BlackBerry looks to 'win back lost ground' with new models

CEO unveils two new phones at Mobile World Congress in bid to win back falling market share
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Daniel Shane
Wed 26 Feb 2014 04:58 PM

Flagging smartphone giant BlackBerry will seek to "win back some lost ground" following the launch of two new smartphones at Mobile World Congress, the company's CEO John Chen said.

The Canadian handset maker, which has seen global marketshare dwindle in the face of Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google's Android software, used the annual event in Barcelona as a platform to reveal its first phones built by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn.

Its budget-conscious Z2 features a touchscreen and will retail for less than $200 when it is released, while the Q20, due to hit the market later in 2014, comes equipped with a physical keyboard.

"We're here to compete and to win back some lost ground before the end of this year," Chen said at a news conference at the event.

Chen told reporters that BlackBerry would sharpen its focus on the corporate market, which was historically a stronghold for the company, before it increasingly saw enterprises desert the platform in favour of device including the iPhone.

"Our turnaround strategy is to focus on the enterprise," Chen added.

Market research published earlier this year by International Data Corporation showed that globally BlackBerry's marketshare shrunk to just 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2013.

Chen also pledged to return BlackBerry, which lost more than $4.4bn in its most recent fiscal quarter, to profitability by next year.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg Television following the announcement, Chen said admitted that the company would be tempted to sells its BlackBerry Messenger platform if it was made an offer comparable to the $19bn Facebook paid to acquire WhatsApp earlier this month.

“Until we get to the point that we can showcase that potential [for BBM], it is a bit too early to think about getting our $19bn,” Chen said.

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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