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BlackBerry’s Last Gasp

Failing smartphone maker BlackBerry just changed its business after announcing a $4 billion loss.

BlackBerry’s Last Gasp
[Image: Flickr user Closari]

BlackBerry just reported its third quarter results: It managed to make $1.2 billion in revenues, down from $1.6 billion in the previous quarter. But, due to continuing operations, it converted those revenues into an operating loss of $4.4 billion. Yup. Billion.

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Even compared to the previous quarter’s $965 million loss, this is an astonishing collapse in the fundamental workings of the company. The clues come from the sales figures: Most of the sales BlackBerry managed were for BlackBerry 7 devices, not its newer BB10 systems, and these devices are looking incredibly outdated in the modern touchscreen smartphone era dominated by Apple and Google.

Now, it’s fair to point out that a huge chunk of the company’s loss comes from accounting maneuvers, like a “pre-tax charge against long lived assets” that ate about $2.7 billion from the company’s coffers. But the core point is that BlackBerry’s business simply cannot sustain itself.

The company has been making moves to reduce its costs like firing staff, and it also just announced a five-year deal with Foxconn, better known as Apple’s key manufacturing partner, which will make future BB10 handsets while BlackBerry concentrates on design and also its software–the one bit of the company that still has a pulse.

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