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BlackBerry confirms loss of $965 million as sales drop 45%

It's a bleak day for the smartphone maker as it lays out its official fiscal second-quarter results. And don't go looking for additional details on its plans to go private.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read
The BlackBerry Q10 in action. Sarah Tew/CNET

BlackBerry offered no real surprises as it posted a fiscal second-quarter loss of nearly $1 billion amid the continuing struggles of its smartphones in the marketplace.

The Canadian company said Friday that it lost $965 million, or $1.84, compared with a year-earlier loss of $235 million, or 45 cents a share. Revenue fell 45 percent to $1.57 billion, from $2.86 billion a year ago.

The official results come a week after BlackBerry released preliminary figures and said it would cut roughly 40 percent of its staff as it shifts its focus away from consumers and more towards business customers. On Monday, the company announced a $4.7 billion deal to go private through a group of investors led by Fairfax Financial.

As a result of the warning, the numbers are roughly in line with the loss of 45 cents and revenue of $1.6 billion analysts had projected, although the results were dramatically worse than the figures Wall Street had expected prior to last Friday.

As previously noted, the biggest reason for the dramatic loss was the $934 million write-down in inventory of the BlackBerry Z10. Evidently, few people bought the Z10, which was the company's first phone to run the next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The newer BlackBerry phones as a whole haven't seemed to resonate with consumers. The company said it shipped 3.7 million BlackBerrys, but a majority of them were devices running older software, which remain popular in emerging markets because of their low price.

The company ended the quarter with cash and investments of $2.6 billion.

BlackBerry is shifting its focus back to serving business customers with products and back-end systems. It said that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 has more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to date, up from 19,000 in July.

Whether that's enough to save BlackBerry -- whether it goes private or not -- remains up in the air.