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Back in BlackBerry: Scrappy mobile underdog posts surprise profit

BlackBerry Q4 2015 Earnings

When John Chen took over as CEO, BlackBerry was hemorrhaging cash and in a major downward spiral. Over the past year-plus, however, Chen has helped the company get its financial act together and on Friday BlackBerry posted a surprise profit of $0.04 per share, or $0.08 more than the consensus estimate of a $0.04 loss.

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“Our focus this past year was on getting our financial house in order while creating a multi-year growth strategy and investing in our product portfolio,” Chen said on Friday in a prepared statement. “We now have a very good handle on our margins, and our product roadmaps have been well received.”

If there’s one downside to BlackBerry’s earnings, it’s that its mobile device sales remain very low. On the quarter, the company recognized revenue on 1.3 million BlackBerry phone sales, with 1.6 million devices sold to customers. This is unchanged from a year ago when the company also recognized revenue on 1.3 million BlackBerry phones, although back then BlackBerry also said it sold 3.4 million phones to customers.

Just because BlackBerry phones remain a tiny niche market, however, doesn’t mean the company is in trouble. Chen has made aggressive moves to lessen the reliance on hardware sales for the company’s profits and to focus the company’s efforts more on enterprise security software for mobile devices.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.