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Here's a quick look at the balance sheet.

Cash and equivalents are down about 2.5% from last quarter; assets (overall) are down about 1/2%.  Effectively flat.

Net liabilities are up slightly, but not materially (under 4%.)  They are down materially from last March (~20%.)

In short this does not look bad on the top level at all.  There was a reduction in revenue but it was offset by a huge decrease in cost of sales; from $484 million to $376, or $108 million.  Sales decreased by $123 million, which was almost completely absorbed by reductions in cost-of-sales.

Operating loss (before taxes) on a GAAP basis narrowed to $160 million from $218, a roughly 25% improvement..  That's nothing to sneeze at; remember this is a firm that lost a literal $5.4 billion last year at this same time (over nine months); that has now been cut over the same nine month period to $332 million.

On a non-GAAP basis (excluding the dva on their debentures) the firm made a small operating profit.

There is an interesting comparison in the detailed data -- unit volume from last year was up slightly, which is encouraging given that the Passport was only available for part of the quarter and the Classic had not yet been released.  The Z10 was effectively EOL'd at this point as well; most of the hardware appears to have been Passports and (presumably) Z3s, plus clearance of the older Z10 and Q10 inventory.  As such ASP appears to have been lower.  This will not be true on forward quarters as the Z10 inventory is now depleted and it's quite significant.

In addition the free pass on BES12 is ending now and thus revenue will come online from those customers.  How many of them will pay is an unknown, but none of the other alternatives are free -- and BlackBerry's pricing is very competitive.  This should result in material improvement in service revenue beginning next quarter as well.

Here's the bottom line, after reading the entire release: Chen said he would reach cash-flow break-even next year.  He did it this year.  He has said he would release two new BB10 devices this year, a high-spec keyboard unit (the Passport) and a mid-spec intended to replace the Bold for people still on it (the Classic), and has done both -- on time.

And by the way, the Passport rocks.  

I love mine.

What Chen has said he would do, he has done.  He has tailwinds on earnings going forward due to the rundown of inventory that they had to write off; ASPs and hardware margins should improve.  BES12 license revenue comes onstream this quarter and forward; I peg that at somewhere around $300 million (annualized) and growing.  I have no clue what the other enhanced services are worth, but I would not be surprised to see another $200 million (annualized, again) in revenue from them.

This puts the firm solidly in the black given the cost reductions, as those revenues are all high (90%+) margin businesses.  It also completely ignores the recent Ford win with QNX in their cars starting with the next model year -- a small piece of revenue, but if that spreads (and if it works well it will, given how terrible other options are these days.....)

Can BlackBerry still blow it?  Sure.  You can always blow it no matter how good things look.

But remember, when Chen took the company it was assumed it was going to be sold off for parts.  I don't see that now, and I expect in the middle to second half of 2015 you'll see a 16x9 format phone to take the place of the Z-30; a high-spec device similar to the Passport in power but perhaps in a slider form-factor.

When you've got a tiny market penetration it doesn't take much of a mass-defection to win big.  Consider what happens when, despite the claims of Google and Apple, there's a major security incident with their devices on someone else's MDM platform (or none at all.)

Could that double BlackBerry's market share overnight -- or more?  You bet it could, and if that was to happen the company, and stock price, would skyrocket.

As it stands, even without what I suspect is going to happen to their competitors given sufficient time I'll take slow, steady -- and profitable.

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Who remembers Myspace?

A report today by Frank N. Magid Associates Inc. found that the portion of 13- to 17-year-old social-media users in the U.S. on Facebook slipped to 88 percent this year from 94 percent in 2013 and 95 percent in 2012. In the same period, Twitter Inc. and messaging applications rose in popularity in that age group, the study showed.

That's a fairly material drop, and it portends bad things.

Here's the thing -- what tends to happen with "social media" is that they appear to "plateau" in terms of daily active users but engagement falls -- and this is an easy metric to game for the company (thus they have every reason to do so.)

But the fade-to-black is in fact happening -- and is happening here too.  When you get into the single digits on "safe" or "trustworthy", well..... and Facebook has.

The happy face on people like Cramer who's spouting on CNBS this morning.... well, just remember his stellar record in the early part of 2000.

You have to look forward, and the reality of Facebook is that the lack of trust (earned by Zukerburglar, and justly so) will eventually blow up in his face.

It is simply a matter of time.

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I have to chuckle at what passes for journalism when it comes to tech these days.

Such as this "panning" review of the BlackBerry Classic.

Browsing the web is easier on the Classic than on previous models, but it is still a lousy experience when compared to the iPhone or Android devices. By far the biggest problem is still the chronic lack of apps. The range on offer from the Amazon and BlackBerry app stores is still incredibly poor. Want to check in for your Delta flight or work out how to get to your next meeting on public transport? Forget it.

Oh really?

Well, let's dispel a few stupids, particularly the above one.

Why do you want a "Delta" app?

