Software helps BlackBerry to creep back up

Once the leading smartphone of choice, BlackBerry has fallen so far behind its rivals in the mobile market that its shares were almost wiped out.

Yesterday the Canadian company showed some progress in its struggle to reinvent itself through a shift in focus to secure software as it reported better than expected first-quarter earnings.

Shares in the group, down 95 per cent from a peak in 2008, rose 3.3 per cent to $6.96 by lunchtime trading in New York after it reported a doubling in its software revenue on a year-on-year basis for the second consecutive quarter. “For the full fiscal year we are on track to deliver 30 per cent revenue growth in software and services,” John Chen, executive chairman and chief executive, said.

Overall, the company reported a massive net loss of $670 million for the first fiscal quarter as it ran up costs to restructure operations and wrote down the value of some assets. This compared with a $238 million loss for the previous quarter and a $68 million profit for the same period a year ago.

The loss reflected a $501 million impairment charge, a $57 million goodwill impairment charge and a $41 million writedown of inventory and other charges. Excluding these, it posted profit of $14 million, effectively breaking even, beating analyst expectations. Adjusted revenue, at $424 million, fell short of analyst predictions of $470.9 million.