Tuesday, April 20, 2021

BlackBerry Is Back in the Black

Surprising many, BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM) announced that it had earned a profit of 22 cents per share for its most recent fiscal quarter. During the period, the company shipped a million of its brand new Z10 smartphones, which boosted its bottom line.

Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller reported, “BlackBerry (BBRY), which is attempting a comeback with a new lineup of smartphones, reported a surprise profit in the fourth quarter after embarking on a cost-cutting program last year, even as sales continued to trail projections. Excluding some costs, profit was 22 cents in the period, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a statement. That compared with an average estimate for a loss of 30 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company said it expects to ‘approach break-even financial results’ this quarter as well, defying predictions for another loss.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Will Connors and Judy Mckinnon added, “The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it shipped 6 million smartphones during the quarter, including about one million BlackBerry Z10 units, which came in above estimates. The Z10 was only available for about a month in the quarter in smaller markets like Canada the U.K., and was released in the U.S. after the quarter ended.”

InformationWeek’s Eric Zeman noted, “The company lost subscribers overall for the second quarter in a row. It shed about 3 million users, and now claims to have about 76 million BlackBerry customers still on board. During its call with reporters Thursday morning, BlackBerry said the bulk of its customer losses could be attributed to prepaid subscribers switching away from BlackBerry. The company said its enterprise customer base has changed very little.”

CNET’s Roger Cheng observed, “More than half of the customers snapping up a Z10 — 55 percent — are coming from a different platform, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said during a conference call today. Heins wouldn’t go into detail about the breakdown of where these customers were coming from, but it’s an encouraging sign that the Z10 was enticing enough that people were willing to switch over to the new device. It’s one sign of progress for a company badly in need of a home run.”

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