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back to article BlackBerry results not as bad as they possibly could have been

Year-end financial results from BlackBerry appear to show a company stemming the losses and slowly gaining ground, but with a very long climb ahead and no proof it's going to make it. Revenue for the year ending March 2 was $11.1bn, resulting in a loss of $646m, which is grim compared to last years' profit of $1.1bn - but wasn't …

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FAIL

Z10

Those things are so damned expensive they'd only have to sell a few to turn profitability around.

I mean £500 for a Blackberry that doesn't even come with encryption as standard anymore.

That's crazy.

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Stop

Re: Z10

That's approximately the unsubsidised cost of most high end smart phones, what were you expecting?

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Meh

not as bad as they could have been

That's like saying the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagazaki was not as bad as it could have been ( because of the hills ).

That doesn't mean that it's not bad!

Statistically, shops in the US have stocks of the Z10 simply because no one wants them. By the way has anyone here actually bought one yet and been too embarrassed to tell anyone about it?

No one I know has them and I know a lot of people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Z10

"but we're told that a million of them are in punters' hands"

Erm no. We are not. We are told that they SHIPPED 1 million into the channel - a lot of which are still unsold.

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Re: Z10

£280 max.

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Re: not as bad as they could have been

My daughter, who has been using a Blackberry Torch for some years, wanted to upgrade to the Z10 (in fact the Torch expired a few months early, it got a hell of a hammering). I did a bit of reading about BBOS 10, a bit of looking around and in the end decided that buying one on an upgrade contract deal was cheaper than buying SIM free and then continuing the existing rolling contract. She has now had it for a little over 2 weeks and you would have to pry it from her cold dead hands, she thinks it is wonderful and many of her friends are seriously impressed with it too. Many of them have a mix of older Blackberries, iPhones and Android-based phones.

I've played with it too, and I have to say that in the main it is a well made, nice-looking device with a very nice fluid UI and that most things work pretty well. I'm sure that it will improve with new updates and that it will gain more apps as well. Naturally it's a new OS and some of the supporting tools are a little glitchy but again I expect Blackberry to get that sorted out in the near term. The first OS update happened entirely painlessly, in fact I didn't even know until I checked the version. It had installed after the prompt to do so was OK'd by my daughter and the Z10 never missed a beat. A few more apps have appeared in Blackberry World and she's happy about that too.

I knew about the changes to Blackberry non-BES email and wasn't at all worried, she has it working with my home mail servers and her GMail-based email for her college. It simply works and the hub is a neat way of tying it all together in one place.

On this basis I think that Blackberry deserve to claw their way back but whether they are able to close on the top two platforms I don't know, maybe a little, maybe not. But once they've worked through the early teething troubles I think it will be a good stable and reliable phone and OS.

It will be interesting to see what the other phones Blackberry release will be like. The Q10 isn't really my cup of tea, but the on-screen keyboard and typing prediction/correction on the Z10 is very good (I'm a long-time Swiftkey user on Android, I gather it's a version of that) and makes writing and texting on it very rapid and easy.

I wish them well, they have clearly put a lot of effort into BBOS 10 and done that while undergoing a big management shake-up at the same time which is not a fun combination for the troops in the trenches.

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Re: Z10

@ShagBag,

"I mean £500 for a Blackberry that doesn't even come with encryption as standard anymore.

Err, you're not entirely correct. BES is still wholly supported, encrypted of course. MS Exchange ActiveSync is encrypted. All the other email types (Hotmail, IMAP, POP and SMTP) all support TLS, SSL, etc.

So they can all be encrypted, just not in the manor to which you were accustomed to with BIS. Me? I'm using ActiveSync with an MS Exchange server - works really well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Z10

Earnings declaration said the estimate was around 2/3 sold.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not as bad as they could have been

we (London City Center Vodafone shop) ordered 100 (for a customer pre-order), have recieved 5 so far....maybe they're doing an Apple and creating a shortage to boost demand?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not as bad as they could have been

Well I know lots of people too and plenty of my friends and business associates have a Z10 already but even more are waiting for the Q10. I like mine a lot and the essential apps are all there.

By the way, The author is clearly focusing on the down side of the mostly positive results. The title of this article could have been better and the content is not as good as it could have been.

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Re: not as bad as they could have been

Point is, Blackberries are simply unfashionable at the moment. The pace of change in fashion wif da yoof can change on a tuppence or celebs seen holding them, so don't write Blackberry off. They were just a 'little' slow in reacting to the iOS and Android revolutions. The Z10 looks like a damn good phone and promises well for the future.

