John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry CEO Urges Shareholders to Keep the Faith

thorsten_heins_rainbow_landBlackBerry is on the mend and the company’s lousy first-quarter earnings should not be viewed as evidence that its long-term prospects are withering.

That was the theme of CEO Thorsten Heins’s remarks at BlackBerry’s annual meeting today, as he sought to reassure long-suffering shareholders shaken by the company’s latest financials. Short-term volatility does not belie future success, Heins said, reminding attendees that BlackBerry’s new devices haven’t been on the market for even six months yet.

“BlackBerry is still in the early phases of our transition,” Heins said. “This isn’t just the launch of a new product, but a whole new platform. While many will judge us on the basis of one quarter of a single product, we are not a devices-only company. … This is a long-term transition for the company.”

Heins said pretty much the same thing during the company’s last earnings call (what else is he supposed to say?), and there’s certainly merit to his “Rome wasn’t built in a day” argument. That said, it’s an open question as to whether “Rome” will ever be built in this case.

For BlackBerry to miss so badly on smartphone shipments in the first full quarter that its new BB10 phones were on sale doesn’t speak well to the company’s chances of mounting a successful comeback. But who knows. Maybe we are witnessing a long, slow slog toward reclaimed greatness. Certainly that’s the narrative Heins is putting forth.

“Our transformation is ongoing and it is in no way easy,” he said. “I can assure you we are pushing very, very hard to show improvement. … We’re doing the right things and we’re doing the things we said we’d do.”

Fair enough. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.”

Of course, Emerson was never a BlackBerry shareholder.

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