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Blackberry is exploring options for its business, which could see the company sold off.
Timothy Dattels, a Blackberry board member, will head a new committee that will consider different business models, including partnerships.
The smartphone maker wants to increase sales of its Blackberry 10 model, seen as crucial to the future of the company.
“We believe that now is the right time to explore strategic alternatives,” said Timothy Dattels.
“During the past year, management and the board have been focused on launching the Blackberry 10 platform and BES 10, establishing a strong financial position and evaluating the best approach to delivering long-term value for customers and shareholders.”
Blackberry is exploring options for its business, which could see the company sold off
Prem Watsa, chairman of Blackberry’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, resigned from the board as the formation of the committee was announced. Prem Watsa said he wanted to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
“I continue to be a strong supporter of the company, the board and management as they move forward through this process, and Fairfax Financial has no current intention of selling its shares,” he said.
Blackberry has struggled in recent years to regain market share lost to Apple and users of Google’s Android operating system.
“It’s quite surprising to see a statement like this made publically,” said Francisco Jeronimo from the technology research firm IDC.
“Everyone knows that they’ve been struggling and looking at their options. It’s clear that they haven’t been able to find anyone who wants to buy or form a partnership.
“Blackberry has very strong assets and is one of the most recognized portfolios in the industry.
“The question now is how much they’re asking and what’s on offer.”
Shares in the company rose by more than 5% as the news of the committee formation emerged.
The company dropped its Research in Motion name in January 2013 and rebranded as Blackberry, to coincide with the launch of the Blackberry 10 model.
In its most recent quarter, Blackberry lost $84 million and expects to lose more money in the three months to the end of August.
Blackberry maker shares have dived after it reported an $84 million loss for the three months to June 1st 2013.
The figure was better than the $518 million loss for the same period last year, but much worse than analysts’ forecasts.
Research In Motion (RIM), based in Ontario, Canada, also said it would post an operating loss for the next quarter running to September.
Blackberry shares fell 25% in early trading in New York.
Shipments of new smartphones increased, but Blackberry, which used to be called Research In Motion, did not release how many new handsets running the BB10 operating system were sold in the quarter.
Chief executive Thorstein Heins said the company was continuing to focus on the global roll-out of BB10 and was confident it would be a hit with customers.
“We are still in the early stages of this launch, but already, the Blackberry 10 platform and Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 are proving themselves to customers to be very secure, flexible and dynamic mobile computing solutions,” he said in a statement.
Blackberry maker shares have dived after it reported an $84 million loss for Q1 2013
Thorstein Heins added that the group would be increasing investments to support the roll-out of new products and services over the next three quarters.
Revenue rose to $3.1 billion in the quarter from $2.8 billion a year earlier.
Analysts had been particularly keen to see the numbers for the new Z10 handset, as it was the first full quarter that the model had been on sale in the United States.
Blackberry launched two all-new smartphones this year, the touchscreen Z10 device, followed by the Q10, with a mini keyboard favored by many Blackberry users.
Blackberry said that it had shipped 6.8 million phones overall in its first quarter versus 7.8 million in the same three-month period last year.
“It doesn’t bode well for the initial Blackberry 10 launch, particularly the Z10. But even the outlook for a second-quarter loss doesn’t bode well for the Q10 either,” said Brian Colello, an analyst with Morningstar.
Blackberry has been battling stiff competition in the smartphone sector, and has struggled to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Daniel Ernst from Hudson Square Research said the company fell between two camps.
“They’re not the high-end provider any more, they’re not Apple. They’re not the low-end provider, they’re not Nokia. So they are in the middle and they do relatively low volumes,” he said.
“It’s difficult to make great margins on that kind of volume, so I would say the outlook is quite negative.”
BlackBerry announces it has sold one million of its new Z10 smartphones in Q4 2012.
In better than expected results BlackBerry said it made profits of $98 million in the last quarter of 2012, after posting a big loss for the same period last year.
The Z10 handset is seen as crucial to the future of BlackBerry, which has struggled to keep up with new Apple and Android phones.
BlackBerry has sold one million of its new Z10 smartphones in Q4 2012
BlackBerry Z10 has been on sale for a month in the UK, Canada and other markets.
The Z10 went on sale with little fanfare a week ago in the US, BlackBerry’s most important market.
BlackBerry reports 1 million Z10 sales, but the figures do not include US sales.
BlackBerry was previously called Research In Motion (RIM), but changed its name last year.
Analysts greeted the results cautiously, saying that it was too early to judge the success of the Z10 and its sister device the Q10.
Earlier in the week, BlackBerry shares were hit when two major US brokerages expressed disappointment with the US launch of the Z10.
In a note to its clients, Citigroup described BlackBerry launch as “a big disappointment”.
The BlackBerry results also showed the company lost three million users over the year. Its handsets are now used by 76 million people, down from 79 million 12 months ago.
In total, BlackBerry said it shipped a total of around six million handsets in the three months to early March.
Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been ordered to pay $147 million in damages after losing a patents case.
A jury in San Francisco upheld claims by Mformation Technologies Inc that RIM infringed patents it took out in 1999.
The software involved allows companies to access employees’ mobile phones remotely for upgrades, password changes or to delete data.
The fine was calculated by the judge as $8 per Blackberry device in use since the claims were first filed in 2008.
“We believe [the patents have] been fundamental to the success of Research in Motion,” said Amar Thakur, a lawyer for the winning side.
The damages only relate to royalties on past sales in the US, and does not cover future sales or sales outside the US.
A jury in San Francisco upheld claims by Mformation Technologies Inc that RIM infringed patents it took out in 1999
“Mformation created the mobile device management category in the late 1990s and was innovating in this area well before most of the market understood the fundamental importance of wireless mobility management,” said the firm’s founder Rakesh Kushwaha in a press release.
The case adds to RIM’s problems. Since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, sales in the Canadian firm’s core Western market have been steadily declining.
The company is cutting 5,000 jobs – almost a third of its workforce.
RIM said in a press release that it was: “disappointed by the outcome and is evaluating all legal options.
“Additionally, the trial judge has yet to decide certain legal issues that might impact the verdict. RIM will await those rulings before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.”
Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry smartphone, has warned it will make a loss in its latest quarter and make “significant” job cuts.
RIM also said it was hiring JPMorgan and RBC Capital Markets to help with a “strategic review” of the business.
It has lost ground as its traditional business clients have switched to iPhones or Android phones.
RIM shares fell 10% in after-hours trading.
Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry smartphone, has warned it will make a loss in its latest quarter and make "significant" job cuts
Some have speculated that the strategic review may lead to a sale of the firm.
“The on-going competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace, and we expect our first-quarter results to reflect this, and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter,” chief executive Thorsten Heins said.
“There will be significant spending reductions and headcount reductions in some areas throughout the remainder of the fiscal year,” he added.
In the last financial year, RIM made a net profit of $1.2 billion, down from $3.4 billion in the previous year.
Thorsten Heins added: “Our global subscriber base continued to grow this quarter to approximately 78 million, driven primarily by growth in international markets, which is partially offset by high churn in the United States.”
Once heralded as one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, RIM has struggled to keep up with rivals in the smartphone market, such as Apple’s iPhone and handsets running on Google’s Android operating system.
It has also struggled to gain a foothold in the tablet market.
The launch of Blackberry 10, expected later this year, and a much-delayed new operating system, are expected to be crucial to its turnaround plan.