BlackBerry has an almost uncanny ability to not die when it’s been written off again and again. Today, the Pentagon has announced that it will install 80,000 BlackBerry handsets on its network by the end of January. According to Fox News, the new phones are part of the Pentagon’s “new mobile program for unclassified work.” BlackBerry’s shares soared 10% in midday trading on the news.
The Pentagon’s faith in BlackBerry gives the company the sort of credibility it needs to retain corporate clients and keep investors interested in its future — that it has one.
Today’s gains pushed BlackBerry temporarily north of the $10 per share mark. The company is trading at the time of writing a hair below that threshold. BlackBerry ended 2013 at $7.44, meaning it is up around 34% so far in 2014.
Given that we are less than a month into the year, that’s somewhat impressive.
BlackBerry has suffered from declining device sales, loss of corporate clients, and eroding mind share more than commensurate with its slipping unit volume. This Google Trends chart is telling, I think, showing the decline in interest in BlackBerry:
But whether BlackBerry could carve out a niche away from the consumer space, vending its hardware and software to large clients was never a closed question. The Pentagon’s installation plan of new BlackBerry devices certainly keeps the dream alive.
Unless, of course, the Pentagon is making a poor buying decision and BlackBerry’s future remains as cloudy as widely thought.
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