March 28 - The ailing smartphone pioneer sharply cut its massive loss, but revenue plunged. It plans to introduce keyboard-centric phones to revive sales. Fred Katayama reports.
Massive cost cutting at BlackBerry helped the ailing smartphone pioneer sharply shrink its quarterly loss. Under CEO John Chen, the company has sold real estate, laid off workers, and outsourced phone manufacturing. He says he's one quarter ahead of schedule from hitting his cost cutting targets. And he expects the company to break even by the end of next year. Cowen analyst Timothy Arcuri said, "The ability to meaningfully narrow BlackBerry's losses via cost management while shoring up cash flow for more of the daunting parts of the strategic transition that lie ahead should resonate with investors." Investors sent the stock sharply higher at the market open. But it's trading at a tiny fraction of its peak six years ago. Phone sales are falling, including that of the device it bet its future on - BlackBerry 10. And that chopped revenue by more than half. The company is also bleeding cash. Chen is trying to steer the company away from a dependence on hardware over to services and pull in more of its traditional government and corporate clients. To that end, Chen says BlackBerry will introduce high-end smartphones that cater to fans of its keyboard.