BlackBerry results show progress on transition to software

Ottawa (AFP) –


BlackBerry posted better-than-expected third quarter results Tuesday, showing it is making headway in its transformation into a software and services company after abandoning in-house manufacturing of smartphones.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based firm's software revenues jumped to $160 million in the three months ended November 30, while hardware sales plummeted.

Chief Executive John Chen, meanwhile, reaffirmed an annual growth target of 30 percent for software sales.

"We firmly believe that the move to a software business model will be positive for revenue growth going forward, sustainable profitability and overall shareholder value," he told a conference call.

The company had said in September that it was getting out of the business of making smartphone handsets, which it had pioneered.

Instead, it contracted with manufacturers in China and Indonesia and is reportedly in talks with another in India make devices under its brand.

Earlier this month BlackBerry also announced it would revamp its mobile security software, and on Monday it showcased its push into driverless cars.

BlackBerry once dominated the smartphone market but its luster faded after the introduction in 2007 of the Apple iPhone and the large number of low-cost Android devices that followed.

On Tuesday, the company posted a third-quarter net loss of $117 million and revenues of $289 million, which were nearly half the amount it took in during the same period in 2015.

However, excluding exceptional one-time charges, the figures showed a small profit of two cents per share, compared to a loss of one cent per share expected by analysts.

As well the company bolstered its outlook, saying it now expects to post an adjusted profit for the full fiscal year.

As a result, its share price in New York shot up more than three percent to $8 in morning trading (1700 GMT).