• Notes from fireside chat with John Chen at Waterloo Innovation Summit 2015

    As we reported, John Chen was a guest speaker in a “fireside” chat with Cary Burch from Thomson Reuters on September 17 at the Waterloo Innovation Summit 2015. Notes from the summit have been released and there is a bit interesting information.

    Security and Privacy

    Security is always the top priority at BlackBerry. Everything BlackBerry does is with a focus on security and privacy. Chen reaffirmed this during his fireside chat telling the audience “our focus is very narrow — secure communications” and that “Security is important to enterprise; privacy is important to the individual.”

    He discussed how “Microsoft subsequently bought” the Nokia smartphone division after an incident in which the German chancellor Angela Merkel had discovered through the Snowden leaks that her Nokia smartphone was being eavesdropped by the U.S. National Security Agency and that “when you buy a Windows phone, you might as well buy a microphone.” The German chancellor subsequently discontinued the use of the Nokia device, instead opting for a BlackBerry.

    Patent Portfolios

    In discussing patents Chen revealed that BlackBerry has “about 44,000 patents. The good thing about this is that we also have one of the youngest patent portfolios in the entire industry, so monetization of our patents is an important aspect of our turnaround.”

    In discussing on how to protect their intellectual properties Chen stated that "If you go too far and become too aggressive, you become a (patent) troll," but "If you want to go about monetizing your patents in a non-aggressive, legal way then it takes time, and in a turnaround time is one of the key commodities you don't have, so balancing those two is very difficult."

    BlackBerry - The Company

    John Chen does not believe that BlackBerry is going anywhere and stated that “We’re not going to go away as a company. I think the hardest thing is patience. . . . We don’t let the market or the competition dictate the pace. Good things take time. In a public company format, time is something you may not be able to afford.”

    BlackBerry will continue to innovate, "the fact that a company is financially not doing that well, or that its market share is not doing that well, doesn't mean it can't innovate” Chen states.
    In discussing company morale Chen states that “I want the employees (of BlackBerry) to feel very proud, want them to feel wanted. I’m trying to recapture that team spirit. We’re still in the forming stage, but I’m trying to recapture it.”

    Below are a few short video clips from the Summit.

    John Chen on the BlackBerry’s presence in Waterloo


    John Chen on BlackBerry’s main focus


    John Chen on dropping handsets


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