BlackBerry staggers to a deeper, $4.4 billion loss

  • Article by: IAN AUSTEN
  • New York Times
  • December 20, 2013 - 9:46 PM

– BlackBerry, the hobbled smartphone maker, reported more dire financial news Friday, posting a $4.4 billion loss and a 56 percent drop in revenue in its latest quarter. The company also outlined a sharp retreat from its once-core handset business by entering a partnership with the Asian contract manufacturer Foxconn.

The substantial loss follows one of nearly $1 billion in the previous quarter. The latest loss included a $2.7 billion write-down mainly related to BlackBerry 10 phones, including the Q10 and the Z10, which were portrayed as lifesavers when introduced in January 2013.

Last month, BlackBerry failed to find a buyer for the company and replaced Thorsten Heins, the chief executive, with John Chen, the former chairman of the software company Sybase. Chen has since fired several high-level executives.

But the first real strategic change under Chen came Friday, when he announced the company’s new arrangement with Foxconn, which seems to be a way for BlackBerry to effectively hand over some of its handset business without running afoul of Canadian foreign investment laws.

In a conference call with analysts, Chen said that BlackBerry would jointly develop and manufacture some phones with Foxconn. Because Foxconn will carry the inventory of those phones on its books, Chen said that BlackBerry would be shielded from large write-downs of unwanted handsets in the future.

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