BlackBerry CEO John Chen tried to paint a bright face on the company’s financial future at the company’s virtual annual general meeting on Tuesday.
“I am positive we are on the right path,” he told shareholders during the online meeting, although in March the Waterloo, Ont.-based company reported losing $734 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) in the fiscal 2023 year, compared to a profit the previous year of $12 million.
He partly blamed the rise of interest rates for the fact that revenue dropped to $656 million from $665 million in fiscal 2022, an 8.6 per cent plunge. That was better than the $621 million in revenue in 2021 but not near the $691 million in fiscal 2020.
Still, he said, the company’s compound annual revenue growth since 2015 has been 13 per cent.
As previously announced, BlackBerry is aiming at annual revenue by fiscal 2026 of at least $880 million. One of the drivers would be the BlackBerry Ivy automotive AI platform, co-developed with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which became available to car manufacturers earlier this month.
Chen repeated that the BlackBerry strategy he implemented of moving from consumer handsets to enterprise and IoT security will pay dividends. “We believe we are the number one in the world,” in car telematics, he said. On the cybersecurity side, he is “very pleased with the progress we are making.”
The worlds of IoT and cybersecurity will merge, he predicted, adding, “I hope if we achieve what we said we were going to do in providing cybersecurity and trust elements to the management and behaviour of endpoints .. that we have a rightful place in the decades to come.”
At the same time, he said, the company is proceeding with its previously announced review of its products, which may lead to a split of divisions. “We’re not just sticking our head in the sand and hoping everything will go smoothly,” Chen said. He had no news on the progress of the review.
UPDATE: Late this afternoon BlackBerry reported its latest quarterly financial results, saying it pulled in $363 million for the three months ending May 31st. That included $218 million from the sale of patents. It recorded a net loss of $11 million for the period.