You want one on your Android device because the browser sucks so badly that you can't just use their web site like you would at your desk.

But -- the BlackBerry 10 browser is excellent, including HTML5 compliance.  It therefore works just fine for that purpose, and what's better is that unlike the "Delta" app it works for all the airlines instead of just one!

Never mind not needing to clog up your device with a whole bunch of different apps (for the different carriers.)

But this misses the essential point, which is what BlackBerry has accomplished when it comes to travel, as just one example.

So let's say you do book a flight on your browser using the phone, or get a boarding pass (that's emailed to you, or you save as a PDF.)  BlackBerry Travel will automatically pick that up and start tracking it, showing you the gate the flight comes into on the other end (or where it's leaving from), sometimes more-quickly than the board changes in the airport itself!

Or let's say you're traveling by car.  You book a hotel.  Travel picks it up off the emailed confirmation all on its own and gives you one-touch routing via the mapping software in the handset; push a button and drive with it guiding you by voice.

Neither Android or IOS offers that sort of integration -- the sort that saves you time.

Oh sure, you can punch in the address of the hotel on any phone, but with the BB10 handsets you don't have to because the phone scans your email, finds anything travel related and populates it for you.  When it comes to hotels it will also look in the immediate surrounding area and suggest that you consider changing your reservation if a cheaper option exists across the street -- and it frequently does!

10.3.1, which is shipping with the Classic and will be officially available for the other BB10 devices shortly (it's already available if you're willing to handload it) continues to make major improvements over what originally showed up as "BB10."  Among other things Android app notifications now come through in the Hub and background operation is supported for them (and equally importantly you can choose to disable it on a per-app basis!)  One of the big complaints about Android apps that have a "background" component has always been that they chew up your battery at a ridiculous rate; only BB10 lets you choose to block execution when the app is in a tile rather than having focus -- and stop that.  With Android your only choice is to not have the app at all.

The key take-away to focus on is "why do I need an "app" for each hotel chain and airline when the browser is perfectly competent to handle it?"

I don't.

Or, if you prefer, "What would you say in response if Microsoft told you that you needed an 'app' for Delta to book a flight on your DESKTOP computer?"  I suspect your answer would be a one-finger salute.

What I do need in a PDA-cum-smartphone is a cross-company travel management package so that my flight, rental car and hotel data is all in one place irrespective of which company is providing each service to me on a trip and I get that with BlackBerry as it's built in and has been since the original BB10 launch.

99% of the time when I go somewhere I drive rather than fly, but the point is the same.  I just got back from a 3,000 mile driving trip about a week ago and when I booked each hotel BlackBerry Travel picked it up automatically, offering to route me there with the push of a button -- and when I asked it to do so the phone's nav system flawlessly delivered me to the front vestibule to check in.

Incidentally, this is not unique to the Classic or Passport.  It's been true since the Z10 launched.

Try that with the stock software that comes with your Android or Apple handset.

You can't -- and that's just one of the many examples where the FT article misses the mark.

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That might be unwise....

About halfway through his FedTalks presentation, Halvorsen held up his personal mobile device. “We’re just about ready to tell everybody you can have one of these,” he said. “This is still a Blackberry, still a government-provided device, but now I have personal space on this. I have my personal email, I have personal apps. One device integrated with the personal side of the business. That’s a big thing for us to do because I think it’s an admission that our workforce, both civilian and military … particularly the younger part of our workforce … is demanding different things. We’ve got to accommodate that somewhat.”

If you remember back in 2013 I first discussed the "ATO" that BES10 had received for the DOD -- and that it, along with the BB10 handsets, were the only ones allowed on the network with no conditions on the "personal" side of the device.

There are other handsets that now have ATO clearance -- but not without conditions, including ones that would basically cripple what people think of as their "personal smartphone" (e.g. no camera capability, for instance, or no apps other than those specifically approved.

Now add to this the fact that it appears that one of the conditions for Germany's government to approve SecuSmart's acquisition by BlackBerry was that no government be permitted to interfere with BlackBerry's encryption, including but not limited to Germany's -- or the US.

Ah.... the game may be afoot - and not just in the DOD either.  How many businesses would find that security posture with the full backing of a major government, in this case Germany, to be quite comforting?

I suspect the answer is many rather than "few."

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Get rid of your crApple device and move to a BlackBerry Passport.

You'll get up to $400 for your trade plus BlackBerry is tossing in another $150 (irrespective of the traded device) to sweeten the pie.

Oh, and you get a real smartphone.

That's also an unlocked and carrier-agnostic phone, and thus unlike the "deals" offered by the various carriers does not bind you to a contract or extend an existing one.

(The Passport currently is NOT Verizon or Sprint compatible due to their bastard-child hybrid CDMA implementations; BlackBerry did not make a specific model for them.)

Deal starts December 1st.

For those without an iPhone to trade in you can buy the Passport for $499 unlocked, no-contract as well through either Amazon or the shopblackberry direct store from now until December 1st.

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