BlackBerry has been the center of negative headlines for months now, though the company is trying to reach out to existing and potential new customers to reassure everyone that everything is OK. The company’s director of marketing Frank Boulben sent a letter to various news outlets on Monday alerting everyone that BlackBerry has no plans to simply turn off the lights and vanish from the planet anytime soon.
“We want customers to know that they can continue to count on us – we are here to stay,” Boulben said in the letter, obtained by Reuters. “We have substantial cash on our balance sheet and we have no debt. We are restructuring our cost base and this is a very painful transition, but it will make us financially stronger and we want to get that message directly to our customers.” BlackBerry has been singing this tune for a long time, though most recently reported a loss of $1 billion before announcing it has plans to lay off 40 percent of its employees. Boulben is saying one thing, but the company is acting entirely differently.
BlackBerry is currently in talks with a number of parties for a potential sale. Fairfax Financial Holdings is one of those firms, though Reuters said it recently learned that Google, Cisco and SAP are also interested in partial or full acquisitions. There have also been reports that BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin are also interested in snatching up the company.
The problem with Boulben’s statements is that, while BlackBerry might have plans to continue to exist now, it’s unclear what any potential acquiring party will do with the firm. That’s why there’s some concern, at least from our perspective, about how long BlackBerry will continue to offer support for its products and release new devices and software into the smartphone market. Speaking of new software, Boulben also gave us an update on when to expect BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for iOS and Android, and said launch should happen “within days.” That’s not the first time we’ve heard that.
Boulben’s statements appear more as a last ditch effort to convince investors that the company is still worth putting money into. Consumers are already moving to other platforms, as we’ve seen with the global lack of interest in BlackBerry 10 and the company’s decreasing market share across the board. Boulben answers that issue, too.
“Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone. That’s OK,” he said. “You have always known that BlackBerry is different, that BlackBerry can set you apart. Countless world-changing decisions have been finalized, deals closed and critical communications made via BlackBerry. And for many of you that created a bond, a connection that goes back more than a decade.”
Boulben added that the company still believes in BlackBerry and consumers, though the question remains: do consumers still believe in BlackBerry?