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Why BlackBerry Stock Just Popped

By Rich Smith - Mar 9, 2021 at 4:27PM

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These press releases sound great, but how important are they, really?

What happened

Shares of onetime smartphone maker and now security software specialist BlackBerry Limited (BB 2.21%) jumped nearly 10% in early trading on the NYSE, before retreating to a still respectable 6.7% gain as of 3:40 p.m. EST.

Why did BlackBerry jump? Two explanations stand out.

Stock up. Hand draws rising stock chart in red colored pencil

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

First, this morning, BlackBerry announced that it is offering new "technology advancements" to its BlackBerry AtHoc software that will "improve how U.S. Federal agencies communicate and collaborate during times of crisis, and reduce the risk of unauthorized access to Federal data, systems, and applications." Designed to prevent credential theft and social engineering attacks in particular, the company says its advancements "will allow Federal customers to ensure authentication and authorization to sensitive data when using the app for instant messaging, sending or responding to notifications."  

In a separate announcement, BlackBerry says that it is teaming up with Chinese automotive electronics contractor Desay SV Automotive to launch a "dual-screen virtual smart cabin domain controller" that it says will "enable safer driving" by separating an electric car's entertainment functions from its "critical systems," such that if the one fails, the other will not.  

Now what

Now, both these announcements sound positive for BlackBerry, but it's worth pointing out that neither one contains any estimation of the revenue, or profit benefits BlackBerry expects them to produce. For example, while BlackBerry boasts that its "QNX technology" is "embedded in more than 175 million vehicles on the road today," it does not say how partnering with Desay will grow that number appreciably.

As such, it's hard to say whether the $400 million increase in BlackBerry's market capitalization today is really justified by the company's PRs. Unless the company can prove differently, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be guided instead by the fact that BlackBerry lost money last year, that analysts are forecasting an even bigger loss this year -- and more losses as far out as anyone is making estimates.  

And no, I'm not terribly optimistic about BlackBerry.

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