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BlackBerry bounces back to profit on strong demand for BB10

by Doug Drinkwater

March 28 2013

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins only announced BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 smartphone at the end of January
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins only announced BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 smartphone at the end of January

BlackBerry is back in profit and that’s thanks to its new smartphone and mobile operating system, according to the company’s latest annual results.

The company, which rebranded from Research in Motion at the start of the year, posted a $98 million net profit for the final quarter of its financial year, a rise of $9 million from its previous quarter but a loss of $125 million against the same period one year ago.

Revenue was also down, dropping from $4.2 billion to $2.68 billion, while the number of BlackBerry handset subscribers dropped by three million to 76 million.

There was good news for BlackBerry’s BB10 smartphones, with the firm claiming to have sold six million smartphones in all during Q4.

One million of these were for the new Z10 smartphone, which runs BlackBerry 10, and analysts said that this would a good figure considering the smartphone had only reached UK retailers four weeks before BlackBerry’s financial year ended on March 2. The device didn’t even reach the U.S. until last week.

"The million devices sold is a sign that BlackBerry achieved decent if not stellar traction in the quarter for its new devices," said Ovum analyst Jan Dawson. "Given the supply constraints, late launch in the US and the decision to launch the Q10 later, this is a good start for the platform."

Sales were not quite as strong for the firm’s tablet, the PlayBook, although the approximate 370,000 units sold in the quarter would seem to indicate that there is still some demand for the 7-inch tablet.

BlackBerry’s annual report also noted that co-founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is to retire. Lazaridis is due to step down from the BlackBerry Board on May 1.

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