Today, we’re going to talk for a moment about BlackBerry. And the fact that, as of this post going live, BlackBerry shares are trading at $7.81, for a gain of more than 12 percent.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke one day early. BlackBerry’s stock price has risen 12 percent today.
You may remember BlackBerry, once the standard-bearer of the mobile-phone industry. The BlackBerry was so popular at one point that its name was synonymous with mobile phones. We all know what happened next.
BlackBerry (which used to be called Research In Motion) watched pretty much helplessly as Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running on the Android operating system eclipsed it in popularity, and in sales. Former President Barack Obama’s dedication to his BlackBerry device made him one of the last people on Earth to publicly claim to use one of the gadgets.
BlackBerry then shed its phone-making business last year by outsourcing everything device-related, such as phone designs, sales and production, to third-party companies. The purpose of the move was to focus on mobile-phone and device software.
It’s early in BlackBerry’s new life, but it appears that shifting to software is paying off. Friday’s big stock share price gain came about in the wake of BlackBerry reporting a fourth-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, of 4 cents a share on revenue of $297 million. The results topped the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who expected BlackBerry to break even on a per-share basis on $289.3 million in sales.
Software was a big driver of BlackBerry’s results, as such sales totaled $182 million. A notable sign of BlackBerry’s business improving was that 80 percent of that software revenue came from recurring deals, meaning contracts that are ongoing and not just one-time events.
BlackBerry’s report came on the heels of an announcement from Ford Motor earlier this week, which said it would hire 400 BlackBerry employees to help the automaker work on connected-car technology.
BlackBerry is also expected to see the first results of its design-outsourcing efforts later this year when new phones made by others, yet using the BlackBerry name, are scheduled to come on the market. By then, we all may learn if BlackBerry really isn’t fooling about turning its business around.
Photo: The logo of mobile-device software and technology company BlackBerry. (Courtesy BlackBerry)