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Blackberry Cellphones

BlackBerry Posts $4.4 Billion Loss, Will Outsource To Foxconn 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it'll-be-better-next-quarter-they-promise dept.
iONiUM writes "Today BlackBerry announced a $4.4 billion loss, and a deal with Foxconn to outsource hardware manufacturing. One interesting stat is that 75% of sales were actually older BB7 devices. That said, CEO John Chen says, 'We are very much alive, thank you.' He adds, 'Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.'"
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BlackBerry Posts $4.4 Billion Loss, Will Outsource To Foxconn

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  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:10PM (#45749155) Journal

    'Our "for sale" sign has been taken down and we are here to stay.'

    This is the textbook precursor words before a "transition team" chops it up for parts and sells everything off piecemeal. It's right in the MBA manual.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:13PM (#45749177)

      I didn't get that Text book.
      Also my MBA classes also seem to actively discourage such actions. That said, it may mean to refocus the company.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Dude what EXACTLY is left to "refocus"? The company has been bleeding money, the only real selling point they had, American made and supported, just went down the shitter and thanks to the NSA nobody in business is gonna trust jack shit when it comes to communications originating in the USA.

        Lets face it, BB is screwed. They sat on ass for too long and let Android and OSX drink their milkshake. Their one chance would be maybe breaking it up for parts be "taking the for sale sign down" translates to "nobody

        • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday December 20, 2013 @07:43PM (#45750353) Homepage Journal
          Shush. They have found a profit center. By getting tax credits for responsible ewaste management. The current plan is to take their own unsold products and continuously e-cycle them in-house into new unsold products to e-cycle again, gaining an additional tax credit each time. This e-cycling perpetual motion machine is self sustaining and profitable, ensuring unlimited future paid-in capital as Wall Street discovers the enhanced efficiencies only available by cutting the humans out of the loop while simultaneously "going green".
          • by symbolset (646467) *

            I forgot to mention - they have a new line of business process IP as well. Their innovative patent-pending OWINS (Order When I Need Something) supply chain heuristic has helped them to cut their key metric COGNS (Cost Of Goods Not Sold) by almost 95%. They are licensing this innovative technology to Microsoft for their Surface line of tablets and HP, Dell, Lenovo and others in the PC industry for desktops and laptops.

        • American made (Score:4, Informative)

          by kris2112 (136712) on Friday December 20, 2013 @07:44PM (#45750365)

          Um...

          BlackBerry is a Canadian company.

          • by Hmmm2000 (1146723) *
            We all know that Canada is the 51st state.
          • I wish I had mod points. I live in Waterloo. Just down the street from their data center and everything. They just sold 5 of their office building to the university as a part of all this. More to the point. As long as the end to end is encrypted then the US shouldn't get their hands on any of the data. The concern is most Canadian internet routes run down into the States for the backbone. Very few Canadian internet service companies can say the whole route stays in Canada.
            • Sorry to burst your bubble, but the NSA has crammed their dick so far up CSIS's ass, it's come out of their mouth and tells the minister where he can go. You can bet the NSA has complete, unfettered access to all of Canada's networks [telephone, cell phone, internet, postal mail].

              For this stuff, we are America's lapdog and have been for a very long time.

        • by puto (533470)
          Sorry, but Blackberry is from Canada.
        • Um, they were NEVER American made/supported. RIM/BlackBerry is a Canadian company.

          Hell, that's one of the reasons the NSA loves them so much, as all your BB messages [for regular users] leave the country and go to Canada, where the NSA has unfettered access to them because they are no longer 'in America'. Fuck that, FISA kangaroo court.

      • Look under: "unlocking value". There are pros and cons of being big. One of the cons (at least perceived) is that a big company tries to have "synergistic" sales sometimes at the expense of what is good for the product group. Example: the MS SQL server group might be able to make more money if they supported other OSs but the parent won't allow it. The cumulative amount of sales might be better since a lot of people stick with Windows because they want Office and use Office because they have Windows. For Bl

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:19PM (#45749241)

      . . . or they took down the sign because they couldn't find a buyer . . .

    • by sesshomaru (173381) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:04PM (#45749625) Journal

      "He's a straight shooter with upper management written all over him."

