blackberry in postBlackBerry CEO John Chen has rushed online to assure owners of the company’s smart phones that it has no short term plans to get out of the handset manufacturing business.

“I want to assure you that I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.‎ I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable.”

This follows a news article that says he’d get out of making handsets if it wasn’t profitable, to which John Chen says the quote was out of context.

“If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” John Chen told Reuters. He explained that while he had no particular plans to discontinue making smart phones, it could be an option.

“I don’t have a plan to get rid of handsets. I have a plan to not be dependent on handsets. All I need to do is replace the handset revenue, and this company will be very different.”

The article said Chen would make his decision in an unspecified but “short” time frame.

Chen took over as CEO from Thorsten Heins, in November last year, with a mandate to turn the company which had long been struggling against rivals Apple, Google and Samsung around. This is Chen’s strongest statement yet on a potential future in which Blackberry doesn’t make devices, and it’s a major departure from the previous Blackberry CEOs who refused to give up on that business.

“Maybe the prior management had the luxury to bet the world would come to it. I don’t have that luxury at all. I’m losing money and burning cash. I’m not running the company for sale. I’m running the company to generate value to grow the business.”

Contrast to Heins who remained committed to Blackberry as a phone maker despite the huge quarterly losses and disappointing phone sales, Chen has been quick to reduce Blackberry’s focus on making hardware. In December, Chen inked a deal with the world’s largest market of electronic parts, Foxconn, to develop and manufacture certain Blackberry devices.

Chen did announce new Blackberry smart phones in February, but he also stressed that Blackberry will focus on shoring up its software offerings in an effort to cut more deals and partnerships in several industries. For instance, Blackberry has introduced new security features for its Blackberry Messenger (BBM) service, and Chen has discussed plans to license the company’s software in a range of industries including automakers and health care providers.

However, in a blog, he said an interview by the Reuters news agency quoting him as saying he’d consider selling the devices business “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.‎ I know you still love your BlackBerry devices. I love them too and I know they created the foundation of this company. Our focus today is on finding a way to make this business profitable.”

“BlackBerry is not a handset-only company. We offer an end-to-end solution and devices are an important part of that equation. That’s why we’re complementing our Devices business with other revenue streams from enterprise services and software, to messaging. We’re also investing in emerging solutions such as Machine to Machine technologies that will help to power the backbone of the Internet of Things.”

“We will do everything in our power to continue to rebuild this business and deliver devices with the iconic keyboard and other features that you have come to expect from this brand.‎”

“Rest assured, we continue to fight. We have not given up and we are not leaving the Devices business.”