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BlackBerry results not as bad as they possibly could have been

Not even time for a beer yet though, far less champagne

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Year-end financial results from BlackBerry appear to show a company stemming the losses and slowly gaining ground, but with a very long climb ahead and no proof it's going to make it.

Revenue for the year ending March 2 was $11.1bn, resulting in a loss of $646m, which is grim compared to last years' profit of $1.1bn - but wasn't as bad as the markets had expected. Clever use of tax rebates also made the last quarter profitable, turning an operational $18m loss into a $98m profit, but the company isn't out of the woods yet.

Critically the numbers don't reflect sales of the Z10, the first device using BlackBerry's new OS: it was only on sale for the last month of the quarter but we're told that a million of them are in punters' hands despite the US launch being less than a week ago and thus not included.

BlackBerry also sold five million older handsets in the last three months, but despite that the user base continues to decline with another three million abandoning the platform - leaving 76 million users globally.

The company formerly known as RIM also managed to offload 370,000 PlayBook tablets, but with Debenhams punting them out at less than ninety quid that's not really surprising - at that price it knocks the Android equivalent for six.

The share price took the rollercoaster ride which is becoming familiar to BlackBerry shareholders, jumping by eight per cent before the markets opened, then settling down to a single percentage point drop as the news sank in. It's a pattern attributed to stock being held by "short sellers", who are betting on a BlackBerry collapse and who, according to CNN Money, hold about a third of the company's stock.

They'll be disappointed by these results (pdf, as interesting as one would expect) which show a company which has placed its chips on the table and is waiting to see what sort of hand it gets dealt - something we won't know until the US (and global) sales figures for BlackBerry 10 come out in three months time. ®

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