Is BlackBerry Ltd. the Next Apple Inc.?

BlackBerry Ltd.’s (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) turnaround is remarkably similar to Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL).

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BlackBerry Ltd.’s (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) fall from grace has been more than spectacular. As late as 2010, the company controlled over 20% of global smartphone sales. Today, that’s down to less than 1%. Accordingly, its financials are now in shambles. Revenue is down to under $1 billion annually from a high of nearly $6 billion, while its market cap has shrunk from $78 billion to just $4 billion.

While many talk of a comeback, few believe that the company can regain its once dominant position. They say it’s simply not possible … but it is.

The template for success

In 1997, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The next year, it turned a profit of over $300 million. How was this possible? They admitted to themselves that their products needed to change radically.

“You know what’s wrong with this company?” said Steve Jobs at the time. “The products suck.” The company went on the release the iMac, and later, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Today it is the most valuable company in the world.

Can this happen for BlackBerry? It’s more possible than you think.

Last month the company released its most innovative product in years: the BlackBerry Priv. This new phone solves nearly every issue that contributed to the firm’s epic collapse, namely a lack of apps, a clunky user interface, and outdated hardware. BlackBerry may have found its version of the iPhone in one product.

BlackBerry’s CEO says the company needs to sell five million phones a year to stay in the consumer handset business. If the raving consumer reviews are any sign, the company might just do that. Android Central’s glowing review called the device “one heck of an Android phone.” Influential website The Verge said that “BlackBerry has risen to the occasion, creating a device that’s bursting with good ideas on both the hardware and software side.”

Only time will tell if reviews result in orders, but it’s a solid first step.

How much could BlackBerry stock rise?

Last year, roughly 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide. To hit its target of shipping five million units, BlackBerry will need to take 0.4% of the market. For comparison, Apple shipped an average of 55 million units per quarter this year.

At $699 apiece, five million units would equate to roughly $3.5 billion in additional sales. With 30% margins, the company would add about $1 billion in profits. Even at 10 times earnings (the market currently trades closer to 20 times), the company would have a market cap over 100% higher than today’s price. If you’re a believer in the Priv, big things are coming for BlackBerry’s stock price.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Ryan Vanzo has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.

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