BlackBerry Still Turning Around, Executives Say. How Long Will It Take?

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BlackBerry says it is still in the middle of a turnaround.

It’s something CEO John Chen has been talking about for a couple of years now. And while at times he has been poised and BlackBerry did seem to be, well, turning around, ultimately the company doesn’t look much different from two years ago.

“We are in the midst of a significant turnaround at BlackBerry,” chief operating officer Marty Beard insisted at the GoodExchange Cyber Security Summit 2015 in London, as BlackBerry considers abandoning its handset business altogether.

BlackBerry has more than $3 billion in cash, but is otherwise on poor financial footing, struggling to profit from smartphones, which for decades have been the company’s bread and butter.

“We feel like we have every right to own the mobile and mobile security space. Just as people identify the Nike brand with fitness, we want people to identify our brand with mobile security and privacy,” Beard said.

BlackBerry’s $400-million acquisition of mobile security platform supplier Good Technology in September was a significant move, and persistent layoffs—much to the lament of workers—have helped the company keep costs low and lean out and it accepts a new role.

Software represents around 20% of BlackBerry’s business right now, according to Beard, but the company hopes to double that figure in the coming years. This will be aided by the growth of the Internet of Things market, in which BlackBerry already has a hand thanks to its QNX technology in 60 million cars.

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