BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) is one of those companies that continues to fight, day in and day out, despite analysts, investors, and writers arguing that its best days are behind it. On so many occasions, I’ve heard people make quips about BlackBerry, suggesting that it would go the same route as Palm. But the company has made a series of announcements that have reinvigorated my excitement in the company.
Here are just two that remind me why I’m bullish on BlackBerry.
Going all-in on software
One of the big problems for BlackBerry was that it missed out on the smartphone craze. It lost to Android and iOS devices. Despite trying for many years to create a device that people would want, it just couldn’t achieve the type of success it needed.
At the end of September, it announced that it would no longer be making its own devices. CEO John Chen summed it up perfectly in an interview: “The phone market on the high end is saturated.”
Now BlackBerry can focus on what many writers have been hoping it would for a while now: software. And there are many ways it can do this.
First up is actually with phones. Along with the announcement that it wouldn’t be making its own devices, it announced that it had formed a joint venture called “BB Merah Putih” with PT Tiphone: an affiliate of Indonesia’s largest mobile provider, Telkomsel. The JV will make the phones, and BlackBerry will license its software.
Then there are the enterprise customers that have been signing up. According to BlackBerry’s Q2 results, it had 3,000 enterprise customer wins with 81% of the software and services revenue recurring. This gives the company predictability in its revenue.
And finally, there is the patent portfolio that BlackBerry has amassed over the years. One analyst believes that BlackBerry could earn upwards of US$400 million per year by just licensing its patents to other companies. Since the money has been invested, I see little reason why it wouldn’t want to do this.
Internet of Things showing strength
On the topic of software is BlackBerry’s investment in the Internet of Things (IoT), in which otherwise non-connected devices would be connected to the internet. Having a car connected to the internet was unheard of 10 years ago; now it’s reality.
On October 31, BlackBerry and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) signed an agreement for expanded use of QNX and security software that BlackBerry owned. QNX software already powers over 60 million vehicles.
However, what makes this deal particularly beneficial is that it makes BlackBerry a Tier 1 supplier to Ford. BlackBerry will now dedicate QNX engineers specifically to Ford, whereas in the past it had to operate through a middleman. While details of this deal remain unclear, if Ford is demanding more from BlackBerry, it’s safe to say things are moving in the right direction.
And in the grand scheme of things, the IoT could be a trillion dollar market, and a security-first company like BlackBerry could find itself generating increasing returns. QNX and its Certicom security technology could find its way in many products in the coming years.
I say buy …
My belief is that BlackBerry is in the process of successfully transitioning from a hardware company to a software company. With its focus on software development and, in particular, increased need in the IoT sector, I believe investors should consider buying shares of BlackBerry. I think 2017 could be a very good year for the company.
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Fool contributor Jacob Donnelly has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford.