John Chen clearly relishes a good challenge but he may never have taken on a task as daunting as turning around BlackBerry. Barron’s spots a new research note from William Blair analyst Anil Doradla, who says that Chen’s comeback plan is the business equivalent of “quadruple bypass surgery” — in other words, it will be a highly complex procedure that’s fraught with peril. That said, Doradla thinks that Chen’s plan is well thought out enough where it just might have a chance to succeed.
“In changing the incentives for the salesforce, aligning the company around end-customer needs, focusing on its core strength of security, and de-emphasizing its hardware business, Mr. Chen announced dramatic changes and came across as a skillful doctor conducting a complex bypass surgery on a very sick patient,” he writes. “Unlike previous BlackBerry management’s presentations, this was the first time, in a very long time, where the company’s leadership vision resonated well with us and we came away incrementally positive on the direction Mr. Chen has set out for the company.”
Chen’s so-called “frank talk” about the state of BlackBerry has generally been a hit with analysts so far, who for years watched BlackBerry management make completely delusional statements about the challenges facing the company such as Thorsten Heins’ hallucinatory 2012 declaration that “there’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.”