Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

BlackBerry Reports Massive $4.4 Billion Quarterly Loss, Inks a Deal With Foxconn

BlackBerry, the troubled Canadian smartphone company, just reported its quarterly results and, well, let’s just say its troubles aren’t getting any smaller.

Its loss, on a GAAP basis, came out to $4.4 billion on revenue of $1.2 billion. That works out to a per-share loss of $8.37. The loss was the result of a huge $2.7 billion charge against assets, and another $266 million restructuring charge.

After backing out those charges, the company lost $354 million, or 67 cents a share. It exited the quarter with $3.2 billion in combined cash and short-term investments. Sales fell by 56 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. It sold 4.3 million BlackBerry devices during the quarter.

BlackBerry shares fell in pre-market trading by more than five percent, to $5.94, after the news was announced. The shares have fallen by more than 47 percent this year.

John Chen, the new CEO who took over after Thorsten Heins was fired, tried to set a positive tone in a statement:

“We have accomplished a lot in the past 45 days, but still have significant work ahead of us as we target improved financial performance next year. However, the Company is financially strong, has a broad and trusted product portfolio to work with, a talented employee base and a new leadership team dedicated to implementing our new roadmap.”

The company also said it has cut a five-year strategic partnership with Foxconn, the China-based contract manufacturing giant that builds much of the world’s consumer electronics. Under the terms, Foxconn will help BlackBerry develop new phones, build them and then manage the inventory. The first target of the effort will be a phone aimed at the Indonesian market.

Chen said the deal would allow BlackBerry to “… focus on what we do best,” meaning designing devices and building the software that runs on them. BlackBerry had for years manufactured the majority of its devices at plants in Canada, Europe and Asia, and outsourced some of its production lines to third parties.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work