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BlackBerry posts surprise profit, sells a million of hot-new Z10s

Reuters  Toronto, March 28, 2013
First Published: 17:17 IST(28/3/2013) | Last Updated: 20:34 IST(28/3/2013)

BlackBerry reported a surprise quarterly profit on Thursday, but its subscriber base fell slightly more than expected, and revenue remained far below year-earlier levels.

BlackBerry said net income in the fourth quarter was $98 million against a loss of $125 million in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected the company to report a loss in the quarter.

Yet the company, which has lost market share to rivals like Apple, is far from out of the woods. Quarterly revenue fell to $2.68 billion from $4.2 billion a year ago. Subscriber numbers also slipped to 76 million from 79 million as of December 1.

The smartphone maker's shares were down 1.4% at $14.35 in trading before the market opened, reversing a jump of 10% just after results came out.

The Canadian firm said it sold about 1 million of its new Z10 touchscreen smartphones in the fourth quarter ended March 2. It shipped roughly 6 million smartphones in that time.

The Z10 is the first in a line of devices powered by BlackBerry's new BB10 operating system. It is a key part of the company's attempt to regain relevance and win back market share in the smartphone arena that it once dominated.

The company also surprised investors by saying it believes it will approach break-even financial results in its first quarter, based on a lower cost base, more efficient supply chain and improved hardware margins.

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