BlackBerry Ends 2013 With a Bang
BlackBerry released its quarterly earnings today, which ended up even worse than analysts had expected. The company posted a loss of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 per share diluted, for the fiscal third quarter of 2014.
Even excluding the massive $4.6 billion in charges for the quarter, the company posted a loss of $354 million, or $0.67 pre share diluted.
The loss came as the company struggled to sell its latest Z10 device, along with its other newer smartphones. BlackBerry only managed to sell 4.3 million smartphones in the quarter, and 3.2 million of those were older BlackBerry 7 devices. That's worth pointing out considering that the company is by far selling more of its older devices than it is its new BB10 lineup. Back in September, the company had to write down about $1 billion in inventory charges for unsold Z10s.
BlackBerry's revenue for the quarter was about $1.2 billion, which is down 24% from the previous quarter and also down 56% year over year. Revenue from devices dropped in the quarter as well. In Q3 2014 the company recognized revenue on just 1.9 million smartphones, which was down from 3.7 million smartphones in the previous quarter.
Moving ahead, sort of
One of the upsides to this quarter was the announcement of a five-year partnership with Foxconn. The company will develop and manufacture new BlackBerry devices, starting with a smartphone in Indonesia and then in other "fast-growing" markets in 2014.
This news comes on the heels of the news that BlackBerry's current manufacturing partner, Jabil Circuit, is ending its relationship with the smartphone maker. JBL's CEO, Mark Mondello, said back in September, "We are faced with a strong possibility of disengaging with BlackBerry," and that it was "in discussions right now on how we're going to wind down the relationship."
So apparently BlackBerry will try keeping its manufacturing alive with the new Foxconn deal, though it seems JBL is skeptical of BlackBerry's overall outlook.
Also worth noting this quarter was BlackBerry's cash position of $3.2 billion, which is actually up from $2.6 billion sequentially. Keep in mind, though, that this increase is predominantly attributable to the $1 billion in debt that BlackBerry raised since it couldn't consummate its deal with Fairfax Financial.
Heading into 2014, there doesn't seem to be much to get excited about for BlackBerry. Investors waiting for a turnaround are placing a huge bet on a company that doesn't have a lot of long-term prospects. There may be aspects of the company that can still do well, but BlackBerry as a leader in smartphone innovations is coming up very short -- and investors who stick around any longer may end up with the same outcome.
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