BlackBerry-using businesses have taken one of two paths: either sourcing old BB7 handsets to keep their existing users happy, or abandoning BlackBerry altogether.
Chen has an answer to both. For consumers, BlackBerry will try to somehow make money from the millions of people who have downloaded the BBM messaging software and installed it on iPhones and Android smartphones.
“Revenues might come from a per-user per-month model, or rolling out advertising,” he said on Friday. “We’re a long way from knowing how to do it.”
For businesses, he will offer “mobile device management” software that will be able to control not just BlackBerrys, but also iPhones and Android phones.
However, there are plenty of rivals there, and it’s not a big business — worth only about US$560 million this year globally for all vendors, and growing at 12 percent annually, according to ABI Research.
Even if a reshaped BlackBerry captures more than half of that, it would still look tiny compared to what it was.