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BlackBerry slashes staff, warns of $1 billion loss

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BlackBerry said it will report a loss of nearly $1 billion for the second quarter and slash 40% of its global work force.

Shares of BlackBerry (BBRY) were halted at about 3:30 p.m. ET and plunged 20% when trading resumed. For the day they closed down 17%. BlackBerry’s stock is down 26.5% this year.The news of 4,500 job cuts came late Friday afternoon, confirming layoff rumors that have been swirling about problems at the smartphone maker. It attributed the loss to a charge it will take to restructure its business as well as an “increasingly competitive business environment.”

It also said it will offer just four smartphones instead of six.The anticipated operating loss is about three times larger than the consensus forecast of analysts. The company is due to report financial results on September 27.”We expected bad results but the device sales are pretty bad,” said James Moorman, analyst with S&P Capital IQ. “I like their strategy of cutting back, but it’s kind of late. This should have been done about a year ago.”Neeraj Monga, analyst with Veritas Investment Research, says that BlackBerry made a stunning admission about the lack of demand for its new BlackBerry 10 upon which it has placed so much hope. Normally companies book revenue when they ship products to retailers but Friday’s statement said it will instead wait to book revenue from those phones until they’re sold to customers.”It’s a bigger flop than anybody thought it could be,” he said. “They expect 80% (of shipped phones) to come back.”

The company reported last month that it is exploring ways to keep itself afloat — including a possible sale of the company. Moorman said the constant drumbeat of bad news is scaring away potential customers, and added that taking the company private would be the best course of action.”Now with the stock taking a hit, that’s more attractive,” he said.

“Going private takes you out of the spotlight. When you’re on CNBC every day talking about a death spiral, that’s not good. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if you stay public.”There have been rumors that Toronto-based investment firm Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF) might be interested in taking the company private. It’s already Blackberry’s largest shareholder, with nearly a 10% stake.But Monga said he thinks that time is running out for BlackBerry.”I do not believe this business can be turned around. I don’t think an acquisition is in the offering. This suggests the end is coming pretty soon,” he said.

Experts predict that BlackBerry would have a tough time finding a buyer for the entire company, since no suitor is likely to be interested in its hardware business.But BlackBerry does possess some lucrative patents that could be attractive to a potential buyer or partner. That’s a massive advantage in the competitive and highly litigious world of smartphones, and it could be attractive to a big rival like Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) or Samsung.

At least BlackBerry has some breathing room: The company has $2.6 billion in cash. But that’s down about $500 million from the previous quarter, a cash burn rate that Moorman described as “shocking.”If BlackBerry’s smartphones themselves are a deal-killer, peeling off the company’s software business could help gain interest from a number of buyers. BlackBerry’s brand has lost consumer cachet, but it still holds a strong reputation for corporate security.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/20/technology/blackberry/

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Business

ONEPLUS IS GOING TO START MAKING TVS

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OnePlus is is getting into a new line of business: making TVs. Best known for its phones, China’s OnePlus also has a small catalog of really good accessories like wireless earphonesand surprisingly awesome backpacks, though nothing as complex or expensive as a television set. In announcing the news on the OnePlus online forums, company chief Pete Lau describes it as “the first step in building a connected human experience.”

Every hardware manufacturer is now looking intently at ways to monetize the smart home space. Samsung and Huawei recently announced smart speakers, Apple and Google already have the HomePod and Google Home, respectively, and Microsoft and Sony are old incumbents with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles. OnePlus has decided to make its entry point into this market the TV itself, which has always been at the center of home entertainment, though often with the help of other connected devices. Reading Lau’s teaser announcement, the OnePlus TV — which so far only has a project name, no timeline or specs have been revealed — will serve as the connectivity hub for OnePlus’ future vision of the smart home.

The OnePlus smart TV will be developed by a new division within OnePlus, led by Pete Lau himself. Still at the earliest stages of development, OnePlus is currently seeking input from its fans, as it often does, about what their priorities with a future smart TV will be.

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Finance

LAGOS TO HOST BIANNUAL AFRICA FINTECH SUMMIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NOVEMBER

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The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures
LAGOS, Nigeria, September 17, 2018/ — Africa’s premier fintech event, the Africa Fintech Summit, (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) will be held for the first time in Lagos, Nigeria, onNovember 8-9, 2018. This event comes on the heels of the earlier edition in Washington D.C. which featured leading policy makers, c-suite business executives, start-ups, and investors.