  • They need to focus on business end Android phones with hardware keyboards.
    • Re:Move to Android (Score:4, Insightful)

      by supertrooper (2073218) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:06PM (#45749649)
      Not sure about that. BlackBerry QNX-based OS is really good. It's not like they don't have a great product, the problem is that the product came late and it was pricey. In any case, it's good to have a variety out there.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I find blackberry far more responsive than android it never seems to freeze or lag like the other phones i've used, its multitasking is intuitive and has physical keys

        but then again i don't just buy anything with an apple or google stamp on it so i can feel like i belong and am one of the cool kids.

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:43PM (#45749937)

        Not sure about that. BlackBerry QNX-based OS is really good.

        It doesn't matter how "good" it is. No one makes apps for QNX/BBOS. It's the same reason no one wants Windows Phones. If your phone OS doesn't work with one of the two major apps stores, then consumers aren't interested, no matter much technically better it supposedly is.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Windows phone growth has been rather good for 2 years. The market is rather big. More people want Windows phone now than wanted BlackBerry at their height.

          • yes, they get to report massive percentage gains every quarter. because the number sold is so small, just adding a new distributor blows their percentage through the roof, stuffing the channel.

            • by jbolden (176878)

              Stuffing the channel? I don't hear stories about huge write downs. If anything Nokia was supply constrained most of the year on most models.

              The number sold isn't that small. That's the point, the number sold is larger than BlackBerry at its height.

            • by maroberts (15852)
              As far as I can tell Nokia is still coming out with good kit. The latest Windows Phone OS is meant to be a fairly good product, even though I personally dislike the interface. I'm much happier with an Android phone, but if for example I were a photographer, I would look at the Nokia phone range. I know a phone can't compete with a dedicated camera, but it seems Nokia is as close as it gets.
        • I think you are mistaken. I have android apps on my Playbook. They use a modified java runtime like android.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Personally, I don't think Android is all that great. The only great thing about it is that it's popular and therefore there's lots of apps out there. But from a technical standpoint, it's nothing to write home about. Maybe it's just because I have an older device, but I find it like getting sent back to the old days. I have to reboot my phone on a regular basis, because it gets bogged down if I don't. Applications constant take over all the resources of my phone, which requires me to take out the battery
        • I have a 4S with a cracked screen that I can send you. If your computer or your car ran that poorly, wouldn't you get a better one. Why do people pride themselves on how long they can keep a phone working? Shit can that turd and by a decent phone. It doesn't have to have a Google or Apple stamp on it, we know you are cool. /rant
      • by jbolden (176878)

        QNX is really good. But keeping it up with Android is going to be hard. They are well behind OSX and they have no chance of getting to 64 bit. So it is hard to see how people invest in it. I love the idea of QNX for a phone OS. I love many of BlackBerry's ideas, balance in particular. Also many Blackberry people just don't like it.

  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:14PM (#45749185) Homepage
    I'm not dead yet!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It won't be long.

  • Can anybody more versed in PR speak please translate what "strategic investment" means?
    • "We think that by giving you money, you're either going to be a legitimate competitor again and give us a great return on our investment or else we're going to get our money back when we chop you up into pieces because we own you. You're on limited time to do either."

      In other words, someone gave them a loan. How badly BB got shafted by that loan is determined by how desperate they were when they took it. BB either paid them in stock, which means voting power over the company's assets when / if it folds,

      • "How badly BB got shafted by that loan is determined by how desperate they were when they took it."

        On a level of desperation going from 1 - 10, I'm going to go with "Vlad the Impaler" as far as shafting is concerned.

        • Actually, not that bad. 6% for 7 years, strike somewhere at 7 CN. I mean not great but I have seen a lot worse.

    • by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:42PM (#45749427)

      Strategic investment means somebody from the outside taking a big stake in the company.

      Fairfax Financial is a insurance company and the biggest owner of BlackBerry shares. The original idea was that FairFax and some partners would do a buy out of all the existing shares for 4.7b and take BlackBerry private – like what Dell did with Dell inc. this year. That fell through when Fairfax couldn’t find any partners who were willing to up the cash. Instead BlackBerry issued 1b in convertible debt (bonds that can be converted to stock – all the downside protection of debt and all of the upside of stock ownership.) with FairFax buying 250m of that debt.

  • by emil (695) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:21PM (#45749247) Homepage

    ...then license your tablet and phone OS immediately.

