Blackberry reports another massive loss, shifts focus to budget devices in emerging markets

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There’s no stopping Blackberry’s downfall it seems. The struggling Canadian firm reported a massive $4.4 billion loss and a 56% drop in revenue to $1.19 billion for its third quarter of fiscal year 2014, after factoring in a massive inventory write-down and other one-time charges. In all, the company sold 1.9 million smartphones, down from 3.7 million during the second fiscal quarter, and most of them were older Blackberry 7 devices.

This year's launch of Blackberry 10 was supposed to breathe new life into the brand and lure customers away from rivals -- or at the very least keep existing ones from fleeing. But the hardware lineup failed to impress and Blackberry’s limited app catalog made the platform a tough sell.

Excluding the inventory writedowns and impairment charges, the loss was still $354 million, or 67 cents a share.

The company isn’t ready to call it quits, however. After a failed buyout bid led by FairFax Financial in November, a management shakeup saw Thorsten Heins leave his post as chief executive, replaced by John Chen as interim CEO and chairman of the board until a permanent replacement can be found. Furthermore the focus is no longer on a full or partial sale but rather making Blackberry a strong player in the mobile market once again.

Chen, who is credited with returning Sybase to profitability in the 2000s, admits that turning Blackberry around would be his most complicated challenge to date but said the company has $3.3 billion in cash to engineer their comeback. He believes Blackberry "has a really good shot" of turning a profit in 2016

Going forward the company is putting more emphasis on Blackberry's software business than its hardware business. They also also announced a five-year partnership with Foxconn to develop and manufacture a handset for Indonesia and other emerging markets. The idea is to leverage Foxconn's scale and efficiency to have a break-even or low margin device business that can then be monetized through software.

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