BlackBerry posts narrow loss on $966 million revenue, improves growth outlook

Daniel Bader

June 19, 2014 7:43am

BlackBerry claimed a narrow loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, but the company is close to emerging from its darkest historical time on the back of the John Chen’s efficient leadership.

BlackBerry posted an adjusted operating loss of $60 million, or $0.11 per share, on revenue of $966 million for the quarter. Gross margins increased to 48% from 43% in the prior quarter, which was way above analysts’ expectations.

The company is downplaying its handset sales, though it did recognize revenue of 1.6 million handsets, compared to 1.3 million in the previous quarter. As with previous quarters, BlackBerry sold more devices than it recognized — 2.6 million — because channel inventory was moved in prior quarters.

John Chen’s turnaround appears to be working — investors like the results, too — as cash on hand increased $400 million to $3.1 billion at the end of Q1.

This has been a big quarter for BlackBerry, launching the all-touch Z3 handset in Indonesia; adding a store to BBM; launching Project Ion, the company’s Internet of Things push; adding EnStream as a partner for mobile payments; and yesterday, adding Amazon’s Appstore to its BlackBerry 10.3 platform.

Despite an emphasis on increased revenue from services, revenue from hardware actually increased in Q1 by 2% to 39%, while services revenue declined 2% to 54%.

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

Chen confirmed during the quarterly earnings call that a new device, the BlackBerry Passport, will be coming in September. BBM for Windows Phone will be available sometime in July, too.

The company boasts 50 million active users across its BlackBerry handsets. And despite bringing back the Bold 9900, the company is finally selling more BB10 devices than BBOS ones — 65% to 35% this quarter.

There are 160 million registered BBM users and 85 million active users.

  • yosrmite

    In reality, Chen sold buildings, laid off staff and blew a lot of smoke up investors’ arses. This will be short lived given iphone 6 is around the corner and fugly devices launching soon. Only matter of time before the final nail drives in.

    • Bill

      What a completely pointless comment

    • Anthony Roberts

      I know someone just had to come in with not only a negative comment but a stupid and pointless one….I swear no matter what this company these someone has to come bash it…..iPhone 6 who cares its just a bigger phone nothing changing from the previous one really.

    • alphs22

      You complain about people needlessly bashing Blackberry, then turn right around around and needlessly bash iPhones. Nicely done.

    • Anthony Roberts

      Ahem you make it seem like every comment I bash iphone and I point out iphones cons and pro’s if you read my comments properly then you will I talk sense and I dont use words like apple sucks or apple fan boy or stupid terms read below my comments and tell me if I didnt point out iOS faults and pro’s at the same time. These comments are what I posted in the past and whatever I say about iOS are known facts and not blackberry fan boy point of view.

      Amen…..I am not a big fan of Apple however it is true I love Android but it is very insecure as well….Every Mobile OS….BB10…WIn8…iOS…Android all has its pros and cons I am for one accept anything that comes to bring to the table that will help competition since this will promote growth and more consumer choice…

      Good one as many users should do…..iPhone while the OS is extremely smooth…fast…. and very user friendly and also their apps are extremely smooth as well….I did not know retail the iPhone 16GB is $719.00 to me that is such a ripoff, I find the iPhone to be just a glorified app launcher. The iPhone doesn’t even have standard parts hardware and software wise like…..NFC….Micro USB…DLNA….Media has to be done through iTunes….LImited Bluetooth capabilities……No expandable memory……NO built in File Manager…..No true multi-tasking…..known to have serious issues with cracked screens….Poor Battery life compared to competition….Again not a troll and not saying the iPhone isn’t a nice product but for the price and even worse 919 for a 64GB model……I just find it to be a very over hyped product but one thing I give apple is their marketing and just to show you with clever marketing anything can sell even if it isnt the best product out there. Heck the Blackberry Z30 (Which is the phone I have) Has a much better user review rating on …Bell…Rogers….and heck even verizon wireless webpage and some of them were iPhone 5 and 5s users.

      Anthony Roberts • 4 months ago

      Wow I did not realize the people who comment on BGR are so anti blackberry lol….it kills me….I love bb10 phones and I love iOS and Android for different reasons for sure…I own the Z30 truly amazing phone 2 days better life…people BB10 will be succesful more and more people I know are switching to BB10 have converted some people from iPhone 5s and Samsung S4’s and Note 3….lets be honest Android users are just a spec race but not truly bringing something innovating software wise….iOS iphone 5s is truly a smooth and very fluid OS fastest one I know (I went to the apple store and truly is a fast phone) However very flat and boring OS and very restricted and iphone has horrible battery life…..BB10 is an amazing OS and I want competition…iOS is boring and android is too fragmented (hopefully kit kat will narrow it down) but android will always fragmentation because there are way too many manufacturers using android what might work for you might not work for the other person due to the lack of optimization and different hardware all over the place…….. Samsung is a wonderful company but pushing way too many unnecessary phone specs s4 perfect example while it has an amazing screen and nice camera (software wise) the hand gesture things and eye scrolling and so on I have yet to see one person use these features as they one tell me that it kills battery life and just not practical. I hope Blackberry is successful since that will give pressure to the competition …iOS market share is declining … is gaining…windows and bb10 is slowly gaining….lets see what the next few years carry 🙂

    • alphs22

      Unfortunately I don’t really have the time to read all your posts. I commented on one specific post from you – nothing more.

