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BlackBerry CEO Expects Profits by 2016 Despite Massive Sales Slide
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BlackBerry CEO Expects Profits by 2016 Despite Massive Sales Slide

by Brian P. RubinDecember 20, 2013

As you’ve probably heard by now, the news for BlackBerry over the past several months has not been good. And this morning’s quarterly earnings report—which, according to Engadget’s breakdown, saw a 1.8 million drop in smartphone shipments and the monumental loss of $4.4 billion—made the news for the struggling handset maker worse still. But despite all that, company CEO John Chen is offering bold predictions about being able to make BlackBerry stable by 2015, and profitable by 2016.

According to another post on Engadget, Chen says that the company will achieve these goals by growing its business, rather than relying on cutting and layoffs. That makes a certain amount of sense, considering it’s been doing all that already, and business still stinks. So, yeah! Do the opposite! I may seem sarcastic here, but I genuinely believe that trying to grow the business may actually prove more effective at making the company sustainably profitable than by slashing and burning.

That’s because, in addition to the dismal quarterly results that were unveiled today, BlackBerry also announced a partnership with Chinese manufacturing conglomerate Foxconn, a deal that will see production of BlackBerry 10 handsets being manufactured at plants in Indonesia and Mexico, and which will be “aimed at emerging regions.” That’s a smart move considering that there’s a hunger for cell phones all over the world. Providing low cost devices to nations with residents who can’t afford the newest and flashiest tech could be exactly what BlackBerry needs.

A press release published today offers up a statement from Chen regarding the five-year agreement:

“This partnership demonstrates BlackBerry’s commitment to the device market for the long-term and our determination to remain the innovation leader in secure end-to-end mobile solutions. Partnering with Foxconn allows BlackBerry to focus on what we do best—iconic design, world-class security, software development and enterprise mobility management—while simultaneously addressing fast-growing markets leveraging Foxconn’s scale and efficiency that will allow us to compete more effectively.”

It’s way too early to say whether or not this partnership will be what turns BlackBerry’s sliding fortunes around. The fact that Chen has outlined a two year window to simply bring the company back from losing money to breaking even seems pretty generous in terms of offering the opportunity to succeed. And, let’s not forget, a lot can happen in the world of tech in two years. It’s possible we’ll all have thrown our smartphones in the garbage entirely, once Google gets done implanting its mind-control chips into our brains. What’ll BlackBerry do then?

In reality, of course, losing $4.4 billion is an incredible figure. It’s entirely possible that the company may not actually exist by the end of the month, in which case Chen’s predictions could be rendered pretty moot. But stranger things have happened…

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