BlackBerry Posts Surprise Quarterly Profit, Ships One Million Z10s

Published on March 28, 2013
by John Paczkowski

RIM_I_Want_To_BelieveBlackBerry’s fourth quarter was the first round of a fight the company can’t afford to lose. And as brutal as the battle might be, the struggling smartphone pioneer appears to be holding its own.

Posting Q4 financials before the bell on Thursday, BlackBerry reported earnings of 22 cents per share on revenue of $2.7 billion. The first number surpassed Wall Street estimates, the second did not. Analysts had expected BlackBerry to post a loss of 29 cents per share on revenue of $2.8 billion, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters.

This is the second quarter in a row that BlackBerry has posted a profit after a string of dismal losses.

BlackBerry said it shipped six million smartphones during the quarter, including about one million BlackBerry 10 devices. So overall shipments were a bit lower than the 6.5 million analysts had been expecting, but the one million BB10 handsets were right on target. Less encouraging was the news that BlackBerry lost three million subscribers over the quarter. It began the quarter with 79 million and ended it with 76 million.

The company sold just 370,000 PlayBook tablets during the quarter. Clearly, amateur hour is not yet over.

BlackBerry ended the quarter with cash and equivalents of $2.9 billion. That was unchanged from the previous quarter. Good news, as the company plans to spend several hundreds of millions of dollars marketing its new BlackBerry 10 devices.

BlackBerry shares are up about 8 percent in pre-market trading.

As part of its earnings announcement, BlackBerry said that company co-founder Mike Lazaridis is retiring as director and vice chair of the board on May 1. “With the launch of BlackBerry 10, I believe I have fulfilled my commitment to the Board,” Lazaridis said. “Thorsten and his team did an excellent job in completing BlackBerry 10. We have a great deal of which to be proud. I believe I am leaving the company in good hands. I remain a huge fan of BlackBerry and, of course, wish the company and its people well.”

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