Blackberry news never seems to be good these days. CEOs being fired, executives leaving, and a buyout that never was. The canadian company just can’t seem to catch a break. Though there is a slim silver lining to this dark cloud, the news that Blackberry lost $4.4 billion in Q3 2013 — or 56% of their revenue — is one that is tough to ignore.
They are also announcing they’re partnering with Foxconn, noted manufacturer to the stars. The overseas firm currently handles the manufacturing for Apple, among others, and provides a low-cost alternative for Blackberry. From that, we can glean that Blackberry — wisely or not — has no intentions of leaving the handset market. CEO John Chen said of the partnership “…the most immediate challenge for the Company is how to transition the Devices operations to a more profitable business model.”
From the earnings report, two things stand out. First, they are noting two factors under “Q3 highlights”. Their revamped corporate structure — whether that’s a willing change or not — is said to be more efficient, and focussed on Devices. They’re also touting that their structure is changing. “Enterprise Services, Messaging, QNX Embedded business and the Devices business” is the new order of the day at Blackberry.
Blackberry Messenger, through a sloppy rollout, did end up with 40 million downloads. Many found the service nice, but not a true contender to the likes of WhatsApp, Snapchat, or Hangouts. Surprisingly, that uptick in users was accomplished in two months’ time on the back of an iOS/Android dual launch. What we’re not hearing about is how many daily users the service has.
They are working on having the messaging service preloaded onto devices, though, which could help with that metric. We’re still not sure that Blackberry is on the right path, and they are starting to look a lot like a software company that outsources device manufacturing for reasons unknown. Their BB10 OS failed to impress, and they’ve said that making Android devices is not in their interest, so we’re left wondering why they need devices — unless Microsoft has a new friend they’re not telling us about.