    • Anthony Roberts

      That’s fine and its a lot to read but dont make a blind comment without first know where I am coming from. I love mobile technology and own all OS’s and so I know what I like and don’t like and I read a lot of user reviews and do my own reviews in and out to each their own my friend have great day 🙂

    • alphs22

      Blind comment? Lol. I replied to a comment YOU made.

      If you expect everyone to read everything you have read before replying… well nothing more to say there lol.

    • MikeOxlong

      Hypocrite much? Lol.
      Goofball blackberry fans. Someone save them.

    • Anthony Roberts

      Read my reply above and for you info I own the iPhone 5s and Samsung S4 and HTC one M8 and Z30 so when i talk about my dislikes and likes it is MY opinion and I speak facts BB10 isnt perfect trust me it has its damn bugs I hope gets fixed in 10.3 (Cough Cough) Contact app has issues…..

    • Zed

      I agree with you that he sold buildings, laid off staff. That’s part of restructuring a company that was heading head first into the ground.
      Now, why do you think the iPhone 6 will make any difference? The iPhone difference was made years ago with the iPhone 4 when kids were up for upgrades and decided to go with a more powerful phone than a Blackberry because BBM stopped being all the rage.
      And you’re talking about fugly devices, I’m assuming for BB, have you seen the ‘new’ 4.7 and 5.5″ iPhone leaks out there? While I’m doubtful a 5.5 will materialize, at least not this year, the 4.7 will most likely come like this. –THAT– is one fugly device, IMO.

    • richy

      zed you must lack intelligence. iphone outsells BB 10000000:1 lol. man you’re dumb.

    • Nexzen

      It doesn’t matter, at this point in the market cycle the iPhone is not a new threat, an existing one and blackberry has found its niche.

    • d094

      I guess they like smoke…shares up 12% pre-market this morning.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      How does that make any sense, Reported loss of nearly 1bn but gained .5bn in cash, that’s still a .5bn loss.
      or should we all be investing in companies that report massive losses every quarter consecutively?
      Hold on, let me see how my Compuserve stocks are doing…

    • d094

      I don’t know, but no one like safe stocks anymore they like fluctuations and potential. Look at twitter stock.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      See that’s the problem though, Twitter has near limitless advertising potential, coupled with global access and it’s free for all users on all platforms, there is some serious room for growth there. (Not that I would invest in it but, ya know…)
      Compared to Blackberry, a company that failed so many times they made Chrysler look like they knew what they were doing.
      They needed to compete with Apple 6 years ago but same “Nope, people like what we do, touch screens are just a phase, then we got the Storm, and as if that wasn’t bad enough we got the Storm2, then when you thought they might have learned their lessons, we got the Torch and the Curve touch. (I liked the Torch FTR) Still failing like an Anti-Champ.

      Then we got the first BB10 devices, (4.5 Years too late) and ya know Right on, they functioned… I have a z10 and an M8, I know thats not much of a comparison but my OneX was a far superior phone to the Z10, people tell me how great the Z30 is, I’m just not that interested at this point.

      Sadly not many people are, I have worked in this industry a long time, I remember when people were buying Pearls and Tours because the iPhone was too big, and was a PoS.
      Times change and although Blackberry has, it hasn’t changed enough, and from my perspective anyone that thinks they have isn’t looking at the big picture.
      I wish them nothing but luck, but I sold at 14.5 at a loss, and I don’t regret it, I can’t imagine reinvesting in someone that’s vision doesn’t align with the global market place and continues to tell potential customers that they are wrong for thinking some other tool may suit their individual needs better.

      Side-Note, Re-Releasing the 9900 is a great move for them, I just hope this incarnation has the Keyboard and Storage issues figured out, although it’s a heavily antiquated device at this point, It worked and it sold well, as long as they can re-institute BIS on it to allow for people to grab their emails through a secured SMTP as they used to it should help them out greatly.
      This is a move I never thought I would look forward to but… ya know.

    • d094

      apple has failed before and they are looking pretty good right now… you could have bought apple shares for $1 in 2003.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      Thats a good counter as well, I would say though that at the point that apple was massively failing they were making moves like Blackberry is, and at that point there was a much smaller segment of society that relied on OSX.
      The same could likely happen with Blackberry, they just need their own “Steve Jobs” and to fire their entire R&D department and start fresh.

