Without a doubt, new BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, struck a cord in the market at the December 20th earnings call. After the stock nearly downed to lows not seen in years, struggling down at $6, it is now up over 20% since. Remarkable, though we’re hardly through the first half of first month of 2014 – BlackBerry, of all names, is actually the lead performing tech stock in North America. This can only be said within the lens of just how bad the stock was performing on the street prior to this point.
In a recent report published by the Citron group just yesterday, the known short-seller firm actually upgraded their target to a $15 dollar minimum on the basis that Chen is transitioning the company away from their hardware woes, and into a more lucrative and flexible software services platform. The company is also leveraging BES10 and the security infrastructure BlackBerry has nurtured with over 650 carrier partners around the globe. In short,
As a business structure–decoupled from the hardware constraints on the spread sheet, the BES10 has significant reach into the market of today and is staged well for the market of tomorrow.
This is all reactionary, as CEO John Chen laid out a very plain strategy to focus on enterprise growth, and offset hardware worries to well known Foxconn supplier; who removes a lot of the overhead risk from managing hardware inventories and distribution. It is my belief that, as the shorts realize, this is a very pragmatic way to balance the books, and eliminates BlackBerry’s main financial weakness in the market, that they can focus on monetizing services across BBM, QNX, BES10, and, of course, hardware. Hardware, a point where Chen isn’t satisfied on just breaking even, his Foxconn deal does cut the manufacturer a piece on every sale, but will also bring in revenues as well.
Chen wants BlackBerry to act with more direction, and focus devices and marketing money down into specific regions to really induce the peer-to-peer virility of new products. Focusing first on the Indonesian market with the codenamed ‘Jakarta’ device, and my bets are placed next at Mexico, where recent studies show BlackBerry still has a stronghold of users.
Stop-loss initiatives such as this will change the Streets perception around BlackBerry. Eliminating many of the overused pain points of the brand by shifting it away from the past, and towards the future. As BlackBerry leads the tech stocks for 2014, we’re very early into the game. Chen and his newly assembled management team will still need to fight for big enterprise wins, and pull off a new age marketing campaign that finally settles the question for users around the world. What the hell BlackBerry, in 2014… And why should I care?