BlackBerry Hemorrhages Red Ink, Looks to Foxconn for Help

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By Javier E. David

Embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry saw no rest to a weary year, as the company was forced to take a massive $4.4 billion write-down Friday on unsold inventory in its fiscal third quarter, including on the device that it hoped would lead to its salvation.

The news sent Blackberry (BBRY) stock lower by more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

In a sign that BlackBerry isn't yet prepared to give up on the consumer market, it struck a five-year partnership with Foxconn -- the Taiwan-based manufacturer that is the linchpin of Apple's (AAPL) electronics building efforts. According to BlackBerry, Foxconn will help the beleaguered company develop consumer-focused smartphones for Indonesia, as well as "other fast-growing markets" next year.

Toronto-based BlackBerry reported a net loss of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30. That compares with Wall Street expectations of a quarterly loss excluding items of 44 cents a share on $1.59 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Revenue for the quarter plunged 24 percent from the previous quarter, to $1.2 billion.

BlackBerry is in the midst of a broad reorganization to help it refocus its efforts on enterprise software and security, while helping the company to find a way to profit from the devices bearing its name. BlackBerry touted growth in its enterprise service, as well what it says were more than 40 million new Apple and Samsung smartphone users who migrated to its BlackBerry Messenger application.

"With the operational and organizational changes we have announced, BlackBerry has established a clear roadmap that will allow it to target a return to improved financial performance in the coming year," said John Chen, BlackBerry's interim CEO and executive chairman. "While our Enterprise Services, Messaging and QNX Embedded businesses are already well-positioned to compete in their markets, the most immediate challenge for the company is how to transition the devices operations to a more profitable business model."

That mission, however, may be easier said than done. BlackBerry's market share has dwindled into the single digits, and efforts to rebrand itself in the face of ferocious competition have consistently fallen short. The make-or-break launch of the BlackBerry 10 fell flat with consumers, which forced the company to take a massive write-down on the units and lay off about 4,500 people.

In November, the company jettisoned Thorsten Heins from his perch as chief executive, while simultaneously ending a buyout agreement with Fairfax Financial, opting instead for a $1 billion infusion of cash from a group of investors.

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Save Money With These 7 Smartphone Apps
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BlackBerry Hemorrhages Red Ink, Looks to Foxconn for Help
Stop texting and start saving! Yes, your smartphone can save you money – from coupons to comparing prices to making a shopping list, these seven smartphone apps are the key to making sure you don’t go over your budget. And they’re all free!

This app, available on the iPhone and Android, allows users to scan the bar code of any item in the store and the app will find the retailer or online site that sells that item for the lowest price. This way, if you’re in a store, you can show proof to the manager that another store sells the same item for less, and ask the manager to match that lower price.
Available on the iPhone, users can find coupons from tens of thousands of retailers, like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Gap, JC Penney, and Bloomingdales. When shopping online from your phone, you can drag the promotional code from the app and drop it right into the retailer’s website when you’re checking out. You can also redeem the coupons from the app in the store – no need to print anything out!

It happens to consumers: You purchase an item and the next day it goes on sale! After you make a purchase, simply take a picture of the receipt using your smartphone, the app will store it and let you know if that items goes on sale – this way you can easily head back to the store and be credited for the difference between the sale price and the amount you paid. Some stores have a window of 15-30 days to get a price adjustment. The app is available on the iPhone and Android.


Food from your local farmer’s market is generally cheaper (and healthier) than the supermarket. Using GPS, this app finds the nearest farmer’s market – it’ll even tell you what foods and produce are in season. It’s available on the iPhone and Android phones.
Gas prices are always expensive. Type in your zip code and the GasBuddy app will find the cheapest gas station in your area. Various users post the prices at each gas station throughout the country – this way, we can all save! Available on the iPhone and Android. 
Do you tend to overspend when buying gifts for friends on special occasions? This app allows user to enter in a budget for the gift – it will then suggest gifts that fit within your budget. You can even enter in your friend’s age, gender and hobbies to make sure you find the perfect gift. The app browses some 150,000 products. Available on the iPhone and Android phones.
Studies show making a shopping list (and sticking to it!) will ensure you spend less at the grocery store. This app lets users create a shopping list. To add items to the shopping list, you can scan the bar code of the item, talk to the app (using its voice activation feature) or enter it manually. Once you’ve purchased the item, you can cross it off your list, conveniently on the app! 
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