This, however, didn't stop BlackBerry from firing Richard Piasentin, who served as the company's vice president of sales. Investors learned Wednesday morning that Piasentin was the first of possibly many more casualties of the poor traction seen in BlackBerry's new BB10 devices. Interestingly, BlackBerry wasted no time throwing one of its key executives under the bus while simultaneously pleading to investors for more time.
Piasentin is one of several more midlevel managers that the company plans to axe as part of the company's continued restructuring efforts, which so far seen as much as 5,000 layoffs over the past fiscal year. This would indicate, however, that "phase one" is not yet over. And there is some overlap with "phase two." Investors have to wonder whether the company's turnaround plans are indeed on track as management claims.
At the shareholder meeting, management also used terms like "build and invest in the future" and talked about focusing on "vertical specific opportunities." These were certainly interesting choices of words. Aside from the fact that management stopped short of offering any sort of detail regarding these ideals, I can't ignore that there is nothing in BlackBerry's DNA that suggests that this company is able to execute to produce shareholder value.
What also stood out during the meeting was that Heins said: "While many will judge our short-term success on unit sales in a single quarter, we are not a device-only company. Creating value for shareholders does not involve being everything to everyone."Admittedly, suggesting that "We are not a device-only company" was the statement that caught my attention. This is while offering a glimpse into "phase three," suggesting that the company will be a type of mobile integrator -- offering secure mobile computing platform for a variety of endpoints. Again, Heins didn't go into much detail. But it implies a new focus -- reminiscent of when Apple's CEO Tim Cook suggested that Apple was a software company. Since Cook's statement, Apple rededicated itself to services -- launching iTunes Radio, a redesigned iOS 7 and launching Siri in automobile dashboards. If BlackBerry is able to offset its hardware weakness by focusing on services, then the company has a chance. This could be viewed as subjective interpretation, but it certainly seems as if BlackBerry has finally shunned its former stance of "we know best." While it's still frustrating to see the company's self-inflicted wounds, management nonetheless seems more willing to make adjustments and explore new ideas. In that regard, Heins does deserve more time. But it's running out.