BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) could finally be killing off its smartphone business. Reportedly, it will transition into focusing entirely on enterprise software. It’s a wise move considering its handset device represents just two percent market share and its software business is generating a lot of business. It was only a matter of time before this transition commenced.
BlackBerry Ltd Burying Smartphones, Resurrecting Software
It’s been said that if you’re a die hard BlackBerry advocate then you should stop buying BlackBerry smartphones. This would, the argument goes, prompt the Waterloo-based firm to cease production of these devices and concentrate on its cash cow: enterprise software.
Is BlackBerry finally listening? It seems so.
Speaking in an interview with The Register, global sales chief Carl Wiese said the tech firm is turning away from the smartphone niche. Instead, it’s going to place more of a focus on its enterprise software, which makes sense from a revenue standpoint.
The shift may stem from its recent purchase of Good Technology, a rival firm that specialized in software development. Reportedly, Good’s proprietary platform will be merged into the tech firm’s own network. BlackBerry has continued the trend of buying up firms to offer a larger number of products to its customers; corporate, government and consumer customers.
These moves will surely amplify BlackBerry’s enterprise software maintenance and creation.
“On conference calls last year almost all of the questions from financial analysts would be about the phones. And when people said we wanted $500 million revenue from software they were crazy,” Wiese told the newspaper. “Now we’ve made that target and half the questions are about enterprise software.”
With its smartphone sales dipping about $200 million in the quarter ending February, BlackBerry is finally heading in the right direction. Ostensibly, once BlackBerry releases its two Android devices, it may then exit the hardware niche and place all of its bets on software.
A Look at BlackBerry Ltd’s Finances
It remains perplexing to see how far BlackBerry has fallen, at least when it comes to smartphones. Before everyone had an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, it seemed everyone had a BlackBerry and was “BBMing” their friends and family. It was nearly a decade ago that BlackBerry reached an impressive high of more than $200 a share.
Since then, however, BlackBerry lost 91 percent of its value. Today, it’s trading around $7 a share. Year-to-date, it’s down by 27 percent. Despite these bleak numbers, CEO John Chen remains optimistic about the future. And why shouldn’t he be?
Even with the overall market sour on BlackBerry, the tech firm has a lot of things going for it. It has a portfolio of 50,000 patents, it maintains a market cap of nearly $4 billion and its enterprise software exceeded $500 million in revenues. The latter has proven to be its key moneymaker.
This is what makes the firm so attractive to other tech titans. For the last couple of years, many suitors have come calling and put forward feelers to see if an acquisition was possible. Chen said he wouldn’t settle for anything less than $15 a share. So, for now, Chen is aiming at bringing the stock to that level. Whether or not he succeeds, only time will tell.
BlackBerry has a lot of options, especially with $2.6 billion cash reserves. The company may realize its desires by finally shifting away from hardware into software. And this is what could help propel BlackBerry to reach its goal of $15 a share.