BlackBerry and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend
Just when you thought that BlackBerry was turning a corner and making a comeback with the launch of BlackBerry 10 earlier this year, it turns out that the only way they can make news is when things go catastrophically badly for them. BlackBerry stole the Friday and Saturday headlines from Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5S with announcements of $1 billion in inventory write-downs, a massive staff cut and the failure to launch of BBM.
Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that BlackBerry was planning to cut up to 40% of its workforce by the end of the year. During their fiscal 2014 Q2 earnings call, BlackBerry confirmed that the reports were true and that they would be cutting up to 4,500 jobs between now and the end of Q1 of fiscal 2015. Given BlackBerry’s 52-week fiscal year, that would mean that layoffs are expected to be completed by approximately the beginning of June 2014.
In addition to the layoffs news, BlackBerry also announced that the company had lost at least $950 million dollars during the 2nd quarter of fiscal 2014. How did they lose that much money in just three months? They had a $1 billion inventory valuation adjustment expense. This is a result of poor sales of their new flagship BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. Neither that nor their Q10 smartphone, featuring the physical QWERTY keyboard, have been setting the retail world on fire.
I guess that one positive that BlackBerry can take out of this is that they would have broken even for the quarter if they didn’t have to write-down the value of their inventory.
The stock market didn’t react well to the news out of Waterloo. BlackBerry’s stocked ended trading on Friday down 17% from where it opened. It was down as much as 25% in the immediate aftermath of the earnings announcement.
And to top off all of BlackBerry’s fun last week, their big planned launch of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Android and iOS was cancelled at the last minute. BlackBerry blamed it on an early leak of their BBM app for Android. TechCrunch says that the demand for the BBM for Android app overwhelmed BlackBerry’s servers. If there’s something more to the delay, BlackBerry isn’t saying.
So while things aren’t looking great for BlackBerry, there are some bright points for them going forward. A loss on paper with the inventory accounting adjustment isn’t a sign of a complete catastrophe, even if the company lost nearly $1 billion in three months. And there’s still demand for BBM from users of other operating systems. BlackBerry isn’t completely dead. Just mostly dead.
Posted on September 23, 2013, in Tech and tagged BlackBerry, Business, RIM. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
geez, when things go bad, they really nose dive