BlackBerry issues an open letter to quell customer fears

In the wake of job cuts and news that at least part of the company is up for sale, it tells its fans, ‘You can continue to count on us.’

The first sentence of the open letter BlackBerry published on its website and in 30 newspapers across nine countries this week doesn’t directly address its massive layoffs and huge monetary losses. Nor does it note that the company—in part or in whole—is reportedly for sale. It merely hints at those things. “You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry,” the letter states. “You’re probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day.” The letter goes on to say that BlackBerry is debt-free and has “substantial cash on hand.” “We are restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 percent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization,” the letter states. “These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges we are facing. We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.” Then comes a list of features for productivity, security, social networking and enterprise mobility. The letter closes with this reassurance: “You can continue to count on us.” The New York TimesBits blog says BlackBerry’s letter only tells part of the story. Yes, the company has ample cash on hand, but it’s running through that cash with lightning speed. It reportedly used $500 million in cash during just one quarter. Even so, the comments on BlackBerry’s Facebook post linking to the open letter do seem mostly positive. Quite a few of the comments are from customers who say they’ll be loyal to BlackBerry forever. The letter seems to have done its job, at least for the die-hards. “I feel better now because I was worried,” one commenter wrote. “I love my Z10!”

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