The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Earnings]

Earnings are out and as expected the Street didn't like what it heard -- that is, it doesn't like companies that fail to gear themselves to the gills and punishes them.

Friday's closing price was, approximately, valuing the firm at its cash balance.  You got that right -- the market says the company has zero net assets (that is, assets less debt) and no forward value whatsoever.

This, despite the fact that Chen said he'd manage to keep his cash pile stable to slightly negative -- he actually increased it.

How?  Cost control while he acquires and amasses what he believes will be a critical mass among mobile (and possibly IoT) management clients.  We shall see -- but the company is not going bankrupt tomorrow, irrespective of how Wall Street values it.

Next up is the Priv, their new slider handset.  It will ship with Android, not BB10.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but analytically it might be a smart move.  BB10, for the last two years, has served me extraordinarily well and has matured very quickly.  It runs the vast majority of Android apps native including things like Waze, Google Maps and most of the financially-related things (such as ThinkOrSwim's trading app along with Schwab's, etc.)

Yes, there are a few that don't work -- Snapchat, for one.  Some of them are intentional on the part of the coders and some are due to bad practices on their part, but it doesn't matter from the standpoint of the user -- the app either doesn't run at all or blows up somewhere in use.  This has contributed to a much-overblown "app gap" view and badly dented BB10's appeal.

The BlackBerry Priv will change all of that, of course, since it will be Android.  And it is a spec-monster, which is going to get a lot of people's attention.  The Passport is to a degree, but this phone looks to be flat-out on top of the world in that regard, with a nice processor, 3Gb of memory, an 18Mp OIS-enabled camera (with a branded lens -- who knows if it will matter, but labels count in this world of idiocy you know) and more.  It should also have all-day durability in terms of battery, the screen is large and high-pixel, and of course it has the slide-out keyboard while not getting rid of the SD card slot -- which so many modern phones have.

The question will be what BlackBerry does to get rid of some of the biggest issues with Android and bring over the best of BB10.  Specifically the Hub, a decent email client and a working calendar, which has always been a shortcoming on Android devices.  In addition I will be watching very carefully to see if the auto-VPN configuration set up for saved WiFi connections comes with it -- it had better, as that's one of the big "hardening" things that BB10 does for you and the others do not.

What's so amusing about this is that at the much-smaller scale BlackBerry operates in terms of market cap if they sell 10 million of these a year it'll be a smash hit.  If they sell 20 or 30 million it will be screaming, runaway success story.

They may well do it too, since it will be an Android device, there will no "app gap", and it looks to be the spec-monster that all the "fanboies" want even though that really doesn't get you much in the real world.

Expect it to be expensive; I'm looking forward to this, in point of fact, as I do suspect this is the device that has to succeed for BlackBerry to remain in the hardware business -- and I like them there.

Still loving my Passport, by the way.

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