Mobile

Progress for BlackBerry: It loses less in Q4 than expected, 3 new ‘high-end’ phones coming

The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone at the BB10 launch.

Above: The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone at the BB10 launch.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

BlackBerry lost $42 million last quarter on revenues of $976 million — but this was actually a good outcome for the beleaguered company.

Analysts estimated that BlackBerry would lose around 56 cents per share on revenues over $1 billion, but the company only ended up losing 8 cents per share. When you’ve lost a few limbs, anything that stops the bleeding is good news.

The big reason BlackBerry’s losses were lower than expected? It seems the company has managed to cut its expenses significantly, as previously promised. Last September, the company announced it would be shifting away from the consumer market and laying off 4,500 workers. It’s likely seeing some of the results of that more streamlined operations now.

The big worry now, though, is how quickly the company is using up its cash reserves. BlackBerry ended the quarter with $2.7 billion in cash, down from $3.2 billion in the third quarter. And without a series of tax refunds, it would have lost even more cash.

The company will release three new “high-end” smartphones for fans of its mobile keyboards within the next 18 months, John Chen, BlackBerry’s new CEO, announced during an earnings call this morning. Now that it’s focusing on enterprise customers more than mainstream consumers, it makes sense for BlackBerry to bet on its traditional keyboard. Indeed, the company is going so far as to restart production for its Bold 9900 phone, a device it first released in 2011 but that remains popular.

BlackBerry sold 3.4 million phones during the fourth quarter, but once again OS 7 was on top, accounting for 2.3 million of those sales. All of the effort BlackBerry spent on building its modern BB10 platform continues to seem like a waste. The company only made money from 1.3 million of those devices, as the rest were sold in previous quarters.

“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,” Chen said in a statement. “BlackBerry is on sounder financial footing today with a path to returning to growth and profitability.”

More information:

A global leader in mobile communications, BlackBerry® revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushi... read more »

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