Research in Motion released its fourth quarter and year-end financial report (PDF) yesterday, announcing a $125 million quarterly loss as the firm struggles with falling revenues due to weaker smartphone shipments.
Sales of BlackBerry smartphones fell to 11.1 million during the quarter, 21% lower than the previous three-month period. The $125 million net loss for the quarter ending March 3 is a huge drop from the $934 million profit in the same period the year before. Revenues dropped by $1 billion sequentially to $4.2 billion.
Alongside the financial report were a number of other important announcements, including a management shakeup which will see long-time executive Jim Baisillie resign from the board after 20 years’ service. Also standing down are the firm’s CTO David Yacht and COO for global operations Jim Rowan.
Newly appointed chief executive Thorsten Heins stated that the Canadian firm’s new strategy will see them now focusing on their traditional corporate customers rather than trying to compete in the customer market against rivals Android and Apple.
"We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on our leading position in this segment," said Heins. He continued, "We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."
There is no doubt BlackBerry devices have struggled against the top end of the consumer segment, where the iPhone and other models like Samsung’s Galaxy S2 have sold in millions. That's not to say they'll withdraw from the consumer market completely, however. The company says it will build on its enterprise strengths but today clarified that it will also go after 'targeted consumer segments'.
BlackBerry smartphones have become popular with the younger generation which prefer to keep in contact via messaging than make voice calls. The more affordable models at the lower end of BlackBerry’s product range have helped them build a strong customer base so they probably won't be stepping back from that success. But exactly what their plan is for the consumer market going forward was left open to speculation.
On hearing the news, shares in the firm dropped almost 9-percent in after-hours trading. It looks even bleaker when you look at the drop over the past year, with an 80-percent reduction in their value.