April 3, 2017 Last Updated 10:15 am

BlackBerry hopes licensing will lead to new products such as tablets and wearables

The former leader in smartphones reported fourth quarter earnings above analyst estimates, but still saw its revenue fall dramatically, while now hoping to more aggressive license its brand

The Canadian based company BlackBerry, which today brands itself a “mobile-native security software and services company,” said last week that it would be beginning a licensing strategy which it hopes would lead to BlackBerry branded “tablets, wearables, medical devices, appliances, point-of-sale terminals and other smartphones.”

“There is an incredible opportunity for connected devices to improve lives, but to realize its full potential, privacy and security must be embedded in every end point from the start. For example, companies providing medical monitoring devices must protect health data on the device, guarantee it connects securely to the healthcare system, and most importantly ensure that it cannot be hacked, BlackBerry Secure helps solve this triple threat,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. “We have taken a long-term and thoughtful approach to our licensing strategy, which includes an expansive view of the entire Enterprise of Things ecosystem. As part of this strategy, we will work with a wide range of manufacturers to integrate BlackBerry Secure software into both BlackBerry-branded and co-branded devices.”

The announcement came on the same day (Friday) that the company reported its fourth quarter earnings. Revenue and earnings were better than analyst forecasts which made BlackBerry’s stock jump in value.

North American revenue fell to $166 million, compared to $216 million a year ago. Total revenue fell 38 percent, from $64 million a year ago to $286 million in the quarter just ended. BlackBerry also saw no holiday quarter bump in sales.

What likely really helped the stock was the company’s guidance.

“Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, we expect to grow at or above the overall market in our software business. We also expect to be profitable on a non-GAAP basis and to generate positive free cash flow for the full year,” said Chen.

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