BlackBerry CEO John Chen: We have an 80% chance of survival

BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who had previously said the smartphone maker had a 50/50 chance of survival, now says there is an 80/20 chance he'll 'be able to save the patient.'

John Chen increases odds from 50/50 to 80/20 that he'll be able to 'save the patient'

Speaking at the Re/code technology conference in California, BlackBerry CEO John Chen says he's confident he'll be able to save the company. (Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg News)

Call him Dr. Chen.

The BlackBerry CEO, who had previously said the smartphone maker had a 50/50 chance of survival, now says there is an 80/20 chance he'll "be able to save the patient."

Speaking yesterday at the Re/code technology conference in California, John Chen echoed his plan — albeit with bolstered confidence — that the Waterloo, Ont.-based was returning to its roots.

“I don’t really want to comment on past management decisions, but we cast our net a little too broad," Chen said to conference moderator Walt Mossberg. "At the same time, we haven’t really added value to the enterprise space.”

Chen has been working on BlackBerry's resurrection in the smartphone market ever since taking the helm in November, following several missteps that cost the company billions of dollars and led to massive layoffs.

'Committed' to handsets

Chen's latest remarks come on the heels of a troubling forecast from the International Data Corp., suggesting BlackBerry's market share is likely to shrink to just 0.3 per cent by 2018. 

But Chen said he is still committed to the handset business.

"I'll be able to create a lot of value for our shareholders even without a handset business. But I think with a handset business there's a chance to even create more," said Chen. "I have been very clear, I know a plan to make money out of the handset."

Asked by an interviewer why he's the right guy to lead a company that's in such a deep hole, Chen smirked and bluntly replied, "I'm the only one they could find. The kind stupid enough to say 'yeah.'"

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