National & World News

BlackBerry: $4.4 billion loss on big sales drop

Smart phones – Blackberry CurveJulianne Pepitone, NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — BlackBerry is finally saying goodbye to its terrible 2013 … with yet another awful quarterly financial report.

The struggling smartphone maker posted a whopping $4.4 billion loss during the quarter that ended in November. Excluding charges, BlackBerry lost 67 cents per share, worse than what analysts expected. And sales fell 56% over the year to $1.2 billion. That was also below consensus forecasts.

BlackBerry stock fell more than 7% in premarket trading following the results.

But there was some good news as well. BlackBerry’s cash position at the end of the quarter was $3.2 billion, up from $2.6 billion in the previous quarter.

BlackBerry also announced a five-year strategic partnership with Foxconn, the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic parts. Under the terms of the deal, Foxconn will develop and manufacture certain BlackBerry devices and manage that inventory itself.

The partnership will first focus on a smartphone for Indonesia and other emerging markets, which is set for early 2014. Foxconn is the Apple supplier that has made headlines over the past few years for myriad labor violations in China.

BlackBerry’s brutal 2013: The company kicked off the year by finally launching its long-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system in January. But its first device on the platform, the keyboardless Z10, fared poorly.

BlackBerry took a nearly $1 billion writedown on unsold Z10 phones in September, just a week after the company announced it would cut 4,500 jobs — or 40% of its workforce.

Amid all of that terrible news, BlackBerry also said in September that it would seek a buyer to take it private. But that didn’t work out either.

Just last month, BlackBerry abandoned its plans to sell the company and ousted CEO Thorsten Heins. John Chen, former CEO of software company Sybase, will serve as interim CEO and executive chairman of the board. Chen is no stranger to uphill battles: He successfully turned the once-struggling Sybase around before selling it to SAP in 2010.

But Chen faces a daunting task. Experts criticized Heins’ failure to prioritize BlackBerry’s business-focused customers. Instead, BlackBerry tried to replicate the mass consumer success of Appl and Google’ Android.

BlackBerry changed gears in September and said it would focus on corporate customers and so-called “prosumers.” It also said it would scale back its device offerings from six to four. But analysts said it was too little and too late. Chen, unsurprisingly, is more hopeful.

“I know there has been a lot said about BlackBerry, but let me remind you that at BlackBerry, we are not dwelling on the past,” Chen wrote in a company blog post a few days after his appointment. “We are looking towards the future.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s