OTH I think that Microsoft has a hill to climb (which is getting much, much steeper), dead weights holding them back (their reputation and Ballmer) and the fact that they've obviously completely missed the tipping point for Windows Phone success. As far as I can see the phones are reasonable attempts, but with a current coolness factor of a cardigan.

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Short sellers?

If short sellers have bought shares in the company hoping the price will go down they are doing it wrong...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Short sellers?

Or you are making a conclusion too soon....

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Re: Short sellers?

"stock being held by 'short sellers', who are betting on a BlackBerry collapse and who, according to CNN Money, hold about a third of the company's stock."

That's a new one to me: holding stock you don't hold.

LOL. Proof positive that, when it comes to finance, CNN Money is clueless.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Short sellers?

Don't know why you were downvoted; as far as I am aware there are two kinds of shorts, the ones who have borrowed shares to play with and the naked shorts. If you own the shares which you bought at price X, and you have a contract to sell them at a future date at price Y which is lower than market but higher than X, you are just "locking in your profit", probably for tax reasons.

Not directly relevant, but Michael Lewis's book The Big Short is actually quite an exciting read and tells you enough about the financial industry to make you want to go out and upset a banker.

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Boffin

Re: two kinds of shorts

The folks who have borrowed shares, and then sold those borrowed shares, will need to repurchase replacement shares in the future in order to "return" the borrowed shares to their rightful owners. Thus, these borrowers ARE the "naked" shorts (as they walk the financial markets "uncovered").

If you already own shares of the stock in question, and then sell it short, you are "selling short against the box". Until the late 1990s, this technique was accepted by the US tax code as a legal method for extending the effective date of a stock sale (and thus the associated tax payment) into the indefinite future.

For example, if you wanted to cash in your highly-appreciated REGX stock in 1990, but not pay the associated capital-gains taxes until 1997 (in 1997 dollars which would be cheaper because of inflation), you would sell your REGX short against the box in 1990 at the then-current price, collect your loot, and let the shares and the short sale ride in your brokerage account until 1997. You would then tell your broker to close out the transaction, trading the shares for the short sale at essentially no cost to you (just a small commission), and declare the 1990 profits on your 1997 tax return!

Then the tax law was changed...

You can also effectively sell short for various time periods and using fancier strategies if you use stock options instead of just plain stocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Still popular here

I've no idea if the business I work for is typical but Blackberry devices are still the most in demand for work here despite us being able to offer email access on any modern smartphone.

RIM lost a big chunk of brownie points with IT though for requiring a new version of the Blackberry Enterprise Server software to support the newest models - execs who wanted new shiny (and therefore got it, in advance of anyone else getting a chance to test) were disappointed to find their new toys wouldn't work.

If the rest of the enterprise customer base is mirroring our behaviour then Blackberry is not dead. Yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still popular here

"If the rest of the enterprise customer base is mirroring our behaviour" - well Blackberry lost 3 million customers just last quarter.

There is a lot of enterprise interest in Windows Phone as the most secure of the alternative platforms - being pushed by large consultancies like Avanade, and on-going adoptions of iPhone and / or Android by some organisations. Basically the Blackberry corporate email business is over the curve, and it's downhill from here on in...

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Re: Still popular here

Big difference is that Blackberry's Balance is quite a godo BOYD solution. AFAIK WinPhone is no more BOYD friendly than a corporate laptop...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still popular here

"by large consultancies like Avanade"

Avenade = Microsoft + Accidenture

You are surprised by their tawdriness?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still popular here

So the <1% of the consumer market that might buy the new Blackberry at best might think it is a good BYOD solution. No one else is going to care - so it is unlikely to get much traction. If any.

Corporates want a secure device that they control, that they can lock down. BYOD isn't ideal for most.

The WP Kids Corner concept could easily be extended to allow end user data on a corporate controlled device though.

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Mushroom

Chaotic mess

"One day they were a major technology company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate salivate. The next day they were a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future."

