BlackBerry ekes out a profit as revenue tumbles nearly 70 per cent

The company only sold 2.6 million smartphones

The BlackBerry Z3 smartphone on show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 25, 2014

The BlackBerry Z3 smartphone on show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 25, 2014

BlackBerry managed to turn the tide toward a small profit during its fiscal first quarter, but revenue and phone sales continued to drop.

Revenue for the first quarter of BlackBerry's fiscal 2015, which ended May 31, was about $US966 million, a steep drop of about 69 per cent from $US3.1 billion in the same quarter in 2013.

The company's $US23 million net profit for the period compares to a loss of $US84 million a year earlier.

During the period BlackBerry continued to see unit sales to end users shrink, to about 2.6 million BlackBerry smartphones. A year earlier, the company said it sold 6.8 million smartphones, and in the previous quarter BlackBerry sold 3.4 million units.

BlackBerry had $US3.1 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short- and long-term investments at the end of quarter, compared to $US2.7 billion at the end of the previous three-month period.

The results were announced a day after Blackberry announced it had signed a deal with Amazon to integrate the retailer's store for Android apps with BlackBerry 10.3 OS, which will be released later this year.

The change lets consumers access a larger number of apps and leaves BlackBerry to focus on expanding the number of enterprise apps. CEO John Chen's plan to save the company relies more on software than hardware, with enterprise messaging and mobile management tools for its own OSes, Android and iOS.

For example, earlier this week BBM Protected, which lets users send encrypted instant messages, became available. It is the first application in BlackBerry's eBBM Suite, which will offer various kinds of secure messaging for enterprises. The current release works with BlackBerry smartphones running BB0S 6.0 or later or BlackBerry 10 in regulated work space mode only. Versions compatible with BlackBerry 10 Balance - which separates work and personal content and iOS and Android devices, are expected later this year.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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