    • MikeOxlong

      Good read. Sorry bout your luck on the stock mate. I made a small fortune shorting this pos company out, and you should have too considering your writeup.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      Yeah I held out hope for too long, glad someone made money on them though lol

    • MikeOxlong

      What were you thinking? *smack to forehead*

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      I remember exactly what I was thinking, “It can’t sink below $25, this is Blackberry here…” then $20, then $15, then SELL!!!!

    • MikeOxlong

      Well, even George Bush couldn’t be fooled again, haha. So you don’t make the same mistake either, ya’here?

    • d094

      i made nice money the other direction… bought before bb10 @ $10 and sold 14 days later at the bb10 launch date for $15

    • Skbwolf

      “Profit was $23 million, or 4 cents per share, in the three-month period ended May 31, compared with a loss of $84 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

      Stripping a one-time non-cash accounting gain and certain restructuring charges, the loss was ($60 million), or 11 cents per share”

      Trying to find this 1 billion loss you speak of from the Q1 results. Pretty sure the stock would be tanking right now if that was the case.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      Two things,
      First: I didn’t say $1bn in losses you should read before you comment.
      Second: I should do the same, or at least more thoroughly, My numbers were from a CBC article I was reading earlier that since has been edited/updated.

    • Buttocks

      You probably thought Blackberry was going to tank two years ago and made a bet with someone that they were for cash value. You should pay up Jim.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      Nope, I did however bet someone last year that they wouldn’t make it three more years., and if I’m wrong I’ll gladly pay that person, and give a proper hat tip to Blackberry.

    • Buttocks

      That person is definitely looking forward to when that day comes.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      I bet they are, I also look forward to being wrong regarding this, I don’t want to see a Canadian company fail, regardless of what I think of them.

    • Nexzen

      I think anyone with any business sense knew blackberry would survive.

    • MikeOxlong

      Physically survive, by doing exactly what they’ve done? Sure. I too, could survive if I fired everyone, moved all production (what little that really was) to China, sell all my buildings, get HUGE government tax grants and incentives, receive a couple billion in third party capital injections…

      And on and on and on.
      No problem, I say.

    • Nexzen

      They believe in the future outcome.

    • Jim – Rogers Rep

      A foole & his money,
      be soone at debate:
      which after with sorow,
      repents him to late.

      -Thomas Tusser

    • Nexzen

      The lack of any knowledge to turnaround a company astonishes me.

    • J-Ro

      You can’t argue with these people on here. They are just rooting for the death of a company. They have no idea what a Blackberry is or what they do or how they work.

    • Nexzen

      IPhone has already established its role in the market.,. Nothing blackberry isn’t expecting.

    • 5Gs

      Totally agree on a point that they are coming with bold with qwerty keyboard again. That’s when they will lose it. To be practical only people who are still stuck in stone age with their stone bb bold will buy those only if theirs is damage.

      Just when i thought bb is going up. They are not doing great. Not to mention i am using z10 and it is really a great device with great plan but shouldn’t they be moving up instead of keeping the graph straight.

  • barrist

    Nice to hear some good news for the BB

    • Syaz

      Agreed — looks like Chen is making a change, slowly but surely.

  • DL1119

    as a Canadian who doesn’t use a BB, I’m happy for the company.

  • Nexzen

    This kid lacks any business sense whatsoever… Said the real winner apple when android holds majority market share. Bb is allowing android apps onto their system so that it helps the customers who want a blackberry but at the same time the app selection from android. What is blackberry’s biggest complaint? No apps.

    • MikeOxlong

      You’re argument regarding why you buy a device belongs back in 2002, along with the clueless suits that used them back then. You know, with that awesome desktop redirector software.
      It died a long time ago.

  • Solidsignal

    “BlackBerry claimed a narrow loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2015,”
    It’s 2015 already?

    • TheFloppyBeaver

      Fiscal 2015, not calendar.

  • southerndinner

    Hard to have too many losses when you employ about ten people total


    • Anthony Roberts

      Yah the RIP BBRY has been going on since 2010….2011…2012…2013…2014….still here and moving forward

    • southerndinner

      That’s bout the trend of lack of money for them

    • Anthony Roberts

      LOL you have to admit though they are not giving up. I want though Android or iOS or BB10 to truely bring something to the table. I am tired of this spec race with android to me its just numbers on paper and doesn’t truly change the user experience. We need something for inter-connected.

  • MikeOxlong

    Ahh. So basically more of the same, but with smaller margins and numbers this time round. Got it. How’s the slow death feel today?

  • Collin dubya

    lol I can’t believe blackberry is still around, they are no longer relevant, their new phones are years behind the current ios and flagship android offerings.

    • Scotiaman1

      It is not the spec’s that are important, it is the ease of use and the way better battery life that are more important to buisness users. Android and Ios make great device’s but need to have so much higher battery specs etc just to have a fluid operating system. BlackBerry 10 can do the same without the power hungry spec’s.
      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy note 3