Oops, that was Time Magazine reporting on Apple in 1996, sorry!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chaotic mess

Yes but they don't have a Steve Jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chaotic mess

I'm not totally sure of that. Thorsten Heins doesn't seem to have the RDF - but he has ruthlessly pruned their activities. It looks like the old BBs are being sold off without new manufacturing. The last old Blackberry model is the 9320, which is (a) very basic and (b) amazingly capable for the money - very obviously aimed at the developing world/teenager market and what the more expensive rest of the 9300 series should have been. Nokia seems to be selling the lowest spec Lumia at a price to compete with it, which tells you all you need to know about WP8 - it has to compete on price with a little black plastic box with a tiny screen and a keyboard. (The WP7.8 version actually undercuts the BB.)

The interesting question is, can they do without the US? The US is now a small fraction of their business, and a famously expensive market to crack. The really brave move would be to abandon all pretence of the US consumer market and sell purely to business, and spend all the consumer marketing money on new markets.

Why? Because BB does well in the Muslim world, and not selling visibly in the US market could score a lot of brownie points.

They may be doomed, but not I think for years to come. There will always be people like me who find small glass keyboards impossible and can semi-touch-type on a real one. We only have to be a few percent of the market to provide a niche, because with the exception of the HP Pre 3, everybody else's attempt at a phone keyboard has been pretty dire.

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WTF?

Re: Chaotic mess

"They may be doomed, but not I think for years to come."

Not unless QNX fails too, which is pretty unlikely given that it is in millions of vehicles, infrastructure devices (Cisco, Adtran, others) and who knows what else. Heins indicated the direction of Balckberry at his recent launch event, the furure of the company is in the QNX software, not just the phone business.

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I want to know where I can find a playbook for £90. Took a look on Debenhams website and couldn't find one. At that price I'd buy one for my son (who's always knicking mine) and maybe a spare too.

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They're on debenhamsplus.com at £148 for the 64GB model, £87 for the 16GB. £87 is getting close to being the same as a tank of diesel for the car...

PC World has the 64GB model at £139 - gone up £10!

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Anonymous Coward

Took a look on Debenhams website

Sort by lowest price up. You can get the 16G for £87, which is an absolute bargain. The 64G was an even better bargain at £129. I gave away an Asus Transformer to an offspring because in what they call real world use, I find the PB rather better and I found I just wasn't using the larger one.

A lot of my El Reg posts have come from a PB.

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A lot of my El Reg posts have come from a PB.

Hi

A few questions.

Does it do video skype?

Can you connect a bluetooth keyboard?

Does it run android apps (or do they have to be converted by the author)?

Cheers

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Re: A lot of my El Reg posts have come from a PB.

It doesn't have skype as the moment. It does have its own video calling app to other playbooks and it has whatsapp too.

It connects to bluetooth keyboards, I am looking for a good one atm. Logitech for ipad is most likely contender.

Android apps have to be repackaged but goodereader has a wide selection of them. Going to try the streaming netflix app tonight.

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PC World

I bought my 64GB PB last sunday for £129 at PC World. I just checked their website and it is still £129. I really like it and will be buying a BB phone next month to go with it. I need a new phone anyway and a Blackberry is the only one on my list. I wish Blackberry all the best and hope they do well.

I am writing this on my PB and think it is better than Apples offerings. I have used a friends iPad but the PB is better. I have no experience of any Android devices but I wouldn't touch them because of the data grabbing that Google do of all their customers/users of their devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A lot of my El Reg posts have come from a PB.

The question has been answered but I would add one thing; try the PB keyboard a bit before getting a BT keyboard. The predicted text is almost uncanny as it learns the words you use. The only better mobile keyboard I know is on the BB9900. (the Z10 keyboard may be better but I 'm not buying one to spend a week or two finding out. I can wait for the Q10.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: try the PB keyboard a bit before getting a BT keyboard

I'm endorsing this- the PB is highly responsive, and the onscreen kb beeps reassuringly. I've a 64 gb playbook and for the money (£135 including 3 yr all situations cover from pc world) it's the best hand held I've ever played with. True the apps are limited but how many fart apps do you need?

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Anonymous Coward

@james51: anywhere in Canada for starters. Average non-sale price is 124.99 CAD

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Took a look on amazon, 239.99 CAD. Works out about £155 before shipping.

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Z10 - Baby out with the bathwater.

The Z10 looks like a nice phone, but the reasons I have kept my Bold 9700 (despite it's horrible freezes) alongside my N8 are the keyboard and BIS. So they won't get a sale to me.

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Re: Z10 - Baby out with the bathwater.

I'm quietly confident my missus will love the upgrade from Curve to Q10 I'm going to get her as soon as they come on sale.

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