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BlackBerry loses BBM chief

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Andrew Bocking has left his position as EVP for popular BBM messaging service at BlackBerry, amid reports that the unit is to be rolled into the enterprise division at the troubled handset maker.

The move is the latest in a shift of management executives at the company and has prompted concerns over what is seen as one of the company’s most valuable assets.

Last month the management restructure continued with the appointment of Eric Johnson as president of global sales. As the fourth former SAP executive to join since John Chen took over as CEO, it looks like the handset maker is attempting to refocus on the enterprise market and the reported plan with BBM supports that.

Since his appointment in 2013, Chen has also recruited John Sims as president for global enterprise services, James Mackey as EVP for corporate development and strategic planning and Mark Wilson as senior VP of marketing, all having previously worked at SAP or Sybase.

David McQueen, principal analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, previously said there are signs that BlackBerry is now putting less focus on hardware and could end up selling off this division.

“The way forward is software and the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service,” he said. “When you look at BlackBerry’s financial performance, revenues are quite high on the hardware side of the business but the profit is coming from services, and that is where it needs to play. It does seem like this change in direction will be pushed through by the new appointments and it’s likely to be only a matter of time before it sells off the hardware business, just like Nokia has done.”

At the end of 2013, Bocking announced that BBM would be installed natively on a variety of Android smartphones in emerging markets including Africa, India, Indonesia, Latin America and the Middle East.

“It is clear that smartphone customers see BBM as a must have app for active conversations. The uptake we have seen for BBM since the launch on Android and iPhone is amazing,” said Bocking at the time.


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