Nearly overshadowing the news coming out of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is Facebook’s blockbuster purchase of WhatsApp for a jaw-dropping $19 billion. In an interview with CNBC, it looks like BlackBerry CEO John Chen also marveled at that price.
Chen admitted that, if someone were to offer him the same amount for his company’s popular BlackBerry Messenger service, he’d be more than happy to sell it, all the while recommending “the board to take it.” With BBM no longer the messaging juggernaut in a world with WhatsApp and iMessage, it would be hard for Chen to look at $19 billion and say that BBM is worth more than that.
However, in the same interview, Chen mentioned that he is more concerned about increasing its user base as much as possible. Only then will BlackBerry “worry about the evaluation.”
What helps garner that desired user base is BBM’s well-known secure infrastructure. “It’s important that we showcase and use that as a differentiator into the thousands and thousands of enterprise customers,” said Chen in an interview with Bloomberg Television. With BlackBerry tying BBM to its enterprise efforts, it makes sense for Chen to emphasize its infrastructure while attaching value to it.
If you have $19 billion lying around, by all means, have at it! We can pool in all of our cash and make a bid.