BlackBerry inches towards safety despite smartphone slump

From the looks of BlackBerry's newest earnings report, it looks as if CEO Jon Chen's plan to transform the company into a software-and-services company might actually be working. The company posted a quarterly net loss of $207 million, pocket change compared to the $950 million that the other guy lost in the same period the year before. The reason for the healthier spreadsheet is thanks to growth in the company's services arm, which managed to sell 3.4 million licenses of its BlackBerry Enterprise Service in three months - nearly three times the amount sold during the previous three months.

BlackBerry's quiet revolution comes at the expense of its smartphone business, however, where sales dipped down to 2.1 million for the quarter, down from 2.6 million in June. The way the business is split now, it's a near 50-50 split between devices and services, although we imagine that balance to tip in favor of the latter over time. That is, unless the company's new hip-to-be-square Passport phone rejuvenates BlackBerry's standing with the business community. There's even good news to be found in the corporate piggy-bank, since the cash and investment balance increased, albeit only by $11 million. Still, given that investors were expecting BlackBerry to post a loss-per-share of $0.16, the fact that the actual figure was $0.02 shows that some (small) celebration is in order. It's also a sign that the company is still on course to actually start making money at some point next year.