Don’t look now, but BlackBerry’s latest financials and outlook for its new handset are reminding me of that quote from Game of Thrones: “What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.”
On Friday, BlackBerry reported a quarterly loss of $207 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s far better than the $965 million loss in the same quarter last year. The company didn’t burn though much of its cash pile, either: It still has $3.1 billion in the bank after cash flow decreased by just $36 million.
Revenues were lower than expected, however, coming in at $916 million, or 42 percent lower than the year ago period. Hardware sales continue to slow as [company]BlackBerry[/company] sold just 2.4 million handsets in its second fiscal quarter — around 200,000 fewer units than in the first quarter. That business unit could be reversing its fortune soon, however.
BlackBerry launched its new Passport phone earlier this week, starting at $599 off-contract. And there appears to be some interest in a phone with a square 4.5-inch screen, says CNET: BlackBerry CEO John Chen says 200,000 people have pre-ordered the phone already. That’s a positive sign, and Chen says the company can be profitable if can sell just 10 million phones a year (the same number that Apple sold just last weekend alone).
It looks like BlackBerry is down but not out. At least not yet. My concern is that even the Passport won’t sell in big enough numbers to bring profitability back to BlackBerry. The BYOD, or bring your own device, movement is too entrenched in many businesses and people are happy to use their own iPhones or Android devices — along with the many apps and services for them — instead of carrying a BlackBerry for productivity and another phone for other uses.