BlackBerry reported a massive $4.4 billion loss in the third quarter and a 56 percent drop in revenue in its first quarterly report under new chairman and chief executive John Chen.
Despite the results, Mr. Chen said on a conference call with analysts that BlackBerry “has a really good shot” of turning a profit in 2016 and management will try its best to achieve the goal. Mr. Chen later laughed when an analyst wished him the “best of luck.”
The former Sybase CEO is credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010. Chen said reviving BlackBerry will be his most “complicated” challenge but noted, however, that the company has $3.2 billion in cash, which will “definitely allow us to engineer our turnaround.”
BlackBerry also announced Friday that it’s entering into a five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles products in vast factories in China. Foxconn, known for its manufacturing contract work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will jointly design and manufacture most BlackBerry devices and manage inventory of the devices in an agreement that will offload much of BlackBerry’s manufacturing costs.
“I’m hoping we never have to have a conversation going forward about inventory write downs,” Mr. Chen said.
BlackBerry reported revenue of $1.2 billion, down from $2.7 billion in the same quarter last year.
Mr Chen has said the company “is very much alive” but is putting more emphasis on Blackberry’s software business than its hardware business.
“I’ll be happy to have a breakeven or a low margin device business and then have that help us to monetize software,” said
BlackBerry said it sold just 1.9 million smartphones in the quarter compared to 3.7 million in the previous quarter. Most of those were old BlackBerry 7 devices. This year’s launch of BlackBerry 10, its revamped operating system, and fancier devices the touchscreen Z10 and Q10 for keyboard loyalists was supposed to rejuvenate the brand and lure customers. But the much—delayed phones failed to turn the company around and have led to a billion dollar loss last quarter and a $1.6 billion loss in the third quarter.