Mobile

BlackBerry fails to profit from BB10: Loses $84M in Q1 amid 6.8M smartphones shipped

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins shows off the Z10 and Q10 BlackBerry 10 phones.

Above: BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins shows off the Z10 and Q10 BlackBerry 10 phones.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

While it looked like BlackBerry was on the verge of a rebound last quarter, the company’s latest earnings results show that it’s still struggling to stay afloat.

BlackBerry announced this morning that it lost $84 million in the first quarter of 2013 on revenues of $3.1 billion (up 9 percent from last year). There was a glimmer of hope last quarter when it saw profits of $94 million, but whatever led to those gains didn’t help much this quarter.

This was a particularly important period for BlackBerry because it was the first time the Z10 BlackBerry 10 phone was available for the entire quarter (the keyboard-equipped Q10 was also available for part of the quarter). The company announced that it shipped 6.8 million smartphones during Q1, 2.7 million of which were BB10 devices, and 100,000 PlayBook tablets

During the company’s earnings call this morning, CEO Thorsten Heins reiterated that he was proud of BlackBerry’s ability to offer its own mobile platform. Heins didn’t offer up any specific reasons about BlackBerry’s setbacks this quarter — he just pointed out that it’s a long and difficult process to roll out a new platform — but he expressed some hope that the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10 rollout should help the company stay afloat.

Unfortunately for PlayBook owners, Heins confirmed this morning that it won’t be seeing a BlackBerry 10 upgrade. He cited “performance and user experience concerns” for the move — not surprising, since the tablet’s hardware is several years old by now. The BlackBerry faithful often pointed to the company’s previously announced BB10 support for the PlayBook as one of the reasons it wasn’t like Apple or Google.

Looking ahead, BlackBerry says it will focus on rolling out new BB10 phones, BES10, as well as marketing its platforms throughout the year. The company will also invest in bringing BlackBerry Messenger to other mobile platforms this summer. BlackBerry also noted that it will continue to pursue cost-saving measures — so more layoffs seem imminent.

BlackBerry’s stock is down 28 percent at the time of this post.


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