A sign is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, Ontario, in this file photo taken September 23, 2013.
Embattled smartphone maker BlackBerry saw no rest to a weary year, as the company was forced to take a massive $4.4 billion writedown on unsold inventory in its fiscal third quarter -- including on the device that it hoped would lead to its salvation.
In a sign that BlackBerry isn't yet prepared to give up on the consumer market, it struck a partnership with Foxconn -- the Taiwan-based manufacturer that is the linchpin of Apple's electronics building efforts. According to BlackBerry, Foxconn will help the beleaguered company develop consumer-focused smartphones for Indonesia, as well as "other fast-growing markets" next year.
The Toronto-based company on Friday reported a net loss of $4.4 billion, or $8.37 a share, in the quarter ended November 30. That compares to Wall Street expectations of a quarterly loss excluding items of 44 cents a share on $1.59 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. Revenue for the quarter plunged 24 percent from the previous quarter, to $1.2 billion.
In November, the company jettisoned Thorsten Heins from his perch as chief executive, while simultaneously ending a buyout agreement with Fairfax Financial, opting instead for a $1 billion infusion of cash from a group of investors.
Despite the rough quarter, CEO John Chen believes the company can be profitable by 2016.
"[We] need to see the growth in FY 2016...it cannot be just from cost and containment and so forth, although we seem to be doing pretty (well) there," Chen said in an exclusive interview with CNBC on Friday.
Chen also touted Blackberry's secure products, including the Blackberry Messenger system.
"The focus of the overall company is shifting toward enterprise, government customers and software services. The idea is to control the cost associated with the devices business and figure out how to get that as profitable as possible."
Earlier this month, Chen wrote in an open letter to customers that the company is "very much alive," saying reports of the company's demise are "greatly exaggerated." He reiterated its dedication to multiplatform mobile device management and enterprise mobility management.
A former CEO at Sybase, which was acquired by SAP, Chen was appointed to his post last month.
"I think the market needs Blackberry to do well," he said. "This is a huge challenge and I love challenges."
BlackBerry CEO: We're 'very much alive, thank you'
Reuters contributed to this report.
First published December 20 2013, 4:48 AM