Though BlackBerry had planned to make a decision by September on the future of its beleaguered smartphone business, its chief executive John Chen expressed his confidence yesterday that the company would have a profitable hardware segment by then.
BlackBerry had been looking to shift focus more on software and services as its smartphone market-share had dwindled, and its shares plunged yesterday following its larger-than-expected slide in fourth-quarter revenue. Sales of its new Android-based Priv device missed expectations, due to delays with certain carrier launches.
The Canadian company's shares retreated around 7.5 per cent in New York and Toronto as the results raised fresh questions over the viability of its legacy hardware business.
"My number one focus is to stay in the hardware business beyond September, but I'm also a realist, I'm not going to stay in the business and continue losing money," said Chen.
He added that BlackBerry planned to come out with a new mid-range Android-based device before September, and that it planned to do a better job targeting enterprise clients with its new devices.
According to Chen, BlackBerry was working on licensing its hardware know-how like its virtual keyboard and security software, moves it saw boosting hardware segment revenue and taking it closer to profitability.
According to its just released results, the company only managed to sell 600,000 units of its smartphones over the three-month period.
The 600,000 unit sales fell much short of Wall Street's expectations, which predicted that BlackBerry would notch sales of 850,000 units for the quarter.
Also, the latest results marked a fall from the 700,000 units BlackBerry sold in the previous quarter.