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Are things actually looking up for BlackBerry?

Published Dec 18th, 2015 6:15PM EST
BlackBerry Q3 2016 Earnings Analysis

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I’ll admit it: Two years ago, I did not think BlackBerry would have still been in business by this time. It seems that I was wrong, however, because BlackBerry shares were up more than 10% in the wake of its third-quarter earnings report that it released on Friday. What was so good about this earnings report, you ask? Not only did BlackBerry’s sales and EPS beat the consensus estimate but it also pointed a way forward for the beleaguered smartphone pioneer.

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Here’s the truly interesting piece of information that will be welcome news for BlackBerry diehards. As Re/code points out, BlackBerry finally thinks its gotten over the hump when it comes to losing money on hardware. The company says it has sold 700,000 smartphones on the quarter, which is a truly dreadful number considering that it sold 1.9 million in the same quarter last year.

However, the average sales price of every device BlackBerry sold rose from $240 to $318, which suggests that a big chunk of its sales came from the high-end Android-based BlackBerry Priv. Additionally, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that developing Android phones is much cheaper than making phones based on BlackBerry 10 because it not longer has to do all the work when it comes to building, updating and maintaining a mobile platform.

“My first goal is to get us into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money,” Chen explained during his company’s earnings call on Friday. “We’re in that ballpark now.”

All told, this is terrific news for BlackBerry, although it does suggest the company will be making mostly Android phones in the future and few, if any, phones based on its own OS.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.