In the midst of news headlines flying about the future of BlackBerry Ltd.’s future ownership, the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone manufacturer has issued an open letter to its customers.

The letter reassures BlackBerry users that the firm is doing what’s needed to strengthen the platform and remains committed to its loyal customers. It assures fans that it is “restructuring with a goal to cut our expenses by 50 per cent in order to run a very efficient, customer-oriented organization.” The letter goes on to list several plus sides to the BlackBerry 10 platform and the enterprise-targeted mobile device management solution BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. See the full letter text embedded below.

Taking the unusual step of issuing an open letter to reassure customers is an interesting move for BlackBerry. You wonder if it could have the opposite of the intended effect, with users fretting that the situation must now be so bad that the company is admitting it must ask for patience from its user base. But in light of the recent news of layoffs being made, a $1 billion write-down on unsold BlackBerry 10 devices, and the possibility of the company being split apart and sold off in segments, BlackBerry must feel it has to do something to reassure users.

Recently, analyst firm Gartner issued a white paper detailing its recommendations for clients on the BlackBerry platform. Out of four possible paths forward, it suggested on course of action that included dropping BlackBerry entirely, another course that would only onboard new BlackBerry handsets as an exception, and it suggested that everyone at least have a backup plan to move to another platform within six months time.

With the firm up for sale, here are the currently reported parties at least considering acquisition of BlackBerry:

  • FairFax Financial announced Sept. 23 it was leading a group to acquire BlackBerry for USD $4.7 billion, but a new assessment from CanaccordGenuity values the firm at $1 billion less than that.
  • Cerberus Capital Management signed a non-disclosure agreement to look at BlackBerry’s books, but has not offered a deal.
  • Original co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and Centerview Partners LLC to help in possible acquisition of the firm. The two already own eight per cent of the stock.