BlackBerry falls after touch-screen flop

Hugo Miller / Bloomberg News /

Published Jun 29, 2013 at 05:00AM

TORONTO — BlackBerry’s shares tumbled the most since 2000 after the company reported a surprise loss and weak sales of a new touch-screen model, underscoring its challenges in competing directly with the iPhone and Android devices.

The company shipped 6.8 million smartphones last quarter, including about 2.7 million new BlackBerry 10 models — primarily its flagship Z10 touch-screen phone. Analysts had estimated total shipments of 7.5 million, with about 3.6 million BlackBerry 10 units. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company also blamed Venezuela’s currency controls for a portion of its quarterly loss because they hurt Latin American revenue.

BlackBerry is struggling to expand beyond keyboard phones, which are still popular among some lawyers and professionals but not as sought-after as the iPhone or smartphones based on Google’s Android. Friday’s stock tumble more than wiped out its gains for the year, signaling that investors may have been too optimistic about BlackBerry’s ability to wage a comeback fight against touch-screen rivals.

Shares plunged 28 percent to $10.46, the biggest decline since April 12, 2000.

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