Even the BlackBerry faithful are having some difficulty praising the company in recent weeks, as poor sales, buyout discussions, and endless delays have plagued the Canadian handset manufacturer. Their latest smartphone, the Z30, hasn't received much interest from carriers (Rogers, a major Canadian carrier, originally refused to stock the phone before a public outcry forced them to change their mind) despite some favorable responses from critics, and their launch of the BlackBerry Messenger service has been postponed time and time again.
This is a rough time for the company.
Still, they're better off than other companies we've seen, and unlike many, BlackBerry has resisted taking on any sort of debt in order to keep things going - though they have been burning through their billion-dollar bank accounts recently in order to account for unsold inventory.
Today, they sent out an email to their "valued customers, partners, and fans" that promised to "set the record straight." It's a little strange that such a storied company has had to resort to direct cheerleading in order to generate positive headlines, but at this point in time, BlackBerry could use all the positive press they can get.
After all, their biggest problem in competing with Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft isn't a technical one really, as they have thousands of competent engineers - it's an image one.
BlackBerry recently decided to exit the consumer handset market, instead doubling down on enterprise, one of their historic strengths. It's possible that this move, combined with a strong BBM launch (the popularity of the leaked version shows just how much interest there is in the network) and BES could give the company enough breathing room to come out with something really stunning in 2015.
We'd like to see them stick around, as more competition is always good for the consumer (even if that consumer is an enterprise customer). Hopefully the next email we get will be a little more celebratory. The original email text is below.
What would it take for you to buy another BlackBerry?
You've no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry®. You're probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day.
We have one important message for you:
How do we know? We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt free. We are restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 percent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization.
These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don't underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges we are facing. We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.
One thing we will never change is our commitment to those of you who helped build BlackBerry into the most trusted tool for the world's business professional.
And speaking of those dramatic headlines, it's important that we set the record straight on a few things.
We have completely revamped our device portfolio this year with the launch of BlackBerry® 10. We have four BlackBerry 10 devices - two all touch and two hybrid (touch and QWERTY) - and all are running the third update of our new platform. If what you care about most is getting things done - taking care of your business -- we have the best range of devices for you. And we continue to offer the best mobile typing experience - no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Governments all over the world, global corporations and businesses that simply cannot compromise on security choose and trust BlackBerry. Security is our heritage, and the industry recognizes that BlackBerry is the most secure when it comes to the device, server and, of course, our global data network. Have no doubt that you can continue to trust us to keep your communication safe and private.
We changed with the market, embracing BYOD because we understand that as iOS and Android™ devices become common in the workplace, businesses still need to manage all of these different platforms seamlessly and securely.
This is not a trivial task. While there are a number of startup companies that make bold claims, BlackBerry has more software engineers and the most resources dedicated to developing the most innovative solutions to address this complex challenge.
And our customers know it. Over the past quarter, our BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 server base grew from 19,000 to more than 25,000. Corporate clients are committed to deploying and testing the latest enterprise technology from BlackBerry. We are committed to evolving with our customers. That will never change.
We are bringing the most engaging mobile messaging platform to all, with our BBM™ launch for Android™ and iPhone. There are already around six million customers pre-registered to be notified of our roll out. This number is growing every day, and speaks to the tremendous opportunity we have to expand BBM beyond BlackBerry® smartphones to make it the world's largest mobile social network.
Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone. That's OK. 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.
We believe in BlackBerry - our people, our technology and our ability to adapt. More importantly, we believe in you. We focus every day on what it takes to make sure that you can take care of business.
You trust your BlackBerry to deliver your most important messages, so trust us when we deliver one of our own: You can continue to count on us.
The BlackBerry Team
Follow us @BlackBerry for our updates.
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