BlackBerry CEO Chen Lays Out Plans for the Future

BlackBerry CEO John Chen laid out his plans for the future of the company on Tuesday at a media roundtable held at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Chen said that BlackBerry will be releasing at least two new smartphones this year. One will be the result of the announced partnership with Foxconn, a touchscreen model to be priced under $200. The other phone will feature the standard BlackBerry keyboard and will be designed in-house.

The news makes it clear that BlackBerry isn’t completely abandoning the consumer smartphone market, despite the disastrous sales of its most recent BB10 phones. However, Chen said that the enterprise will be the company’s focus for the immediate future. BlackBerry still has some presence in the enterprise and MDM markets and can utilize its BBM service and QNX platform.

Chen also revealed that he will remain in the CEO role until the company is back on solid financial and strategic ground. Though he originally came aboard as an interim CEO following Thorsten Heins’ departure, Chen expects to stay with the company through the next 18 months and BlackBerry has stopped the search for a new CEO. That gives the company some stability in the midst of its difficulties.

In his short time as CEO, Chen has already been busy. He has let go several senior executives and brought in new blood in the form of former SAP executive John Sims to run the enterprise unit and HTC executive Ron Louks as chief of the devices business.  Blackberry and Chen have a hard road ahead of them, but Chen is optimistic about the future. He said that he expects positive cash flow within the next four quarters and for the company to be profitable by the 2016 fiscal year.

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