BlackBerry appeals to customers
TORONTO—BlackBerry is appealing to its customers to stay with the troubled smartphone maker as it restructures.
In an open letter released yesterday afternoon on Twitter and Facebook, BlackBerry tells its “customers, partners and fans” that they can continue to count on the Waterloo, Ont.-based company.
The letter alludes to BlackBerry’s recent $965 million (U.S.) quarterly loss and possible ownership change, noting those issues could be a concern for customers.
But it says BlackBerry has substantial cash on hand, a balance sheet that is debt-free, and is restructuring with a goal to cut expenses by 50 percent.
It also says BlackBerry doesn’t underestimate the situation it faces, and is making “difficult changes”—such as a 40 percent reduction of its global workforce—to strengthen the company.
The open letter, which the company said would be published in newspapers around the world today, also touts BlackBerry’s security measures and notes its system will work with Apple iOS and Android devices.
“We are bringing the most engaging mobile messaging platform to all, with our BBM launch for Android and iPhone,” the letter stated.
“There are already around six million customers pre-registered to be notified of our roll-out.”
And the letter also stressed the company’s BlackBerry 10 devices, saying BlackBerry continues “to offer the best mobile typing experience—no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
BlackBerry has struggled this year as sales of its latest smartphones failed to catch fire, and some carriers decided not to sell BlackBerry’s new Z30 smartphone.
Rogers Communications reversed its decision not to sell the Z30 last week following a backlash from customers on message boards and Twitter.
Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, has made a conditional takeover bid worth $9 (U.S.) per share and values the company at $4.7 billion (U.S.)
The Fairfax consortium is expected to complete its due diligence by Nov. 4.
Until then, BlackBerry is allowed to actively solicit and evaluate rival offers.
BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin have said they are looking at making a potential takeover bid.