In a delayed regulatory filing issued on Tuesday evening, the smartphone maker BlackBerry revealed that customers are turning against its products in what had been its one remaining bright spot, the developing world.
“The intense competition impacting the company’s financial and operational results that previously affected demand in the United States market is now being experienced globally,” the troubled BlackBerry said, “including in international markets where the company has historically experienced rapid growth.”
BlackBerry attributed its slowdown in those markets to an increase in inexpensive phones based on Google’s Android operating system. But it also cited a factor behind its severe decline in the United States: the relative paucity of desirable software apps for its phones.
The information was contained in a written discussion from BlackBerry’s management of the company’s financial results for last quarter. Normally, it would have been included in those results, which were issued last Friday. But BlackBerry delayed its release and canceled a customary conference call with analysts, citing a highly conditional, nonbinding bid from its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto.
Despite BlackBerry's reversal in developing markets, Europe, the Middle East and Africa overtook the United States, historically BlackBerry’s main market, during the quarter. The company’s North American sales were $414 million, or 26% of its revenue for the period. The region including Africa brought in $686 million, about 42%.
BlackBerry on Friday reported a loss of nearly $1 billion for the quarter, much of it coming from a write-down of inventory of the new line of phones using the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which were supposed to be potent competitors against Android phones and Apple’s iPhones.
The regulatory filing details the fall of BlackBerry’s hardware business. During the quarter, sales of phones declined by $942 million, or 55%, compared with the same period a year earlier. Although most of the BlackBerrys sold during the quarter were older models using the BlackBerry 7 system, the company affirmed plans to discontinue them to focus on four versions of the new phones. The BlackBerry Z10, which introduced the new line in January, will be downgraded to become the company’s low-priced touch-screen