BlackBerry CEO: Reports of Our Phones' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Image: A man uses his Blackberry mobile device to write a text message in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 17 January 2014.
BlackBerry isn't planning to exit the phone business, according to CEO John Chen.ERIK S. LESSER / EPA

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No, BlackBerry isn't planning to exit the phone business, despite reports this week.

Reuters published a report Thursday saying BlackBerry "would consider exiting its handset business if it remains unprofitable," quoting company CEO John Chen. Several media outlets, including NBC News, picked up the story.

But Chen denied the conclusion of the report in a company blog post later on Thursday, in which he said his comments "were taken out of context."

"I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon," Chen added in the post. "I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company."

BlackBerry isn't planning to exit the phone business, according to CEO John Chen.ERIK S. LESSER / EPA

A BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on what was taken out of context in the Reuters report, but she pointed to a Bloomberg article in which Chen said: "I don’t have a plan to get rid of handsets, I have a plan to not be dependent on handsets."

A Reuters spokeswoman told NBC News via email: "We stand by our story."

Chen, who became BlackBerry CEO in November, has previously made clear his goal of reducing BlackBerry's focus on making hardware.

In December Chen inked a deal with Foxconn, the world's largest market of electronic parts (and the Apple supplier that has made headlines over the past few years for labor violations in China), to develop and manufacture certain BlackBerry devices.

Instead, Chen hopes to replace hardware revenue with sales of software in several different industries.

BlackBerry has introduced new security features for its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, and Chen has discussed plans to leverage the company's software in a range of industries including automakers and health care providers.