BlackBerry is still in a turnaround mode, but has a lot of things going for it.
One of the problems however, is that most of these new products and services will be rolled out by the end of the year.
So at the current time there is not much to get investors excited. However keep in mind that markets are forward looking.
The market and will be keeping an eye on the company, and if it thinks it will be gaining traction, it will make its move sooner.
To begin with, let me say a few things about BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) recent quarterly results. On an EPS basis, the results literally blue past analyst estimates. As a reminder, the market was expecting a loss of $0.56 per share, and instead the company reported an adjusted loss of $0.08 per share. What this means is that BlackBerry is almost breaking even. In fact I now anticipate the company to make money much sooner than anticipated by the market.
As to the future, the company is doing all the right things in my book, the only problem is that all these things are still in fermentation.
For example, the Z3 is just about to go on sale in Indonesia and it will take some time to see in which other markets the device will go on sale. It will take at least one quarter to see how it is doing, and at least several other quarters to see if the device gains traction in other markets.
The new device, code named Q20, BlackBerry's new device with a 3.5" touchscreen QWERTY keyboard is targeted to be released in Q4 2014. So we will not see any sales until Q1 of 2015.
As I have said in the past, many enterprise users have been reluctant to upgrade to BlackBerry because of going concern doubts. However that's not the only reason. As John Chen explained in the latest quarterly conference call, customers are complaining of the need to have two platforms to manage devices.
In order for customers to be able to handle both newer and older generation devices, they need to deploy both BES 10 and BES 5. That has been a deterrent for many corporate users because they don't want the hassle. I mean it's bad enough if you want to migrate and update several thousand devices, having the hassle of upgrading to a new software environment is too much (from the looks of it).
So BlackBerry will make available by the end of the year BES 12, that will be able to manage all types of devices in addition to older and new generation BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry will also offer free upgrades for BlackBerry customers and free migrations for companies on competing MDM platforms.
Do I think that this will help BlackBerry sell more devices (and at a premium) in addition to more services? Yes I do. However just as the Z3 and the Z20, BES 12 is at least three quarters away and will not really know how things turn out by Q1 2015.
Yesterday the company announced that it took a stake in healthcare IT leader NantHealth. The healthcare regulated industry is very big business. In fact it is an up and coming industry, and is only recently evolving. I stayed over several nights at a friend's apartment in lower Manhattan several weeks ago (after visiting Harvard with the Greek Minister of Health to talk about the situation in Greece), and he has a startup company in the same line of business, the regulated health industry.
I was amazed at the complications involving how information is handled and processed in this business. Make no mistake folks, this is a multibillion dollar business that is still in its early stages. And because the safety of information and message handling are BlackBerry's specialty, I think we will all be surprised at the revenue and profits to be had in this industry several years from now. And BlackBerry will be right in the middle of it.
Finally, did anyone pay close attention to BlackBerry's announcement just yesterday? This news announcement really gives you a good grasp of the possibilities in the future. Among other things:
Volker Stevin, one of the largest heavy civil and highway maintenance contractors in Western Canada, is deploying BES10 and BlackBerry 10 smartphones as the company's sole EMM solution. "We have hundreds of employees on and off the field, and they all require one thing - fast, secure and consistent communication tools," said Mike Philip, Wireless Program Manager, Volker Stevin. "We evaluated other MDM solutions like MobileIron and AirWatch, but BES10 was a clear winner in terms of being more user-friendly and cost-effective. BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BES10 allow us to improve operational efficiency with security capabilities that are second to none.
Or how about this:
The City of Waterloo worked with BlackBerry to develop the Ping Street mobile application on the BlackBerry OS platform. The first-of-its-kind mobile application provides Waterloo citizens real-time access to location-based information including garbage and recycling calendars, construction detours, road closures and more.
And how does BBM fit in?
The City of Waterloo has also embraced BBM™ to stay connected and share secure real-time updates and news with its employees during emergency situations. BBM™ Groups used during emergencies sped up response time and drastically improved collaboration and critical communication during emergency incidents. "BlackBerry 10 devices are by far some of the best business smartphones available. While they deliver tangible productivity benefits and iron-clad security standards, our whole crew from planners to bylaw personnel to firefighters can also enjoy all the benefits of a cutting-edge device with all the enterprise apps they need at their fingertips," said Max Min, Director of Information Management and Technology Services, City of Waterloo.
I mean if you start thinking of the possibilities, they are literally endless.
The bottom line is that BlackBerry has the goods for shares to see higher prices, however most of the goods, that will propel shares higher will take several quarters to ferment. In the mean time, I think management is doing a great job focusing on the important things and laying the groundwork for the future, as well as doing a very good job in money management.
So when will we pop the cork and drink some bubbly? This is hard to tell, however please keep in mind that markets discount future activity today. So while we will not see much in terms of increased revenue or profits before Q1 of 2015, the market will be looking at BlackBerry very closely, and will not wait until Q1 of 2015 if it thinks (Like I do) that the company will gain traction, but will probably make its move on the stock sooner.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.