploy Good for Enterprise. Create a desktop BBM app (if one doesn't already exist).

Then, enterprise customers deploy the messaging app to their desktops/laptops, use the BB apps for securing company email and calendars (replacing Good), and add BBM.

This is, or should be, their new strategy.

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GeniusUnleashed says:

If they don't do it, someone else will. If they don't do it, I can't figure out why they would even stay around as a company.

iSRS says:

Agreed. BB is just in the best position of anyone to come to market quickly, as they are already at least 90% there. They are also already installed in many companies, and have earned a level of trust.

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Becjr says:

To me, this seems like a solid idea. Blackberry has built up a strong fan base over the years. The new CEO accepts that some of these user are moving on to other devices, but may still want to carry with them the familiar way of doing what they've always done.
It's a game of chess and I'm sure he's putting pieces in play for something a year or two down the road.
Shifting Blackberry's focus from hardware to software/services could save them a lot and afford them some room to develop.
We shall see.

kivancio says:

I think they are too late to shift their focus :(

DaveSter678 says:

Just like Apple was faced with this decision back in the 90's, for BB to switch, it effectively means BB goes from being a multi-billion dollar company to a multi-million [10's, maybe 100's] of millions of dollars.

This kind of transition makes for unhappy shareholders. Sure, the CEO gets his bonus, but everybody else gets screwed.

DrNeub says:

Pulling a play out of Sega's book.

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BenRoethig says:

And he's totally correct. BB's future is in services.

evilsofa says:

Hey BBFanForever, be careful when you say its secure.. Remember about 4 years ago when RIM handed over the encryption codes for the devices to the UAE and subsequently to other country's so they could intercept and decrypt any and all BB traffic... Be careful what felonious plans you are sharing by BBM.. and yes I stopped using BBM when I tossed my BB 4 years ago.

counterculture says:

Well if that's the case, I expect an aesthetic update for the BBM app soon. ;-p

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zdn1042 says:

Yes, please. I like BBM very much but the interface not so much.