Is the ‘CrackBerry’ making a comeback?
NEW YORK — BlackBerry’s sales plunged more than 40 percent in its most recent quarter. And the company reported another loss. But investors ignored that bad news and focused on more hopeful signs instead.
The Canadian smartphone maker said Friday its cash level rose slightly from its last quarter to $3.1 billion.
That’s very encouraging news considering that many investors have been worried about whether or not the company would run out of money at some point in the next few years.
And even though BlackBerry reported red ink again, the loss was smaller than what Wall Street analysts expected. The company also said that it shipped 2.4 million phones in the quarter. That was also a pleasant surprise to analysts.
Shares of BlackBerry rose more than 2 percent in volatile premarket trading. The stock was pummeled Thursday along with the rest of the tech sector.
The financial results cap a busy week for the company. BlackBerry just released the new square-shaped Passport phone on Wednesday.
The Passport is being viewed by some as BlackBerry’s last chance to remain relevant in the mobile device market.
The company has lost millions of subscribers during the past few years as It struggled to keep up with Apple and companies such as Samsung and LG that sell phones and tablets running on Google’s Android. Microsoft has also emerged as a tougher competitor.
BlackBerry’s core market of corporate customers and governments has been aggressively targeted by Apple, which announced a partnership with IBM earlier this year. Big Blue will sell customized iPhones and iPads to businesses.
But under new CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has taken steps to focus more on software. It has ambitious plans to be a big player in the connected devices market, the so-called Internet of Things.
The company’s QNX software is already used by several automotive makers to power mapping, entertainment and communication technology in cars.
Investors have applauded Chen’s turnaround efforts. The stock has surged more than 30 percent this year.
BlackBerry also got a boost after Facebook bought messaging service WhatsApp this year for nearly $20 billion.
The purchase reminded many investors and consumers that Blackberry’s own BBM Messenger platform could be a valuable asset.
BlackBerry has even conceded that many of its customers are no longer addicted to a device that they used to refer to fondly as their CrackBerry.
The company recently bought a startup that allows people to set up separate billing for personal and business uses on their smartphone — and it works for Android and Apple’s iOS as well as BlackBerry.
Still, BlackBerry isn’t completely giving up on the hardware market. It continues to tout its stellar reputation for security.
After several celebrities had nude photos published online because their Apple iCloud accounts were hacked, several BlackBerry fans gleefully pointed out on Twitter that Jennifer Lawrence and others would not have had this problem if they had BlackBerries instead of iPhones.