BlackBerry Posts Profit Amid Recovery Hopes

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

No more red ink as the latest results from BlackBerry show turnaround is starting to pay off

The steady hand of CEO John Chen at the tiller of BlackBerry seems to be sailing the smartphone maker out of stormy waters.

BlackBerry’s financial figures reveals that the cost-cutting exercise at the company is starting to pay off.

Improving Fortunes?

For the first quarter ending 31 May, BlackBerry is back into the black after it posted a modest net profit of $23m (£13m), a great turnaround compared to the $84m (£49m) net loss it posted in the same quarter last year.

john chen blackberry leadOverall revenues were still down, with sales plummeting 69 percent to $966m (£566m) from $3.07bn (£1.8bn) a year earlier. But still, a profit is a profit and shares closed up 9.6 percent on Wall Street.

John Chen stepped in as CEO seven months ago, and has worked hard to cut costs (including painful job cuts) as the Canadian company seeks to stabilise its mobile handset business, which had been in freefall of late. Instead, Chen is seeking to make more money from BlackBerry services and software.

Emerging Markets

The newly launched BlackBerry Z3 has reportedly sold well in Indonesia, underlying the importance of the emerging markets to BlackBerry’s cause. For example, BlackBerry is the second most popular mobile phone manufacturer in South Africa with 23 percent of the market, with many users valuing low-cost data packages and free messaging through BBM.

“Our performance in fiscal Q1 demonstrates that we are firmly on track to achieve important milestones, including our financial objectives and delivering a strong product portfolio,” said Chen, in a statement.

“Over the past six months, we have focused on improving efficiency in all aspects of our operations to drive cost reductions and margin improvement,” he said. “Looking forward, we are focusing on our growth plan to enable our return to profitability.”

Last month, BlackBerry launched its ‘Project Ion‘, which is focused on the “Internet of Things” segment where the company hopes to make its mark in the future.

Will things improve for BlackBerry in 2014? Try our BlackBerry quiz!