BlackBerry Ltd Turning, But Still A Long Way To Go

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is turning around gradually from the lows it has experienced over the past few years. John Chen became CEO at a time when the company was incurring losses and sales declines. Chen’s strategy to stop competing in the consumer market is bearing some positive results, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Chen’s efforts bearing fruits

The Canadian smartphone maker is winning in presenting itself as a provider of secure smartphone technology for the enterprise market. But while channeling major resources towards enterprise, the company is not exiting the hardware business entirely. BlackBerry is prepping to launch the Passport on Sept. 24, the production of which has been outsourced, and the target market is business users.

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The Passport will be the first new device launched after BlackBerry 10 phones proved to be a no-show in 2013. The square-screen smartphone features are impressive, and according to an official blog, the Passport will display 50% more characters on each line compared to other smartphones–a feature that could attract professionals by making documents, spreadsheets and X-rays easier to read.

Cash-flow break-even the next target for BlackBerry

Chen said last month that there will be no more layoffs and downsizing at the company, and acquisitions are not in the cards.

Chen decided to acquire two start-ups to ramp up enterprise growth, out of which one company offers a product that protects the mobile from spying, and the other allows businesses to exercise greater control over employee device costs. Chen maintained his target of achieving the cash-flow break-even by 2015 and startled analysts with a quarterly profit that pushed up shares. The smartphone maker is due to report its next earnings on Sept. 26.

On the software front, the company also seems to be a little late, as it has decided to launch new mobile device management (MDM) software by the end of this year. Some customers have already opted for the products of other companies.

BlackBerry shares soared 68% to $10.89 since Chen became CEO in November; however, they are still reeling 87% below their five-years-ago point. There is no denying that the company is losing, but analysts are confident.

Robert McWhirter, head of Toronto-based Selective Asset Management Inc., said, “That to me says, the ship’s turning, but it’s going to take a long while.”

McWhirter owned BlackBerry shares three years ago.