BlackBerry issues open letter to calm customers and partners

A Blackberry logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
A Blackberry logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013. Credit: Reuters

BlackBerry Ltd. on Monday sought to reassure its restive customers and partners that it was financially stable and “here to stay,” even though it announced massive layoffs and sources say it is in talks to sell all or part of the company.

In an open letter published in 30 news outlets across nine countries, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company stressed that its customers can continue to count on BlackBerry and its products, despite the challenges it is facing and the changes it is undergoing.

BlackBerry’s products have struggled to compete against the likes of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and the numerous devices powered by Google’s Android operating system.

A new line of smartphones that run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system has also failed to re-ignite sales, prompting the company last month to announce that it would slash its global workforce by more than a third.

“Our customers read a lot about BlackBerry these days, as we make the headlines quite often – this has created a lot of noise and confusion,” Frank Boulben, the company’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview.

“We want customers to know that they can continue to count on us – we are here to stay. 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.”

The open letter is being distributed via social media channels and being published in Tuesday’s edition of newspapers across the globe, including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in the United States, and the Globe and Mail and National Post in Canada.

The company’s future was further thrown into question after it announced this summer that it is weighing its options, including an outright sale.

Sources have told Reuters that the company is in talks with Cisco Systems, Google Inc and SAP about selling all or parts of itself. Such a deal would be an alternative to a preliminary, $9-a-share offer by a group being led by BlackBerry’s biggest investor, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

Last week, BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin also said that they are considering a bid to buy the smartphone maker.

Boulben said the uncertainty is the reason why BlackBerry is publishing the letter, which highlights the company’s strengths from its security offering to its device management capabilities and its mobile messaging platform.

“Whoever is interested in BlackBerry understands that the company has world class products and services. These are products and services that customers can continue to count on.”

Boulben said the company already has 6 million Android and iPhone customers pre-registered for the launch of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service.

He said he expects the BBM to launch on both those platforms “within days,” adding that the company is confident that it fixed issues that arose after the initial cross-platform launch of the messaging service last month.

The company suspended the cross-platform launch last month, after an unofficial older version of BBM downloaded by a number of Android users caused issues with the messaging platform.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."