    The tablet OS never, ever crashes, runs any Gingerbread app, and is a far superior experience to Android. Blackberry should give the OS away for free for any tablet that has CPUs under 1ghz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

    The phone OS builds on the tablet, will load any .APK, runs other vendors' market apps, and is judged a far, far superior experience by Android converts. Blackberry should give the phone OS away to any vendor running CPUs under 800Mhz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

    If Blackberry takes market share, it will win. This cannot be done as a vertically-integrated platform.

    • by wjcofkc (964165)

      and is judged a far, far superior experience by Android converts.

      The experience factor may very well be true. I have had the opportunity to spend real quality time with their new OS and it really is top notch work. While the Android and iOS converts are out there, they are far and few between - but this lack of uptake has nothing to do with the quality of the product, which as I said is great. I myself as someone who is waiting for an alternative to my Android or iOS (MS, yeah right - tried that too) had gr

      • by emil (695)

        Blackberry should offer their QNX kernel/userland source code for free to Huaiwai for safe-keeping. This gesture would foster a new ecosystem and provide assurance to the market that the platform will not vaporize.

        The marketing agreement should stipulate that Blackberry retains their appstore, and royalties on high-performance units. Low-performance units would be the giveaways to flood cheap carriers.

        Blackberry should retain the ability to revoke their OS license to vendors with unacceptable failure rates.

    • The tablet OS never, ever crashes, runs any Gingerbread app, and is a far superior experience to Android. Blackberry should give the OS away for free for any tablet that has CPUs under 1ghz (as long as the vendor writes the drivers).

      yes, because vendors are going write drivers for their 3+ year old hardware so it can run the (unsupported) OS of a dying company. sounds like a winner.

    • by JMZero (449047)

      When RIM was pushing all-in on the new OS, I wondered how any human could possibly think it was a good idea. How could they not see: it was clearly, obviously suicidal. Now, years later, after we know that it was a horrible idea - we've seen how it took away RIM's last real shot at continued relevance, now that we know people are not excited about it, that it didn't bring anything interesting or novel and has been panned resoundingly by critics and consumers pretty much everywhere, and people have demonst

    • Pointing out that it's judged superior by people converting to it doesn't say much, when the number of converts in the opposite direction is orders of magnitude higher. But even if it is better (I'm actually not interested in arguing its merits or lack thereof), "better" doesn't even matter here. The market already has a free mobile OS with market penetration, loyal users, and an established supply chain. The last mobile OS to get opened up was WebOS, and we all saw how that went. And that was before Androi

    • by fermion (181285)
      MS has tried to license a mobile OS and has failed to generate a profit. There is no evidence that a Mobile OS can be licensed in the way a desktop OS can. There is no reason to think that a mobile device makers will accept the meager profits and threats and control that a laptop or desktop manufacturer does.

      Blackberry was making money when everyone was paying it monthly fee. This covered the costs of the BBM infrastructure. These are other costs are evidently very high, as Blackberry is losing what is

      • If so, how many surprise reboots have you had over the last two months? This never happens with QNX. PalmWebOS was just Linux; QNX is a different animal. Get a beagle bone to see the technical side. Understand it, and you will appreciate an alternative ecosystem which is superior for many uses.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The tablet OS never, ever crashes,

      I haven't had an OS crash on an Android device in absolutely ages, except my Tronsmart MK908. Don't buy shit from Tronsmart. It is woefully underdesigned.

      and is a far superior experience to Android.

      Meh.

      Blackberry should give the OS away for free

      And make it up in volume?

      • Check the latest release notes. Apps that crash the OS are the fault of the OS, not the app. Android turns Linux into a Windows95 reliability experience.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Fuck the release notes, I'm talking about real-world experience. And in my real-world experience, if you've got a crashing Android device, you've got a shitty Android device.

          It's not as though this problem is unique to Android, iDevices crash and/or lock up hard as well [macworld.com]. You're pretending that only Android crashes. That, sir, is a lie.

          • by emil (695)
            I wouldn't own an Apple device if you paid me. My playbook has never crashed. The browser has locked up, but it never took down the OS. All my coworkers with Verizon Android have moved to the iOS dark side because of constant crashes. My stock firmware crashed like the Titanic on a replay loop. CM10.1 has greatly reduced the frequency. You sir, need to lay off the psychotropic drugs and get with reality.
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              You sir, need to lay off the psychotropic drugs and get with reality.

              You, sir, need to lay off the ego and get with statistics. Unless you have some, you're just wasting airtime.