The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures.

Speaking on the decision to bring the Summit to Lagos, the Chairman of the Summit, Leland Rice, said, “Lagos is an ideal host city; it’s an epicenter of Africa’s fintech revolution and the driving force behind the continent’s entrepreneurial spirit. The successes of companies such as Paga, Flutterwave, Mines.io, and Paystack have strategically positioned Lagos as the destination of choice for investors.”

“The first edition of the Summit in D.C. was a launch pad for several milestone fintech deals struck among its delegates in the months after the event. We plan to build on these successes in Lagos, with a focus on bringing innovators and policy makers together to move the needle on fintech regulation and bringing founders and investors together to facilitate further capital raises,” added Leland.

The two-day event will feature investor missions from the US, UK, and UAE, an Alpha Expo featuring the most exciting startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria, a half-day blockchain masterclass, and an awards ceremony.

Reacting to the decision to host the Summit in Lagos, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technology, Lanre Osibona, stated, “This reflects the progress Nigeria is making in the areas of technology and financial services. The event is very important as it comes at the heels of the Vice President Osinbajo’s trip to Silicon Valley to promote Nigeria’s tech sector. We look forward to collaborating with the organizing committee and to a successful event in Lagos.”

In similar vein, Tayo Oviosu, the founder of Paga—a payment company that recently raised $10 million in Series B2 funding—said that “the Africa Fintech Summit in Washington D.C. provided valuable insights into the fintech space and connected me with key players in the industry. I look forward to the Lagos edition.”

Speakers lined up for the event include Chief Economist of PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin; Managing General Partner of EchoVC, Eghosa Omoigui; CEO of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie; Founder of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji; and CEO of PayStack, Shola Akinlade, whose company recently raised $8 million Series A funding

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Dedalus Global.

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For more information, please contact:
Ridwan Sorunke
Directory of Communications, AFTS
Ridwan@AfricaFintechSummit.com
+234 (0) 8037885760
+1 2023166726

About Dedalus Global

Dedalus Global (https://VC4A.com/dedalus-global/) is an investment and strategy advisory firm focusing on emerging markets and emerging technologies. With networks throughout Africa and the Middle East, we leverage granular market knowledge to drive innovation, accelerate capital deployment, and create value for our clients and the economies where they operate.

About Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS)

The Africa Fintech Summit (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) is a biannual event that brings together leading disruptors, tech and finance professionals, regulators, and investors from around the globe to debate policies, compare best practices, and forge Africa-focused ventures. AFTS leverages the growth of the fintech sector in Africa to bring key stakeholders to discuss the technologies transforming finance on the continent.

To learn more about AFTS, please visit www.AfricaFintechSummit.com

View a recap from the AFTS Washington: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIdDS-u0rXE

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Dedalus Global

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Business

AMAZON IS REPORTEDLY BUILDING A FREE STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE FOR FIRE TV OWNERS

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Amazon is said to be prepping an ad-supported streaming video service; it’ll be available to folks who own any of the company’s Fire TV streaming dongles and set-top boxes, reports The Information.

It’ll be separate from Prime Video, which offers a range of licensed shows and movies, as well original content produced by Amazon, to people who are subscribed to Prime.

Amazon's latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube
Credit: Amazon
Amazon’s latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube

Do you like good gadgets?

Those sweet cool gadgets?

Oh, yeah

The idea behind this upcoming service, which is dubbed Free Dive, is to help Amazon bring in more revenue through advertising. Ads presently account for a small fraction – about $2 billion out of more than $200 billion – of its annual revenue, but they offer higher margins than retail, and are one of Amazon’s fastest growing earners company-wide.

To that end, the company’s been selling ad space on its site, and is slated to run ads during live sporting events on Prime Video. It also turned off ad-free viewing on Twitch – its game video streaming service – for Prime subscribers earlier this month.

Free Dive could give Amazon a chance to rival Roku, which offers a similar ad-supported streaming service for owners of its devices and is expected to reach 59 million users by the end of 2018. Roku also made its ‘Channel’ service available via the web earlier this month to folks in the US, so you don’t need the company’s hardware to access it. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon follows suit – and how it plays its cards with customers across the globe, especially in cost-conscious markets like India, where it’s expanding its media offerings.

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