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Friday, March 28, 2014
BlackBerry Posts Loss But CEO Remains Optimistic


Canadian BlackBerry reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday, a result that should be attributed to the company's refom efforts, despite the sliding smartphone sales.

The company said its net loss was $423 million for the fourth quarter ended March 1. That compared with a year-earlier profit of $98 million.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 was approximately $976 million, down $217 million or 18% from approximately $1.2 billion in the previous quarter and down 64% from $2.7 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2013.

The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 37% for hardware, 56% for services and 7% for software and other revenue.

During the fourth quarter, Blackberry recognized hardware revenue on approximately 1.3 million BlackBerry smartphones compared to approximately 1.9 million BlackBerry smartphones in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter, approximately 3.4 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold through to Blackberry's end customers. Of the BlackBerry smartphones sold through to end customers in the fourth quarter, approximately 2.3 million were BlackBerry 7 devices, indicating that traction around its new line of BlackBerry 10 phones remains weak.

"I am very pleased with our progress and execution in fiscal Q4 against the strategy we laid out three months ago. We have significantly streamlined operations, allowing us to reach our expense reduction target one quarter ahead of schedule," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry. " BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability."

Blackberry anticipates maintaining its cash position and continuing to look for opportunities to streamline operations. The company is targeting break even cash flow results by the end of fiscal 2015.

BlackBerry devices have lost ground to Apples iPhone and smartphones powered by Android operating system. The company is focusing on its services arm, which secures mobile devices on internal networks of big clients.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is also putting the emphasis back on its once hugely successful keyboard devices. BlackBerry is currently designing three new keyboard-centric devices and would probably introduce them in the next 18 months.

Last month, at the annual Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona, BlackBerry unveiled the Q20 smartphone,which has a keyboard that boasts a return of the command keys that include 'Menu,' 'Back,' 'Send' and 'End' buttons, along with a trackpad. The device, dubbed the Q20, will hit store shelves before the end of 2014.

BlackBerry may be also bring its popular BlackBerry Messenger service, known as BBM, from mobile devices onto desktop computers. BlackBerry will also make BBM available on Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X platforms. The messaging tool is already available to users of iPhones and Android devices.

BlackBerry announced last December that it's entering into a five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles products in vast factories in China. The two companies will jointly design and manufacture most BlackBerry devices and manage inventory of the devices in an agreement that will offload much of BlackBerry's manufacturing costs.

The company is also trying to highlight its embedded QNX software systems, which are used in-vehicle infotainment systems and industrial machines.




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