Understandable pessimism on BlackBerry's first-quarter loss turned out to be bit overstated, as CEO John Chen's belt-tightening efforts help to decrease the company's hemorrhaging well below the expectations of financial analysts.
Hired late in 2013, Chen seems to have kept his vow to turn around the struggling telecommunications company -- and he has been doing so, despite his hefty compensation. BlackBerry's shares rose more than 10 percent after the company confirmed that it managed to cut costs in the first fiscal quarter of the year, which ended May 31, 2014.
"We are getting very close to making money or at least break even on hardware. Not quite there yet, but close," Chen reportedly stated to investors on a conference call.
Chen's cost-cutting efforts haven't been painless, though there are very few analysts likely to argue against the measures. Some of Chen's measures to enhance BlackBerry's efficiency included cutting the company's workforce by more than 50 percent and liquidating property around the company's Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters.
Chen has steered the BlackBerry's focus away from manufacturing hardware and toward delivering services, a sector of the company that has risen from 26 percent of the company's revenue to account for 56 percent.
While the BlackBerry 10 has underwhelmed in terms of sales, Chen stated that the demand for the Z3 has caused the phone to sell out in Indonesia. As has been its tradition, BlackBerry still serves a devout following of enterprise users.
"People stay with BlackBerry because they're enterprise users -- there's high productivity and security. I would say 80 percent of that 50 million is this perfect base for us," stated Chen as he estimated the amount of BlackBerry's enterprise users.
For the latter part of 2014, BlackBerry planned to release new hardware and updated software. The BlackBerry Enterprise server has an update planned for late 2014 and the company plans to release a new phone that has a 4.5-inch screen and a compressed keypad.
Described by Chen as a pint-sized "phablet," BlackBerry stated it's plans to release its latest phone, the Passport, in London in late 2014 where Chen said he believed there was a more receptive market for large phones.
The late 2014 efforts are what Chen stated was the preparation of a firm foundation for 2015.
"We are at the tail end of of our restructuring program," Chen stated. "Everything we have been doing is laying the groundwork for revenue growth starting next year. This hasn't been so much about cutting costs, but it's so we don't do so many things at the same time."