Friday, June 20, 2014

BlackBerry beats expectations with $23M Q1 profit

While it's still too early to brand John Chen the turnaround king, the chief executive of BlackBerry showed Thursday that he's making headway at the struggling smartphone maker.

The company delivered a surprise to investors with a US$23-million profit for the first quarter of its 2015 financial year compared with a loss a year ago, though Chen said it doesn't mean BlackBerry's survival is entirely certain yet.

"If we do well in the next quarter or two, then I'm very hopeful," he said after the company's annual meeting.

Chen stood before shareholders for the first time since taking over the helm last year and assured them the company has plenty of ideas he believes will ensure its survival as he showed off BlackBerry's first phablet.

The BlackBerry Passport, which meets somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet in size, is scheduled to launch first in Europe this September, he said.
Chen added that products and services designed to meet the needs of the business and government sector are in development, as well as a slate of phones.

A cloud-based service from its QNX division, which develops technology for automobiles, is also part of a plan for the company to dive into the "Internet of Things," a buzzy phrase used to describe technology that connects objects to wireless networks.

"This is going to be a huge trend in five years and we're going to build up to it," Chen said.
"Everything BlackBerry does is about security -- we will not lose that fight."

He also outlined his predictions that BlackBerry Messenger will start to generate revenue in the 2016 financial year.

Chen was hired last year to reshape BlackBerry, cut costs and lead an effort to find a better footing in the highly competitive tech sector. Before he took the job, he helped turn software company Sybase into a profitable operation focused on mobile business technology.

BlackBerry is now dedicating more resources to serving business and government customers after a failed attempt to compete with Apple's iPhone and the various smartphones on the Android operating system in the consumer market.

Canadian Press

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