Failing smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) has been keeping a low profile since the firm hired turnaround artist John Chen to run the company early in November. Shares of the company’s stock are down 11% since Chen’s appointment, not exactly what BlackBerry’s board was hoping for. And it gets worse — the stock hit a 10-year low today.
Chen was hired to replace former CEO Thorstein Hein after Blackberry failed to find a buyer for the company. The same day Chen’s appointment was announced BlackBerry also said that it had received a cash infusion of $1 billion from an unnamed group of institutional investors including the company’s former board chairman Prem Watsa.
That cash won’t last long, and almost certainly not long enough for Chen to work his magic. He said earlier this month that BlackBerry is still committed to the handset business, but will focus its attention on business-oriented software, the BlackBerry Messenger service, and whatever it means by “embedded systems.”
BlackBerry lost $1.2 billion in its most recent fiscal year and remaining committed to the handset business only means that the losses will keep piling up. Running the company is going to turn into a race to see which happens first: the software initiatives make some profit or the handset business burns through all the cash.
The company is scheduled to release third fiscal quarter results on December 20th. A week before its last earnings announcement BlackBerry gave a warning on earnings and it appears that investors don’t need or want to wait any longer for another dose of bad news from what was once the market share leader in smartphones.
Shares dropped to a 10-year low of $5.73 earlier on Monday before recovering a penny in the late afternoon. The stock’s 52-week high is $18.32.