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Investors: BlackBerry Ltd. Has Revenue Streams Beyond the Hardware Business

BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) has more than a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

For as long as anyone following BlackBerry can recall, focus on the company’s turnaround has been measured in terms of hardware sales. While CEO John Chen has done a superb job in making the company more competitive in the EMM realm and of reminding corporations about BlackBerry’s renewed focus on the enterprise market, the hardware division seems to always come up unfairly as the measure of success, or, more frequently, failure.

The company released the Android-powered Priv smartphone late last year to largely positive reviews and, unlike other device releases over the past few years, there is genuine interest in the device beyond the faithful BlackBerry users that stuck with the company.

Since that initial release, the company has been gradually rolling out the device to more carriers around the globe and continues to be a source of intrigue by onlookers when it’s spotted in public, much like iPhone and Android flagships.

Even better, BlackBerry is firmly committed to patching the Android operating system on the device through monthly security updates. This is a welcome change from the fragmented and often neglected releases from other device manufacturers.

It’s more than just the hardware

While all signs point to the Priv being more of a success than previous device releases, it may still be a far cry from being a profitable release for the company. Rather than waiting and hoping for sales, BlackBerry has reached out and signed a revenue-bearing agreement with International Game Technology PLC (IGT) which will permit IGT to use power-charging technology that BlackBerry has patented in IGT products.

The agreement was signed back in November of last year, and the details were confidential, but deals like this are impressive and investors should be taking note.

BlackBerry has a fairly impressive portfolio of thousands of patents that can be measured in value to be upwards of $1 billion. Agreements that license the use of BlackBerry’s patents in other products can be a significant source of revenue for the company.

Enterprise software has evolved

John Chen has been adamantly focusing the company back onto enterprise. The acquisitions of Good Technology, WatchDox and AtHoc over the past year speak to this focus, and all of these together culminated into what the company is now dubbing Good Secure EMM Suites.

The completed solution offers the security, collaboration, compatibility and flexibility offered in multiple tiers for businesses, ranging from a secure browser with EMM capabilities up to file-sharing synchronization, rights management, and high-level policies on security and file access.

The complete EMM Solution plays on the strengths of the company. The acquisitions, which have been impressively integrated into a single solution that ranges in cost from $3 to $25 per user, add yet another revenue stream to the company’s bottom line, which is not hardware. The company secured over 2,700 enterprise accounts in the last quarter and 70% of those are recurring.

BlackBerry has had a difficult few years, and it has been forced to re-invent and re-think how it is seen by its potential customers and carriers around the world. While it may be too early to write the success story of this turnaround, in my opinion, the company is improving to the point where long-term investors in the company will be pleased.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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