BlackBerry continues its gentle slide even as software sales embiggen

Strong showing for that and services in Q1 '19 results

BlackBerry's Q1 FY19 revenues are down 9 per cent year-on-year, though nearly 90 per cent of that came from software and services sales.

The latest quarter's software and services of $189m were up 18 per cent year-on-year, comparing to the one-time mobile behemoth's overall revenues of $213m. However, the company's net loss for this quarter – the three months to May 31, 2018 – was $60m.

Last year overall revenues for Q1 were $235m.

Year-ago figures included a one-off payment of $940m from Qualcomm, the result of an arbitration settlement over per-device royalties. That deal had been struck in 2010 before sales of BlackBerry devices collapsed in 2013. BlackBerry then argued the terms were excessive.

BlackBerry withdrew from manufacturing or selling phones in 2016 with the lion's share of the global market licensed to Chinese giant TCL, which is now host to BlackBerry Mobile.

Another Dolby-style IP licensing programme snagged the Bullitt Group, which markets ruggedised Android phones for brands including Caterpillar – such as the Cat infrared phone – Land Rover and Kodak.

Bullitt will now gain BlackBerry Secure certification, which means the devices – not necessarily phones – will conform to BlackBerry's secure manufacturing specifications.

Swiss consumer electronics firm Punkt signed up for the certification in March.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said this week that BlackBerry was seeking more independent software vendors and services partners for its enterprise offerings. He affirmed today that the company is hoping to raise gross margins into the 80 to 85 per cent range.

Despite shedding the phone business, BlackBerry still recorded $8m in the devices category.

More on the financials, released today, can be read in this corporate PDF. ®

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