BlackBerry Actually Making A Comeback But This Time It’s With Software Rather Than Hardware

It has been quite the tumultuous journey for BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM). After a series of failed attempts to claw its way back into relevance through various hardware releases and software strategies, BlackBerry sort of faded from view, at least in the media. What actually happened is that it pivoted to software almost exclusively, and found a potentially winning strategy in the process.

BlackBerry's latest financial results are promising. In the company's fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, it raked in $297 million, racing past the average estimate by analysts of $289.3 million. Of that tally, $193 million came from its software and services business. With these results, the company said it expects to be profitable on a non-GAAP basis for the second consecutive year.

Image Source: Flickr (Enrique Dans)

"I am pleased to report that our Q4 results came in at or above expectations in all major metrics," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "In the quarter, we continued to grow our mix of software and services revenue across the company. In turn, this allowed us to expand our operating margin and report positive free cash flow. In addition, our balance sheet continues to strengthen and benefit from reduced capital requirements with our focus on software and licensing."

Chen noted that the BlackBerry is gaining traction and call its most recent quarter one of its best ever for software billings. He also pointed to the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicle markets as driving forces in its financial comeback.

"In IOT appliances, we won new business and secured six new customer trials for Radar. We demonstrated our autonomous driving technology platform at CES 2017... Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, we expect to grow at or above the overall market in our software business. We also expect to be profitable on a non-GAAP basis and to generate positive free cash flow for the full year," Chen added.

BlackBerry is pinning its hopes on its QNX operating system for industrial markets. To that end, it formed a partnership with Ford Motors to develop self-driving card software. It also receive over 3,500 enterprise customer orders during the quarter, up 16.7 percent from the third quarter.