BlackBerry Still Losing Money, Yet Optimistic

BlackBerry is still refining its business strategy as it attempts to return to profitability after several troubled years. On Friday, John Chen, the Canadian company's chief executive, clarified that BlackBerry is still interested in selling smartphones at the same time it makes further headway into related markets for software and services.

Chen, the former head of Sybase, became CEO of BlackBerry four months ago, facing numerous challenges to bring the struggling company back to profitability.

In an earnings call covering fourth quarter results for fiscal 2014, which ended March 1, Chen told investors that his company is intending to relaunch its older BlackBerry 7 OS. "I hope nobody thinks we don't take seriously the handset business," he said.

In fact, Chen told news media that new phones will be released in the next 18 months that emphasize BlackBerry's classic feature, the physical keyboard. Chen told Canada's CBC News that at least three different next-gen, "keyboard-centric" phones are currently in the works.

BBM for Desktops

Chen's sentiments follow indications late last year that the company was steering itself toward software and related services, such as its mobile device management (MDM) suite, the QNX operating system for cars, and its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service.

The company's Q20 phone was shown at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona last month, and is expected to go on sale by the end of this year. It includes a "classic" keyboard, and features the return of commands keys like Menu or Send.

Chen has also said that BlackBerry is considering bringing BBM, which now has over 80 million users and half a million chat rooms, to desktop computers. The instant messaging service is highly popular among smartphone users, and the company is interested in expanding its reach toward the growing social business segment currently populated by the likes...

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