BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) might have a harder time reaching its turnaround goal as global IT spending continues to shrink. A WSJ article reports that the research firm, Gartner Inc. has projected that global IT spending will drop by 5.5% to $3.5 trillion 2015 as the strong dollar continues to impact sales. Earlier in April, Gartner had projected a 1.3% drop to $3.66 trillion; hence, it seems that global IT spending is shrinking at a faster rate.
IT firms will surely feel the pangs of reduced IT spending because the reductions will be evident in their revenues. Yet, the reduction in IT revenue won’t affect big players such as Google, Apple and Microsoft who have huge cash reserves from the huge profits in the last couple of years. However, the same cannot be said for BlackBerry who is still struggling to reach a turnaround point to profitability.
The worst part is that BlackBerry is perhaps the smallest player in the IT industry in terms of hardware sales. At the end of the first quarter, IDC reported that Android devices represented 78% of smartphones shipped globally, Apple’s iPhones represented 18.3%, Microsoft Windows Phone took 2.7% and BlackBerry devices had a mere 0.3%. The firm is still sticking with its line of hardware despite plunging sales.
BlackBerry’s Turnaround Plan
BlackBerry has had a meteoric rise as one of the thought-changing tech firms. The firm is now a shadow of its former shadow (not even its former self) as it caved in at the aggression of firms such as Apple and Google in the tech space. BlackBerry initially struggled to remain relevance but the BB OS of a small firm operating in Canada cannot just withstand the onslaught of iOS and Android OS backed by Apple and Google.
BlackBerry embarked on a turnaround mission with the hiring of turnaround specialist John Chen as the CEO in 2013. Chen’s mission is to return the company to profitability by the end of 2016. BlackBerry has consistently maintained that it is not for sale, but it appears that the firm wants to obtain its footing so that it can negotiate a sale from the position of strength. However, it doesn’t look like BlackBerry will be able to reach that turnaround goal as soon as it wants in the light of shrinking global IT spending.
Will BlackBerry Attain its Turnaround?
BlackBerry has lost about 88% of its trading price in the last five years from a trading price around $70 to the current $8.18 trading price. In fact, the stock seems to be close to a bottom because it has been trading in the $14.50 to $7.50 range since John Chen took over in 2013. If not for Chen’s wizardry, perhaps the stock will be trading at next to nothing now.
The woes of BlackBerry are far from over. The stock has lost 19.9% in the last one year and it has lost 25.3% in the year-to-date period. Now, analysts are pessimistic about the stock as analysts at Credit Suisse predict another 30% drop in the share price to $6. It remains to be seen if BlackBerry will be able to attain its elusive turnaround against all odds.