BlackBerry reported a surprise profit in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2015 due to cost cuts but sales of its handsets continue to plunge, dragging down the overall results. The company halted trading on its stock along with the release of the earnings report, which left Wall Street expecting big news.
Unfortunately BlackBerry failed to deliver on the promise of big news—just as it did on sales.
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BlackBerry announces China Mobile deal
This morning’s “big news” appears to be a deal with China Mobile. The world’s biggest mobile carrier is going to start offering BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 (BES12) to its enterprise customers. This will bring Enhanced SIM-Based Licensing to those customers, who can then receive BES12 integrated into their monthly wireless bill and bundled in with the other services they purchase from China Mobile.
The ESBL product will support Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone. Enterprise customers can also purchase bring-your-own-devices licenses if they offer BYOD programs to their employees.
BlackBerry’s sales disappoint
BlackBerry stock is all over the place this morning, with shares edging upward initially after the earnings announcement but then plunging when trading resumed. As of this writing, the stock was up 3.33% to $9.61 per share but fluctuating meaningfully up and down.
Investors may have been disappointed that the news wasn’t something bigger like the sale of the company’s devices division. Analysts from multiple firms have been clamoring for BlackBerry to dump it for some time. Indeed, the February quarter’s disappointing sales provide further argument for getting rid of that money pit as soon as possible.
BlackBerry failing to shift to software
BlackBerry reported profits of 4 cents per share, compared to expectations of a loss of 4 cents per share. Sales came up short of expectations, however, at $660 million, compared to expectations of $792 million in revenue and last year’s fourth quarter revenue of $976 million.
CEO John Chen has said their turnaround strategy involves transitioning into a company that’s primarily focused on software, but in the February quarter, software revenue made up only 10% of total revenue. Analysts wanted to see traction in software, but it doesn’t seem like much progress was made during the quarter. Meanwhile sales of the company’s BlackBerry devices continued to decline.