              • by emil (695)
                This would never happen on Android; they must have loaded a rom for windows:. http://www.slashgear.com/nexus-flaw-sees-android-phones-crash-after-sms-overload-29307177/ [slashgear.com]
                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  I ask for statistics, I get back an anecdote. Welcome to slashdot, I guess.

                  • by emil (695)
                    Pardon me for not having a peer-approved double blind. http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Things-I-Hate-About-Android-Smart-Phones [hubpages.com] "Even though Android is based on Linux, it feels more like a smartphone version of Windows Vista. Always crashing and freezing." I am hardly the only person saying this.
                    • by drinkypoo (153816)

                      I complain that you're providing anecdotes instead of statistics, and you respond by doing it three more times. You're batting zero.

                    • by emil (695)
                      It might be possible to get counts from Google, crittercism, or from ACRA. Go ahead and try if you want, but none of those organizations is going to make getting that data easy, since Apple would use that data for marketing. Meanwhile, there was a Facebook update on play this morning that crashed my phone. Sure, Android is rock solid. I'll sing its praises if it will shut you up. I will be drowned out with the curses from everyone else.
                    • by drinkypoo (153816)

                      It might be possible to get counts from Google, crittercism, or from ACRA. Go ahead and try if you want,

                      "...because I certainly haven't. I'd prefer to spread FUD."

                      Meanwhile, there was a Facebook update on play this morning that crashed my phone.

                      Right, we've established that anecdotes are not data and that iOS devices also crash, so meanwhile you're still sharing useless anecdotes. Actually, it's not useless: When the Facebook app shit all over people's contacts, both stealing contacts and overwriting them, I said anyone would have to be a complete fucking idiot to actually run a facebook app on their device. Thanks for the heads-up.

                  • by emil (695)
                    If Android doesn't crash, then why is this developer using ACRA for various exploding devices?
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:27PM (#45749291)
    This $4.4B loss is one of those "throw everything out including the kitchen sink" financial quarters, where a struggling, money-losing public company tries to purge itself and basically write everything off at once, including expenses/charges that may not have happened yet. The purpose of this financial engineering is partly to make future earnings look better, both on a comparable basis but more importantly because so many expenses got thrown into the loss and so future revenue will have fewer expenses charged against it, giving the appearance of an earnings recovery. The stock is heavily shorted by smart money and they know this large "loss" is guaranteed result in future positive earnings "surprises" so they'd rather take their short earnings off the table and let the dumb money fight it out in the intermediate term.
    • 1. Short sellers don’t make money this way. Everybody knows what is happening so nobody is fooled.

      2. RIM has already “taken a bath” for its second quarter earnings. Not to say that they are not taking another one, but there is a probably more truth then falsehood in their news release.

  • There's the adage about how anyone who has to keep reminding everyone that they're the leader is no leader at all. Seems as if the same applies here. If a company has to keep insisting that it's still alive, it really isn't.

  • They may not be selling many Blackberries, but they seem to be doing OK in real-estate. They just sold five buildings to the University of Waterloo: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/university-of-waterloo-buys-blackberry-buildings-land-for-41-million/article16074015/ [theglobeandmail.com]
  • One interesting stat is that 75% of sales were actually older BB7 devices.

    It's hard to say for sure, but I suspect this is mostly existing corporate customers who are already standardized on BB7 company-wide just buying more devices, as replacements for broken devices, and/or to provide devices to new staff. That provides a nice short/medium-term revenue stream, but is only sustainable in the long-term if, when these corporate customers eventually replace their BB7 infrastructure, they go with something new

  • Imagine if they made phones where all communications are encrypted, and all of the encryption keys are stored on the phone itself. Throw in a Tor-like network to scatter packets, and make it so that unencrypted data never goes through Blackberry's networks or servers. Make it so that it's impossible for anyone to find out who is communicating with whom, and the phones will sell like hotcakes.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Friday December 20, 2013 @07:49PM (#45750397)

    Some Chinese companies have learned a neat trick.
    Diamond Back did it 20-30 years ago, I suspect Foxconn will do it next.

    With the BlackBerry and Apple designs and process knowledge they've provided to Foxconn, Foxconn will soon have little need for these American companies. They can just sell the next generation under the Foxconn brand.

    • If i recall correctly, Apple/Jobs did something like that. They partnered with some other phone company for a while before striking out on their own
  • Can someone explain how the books looked fine for so long then all of a sudden tanked? I had assumed that all the dire talk was negative PR.

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