NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We've all heard the saying: "The more things change, the more they remain the same." That seems to be the prevailing pattern for BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report). But its investors insist, "Things will be different this time." They won't.
As with the past two years, BlackBerry stock began 2014 with plenty of promise. Shares were up at one point by 46%, reaching an intra-day high of $10.90 on Feb. 25. Since then, the stock has dropped 25% to Tuesday's close of $8.10. Investors maintain, "This is another feel-good story." They've latched their faith to new CEO John Chen, who is working diligently to reinvent the company. But what's the game plan?
As much credit as Chen deserves for his enthusiasm to turn this ship around, investors said the same thing about ousted CEO Thorsten Heins. They also said this about the regime before that. Nothing has changed. And there's no data to suggest that this company is any closer to getting back to a fraction of what it once were, much less be a threat to Apple (AAPL).
BlackBerry bulls will disagree. But the fourth quarter is in the books and the beleaguered smartphone maker reported yet another $423 million loss from a year-earlier profit of $98 million. This brings BlackBerry's fiscal year total loss to a whopping $5.9 billion.This company continues to burn through cash like it's trying to burn evidence. In a way, it seems deliberate. With as much support as BlackBerry receives from its faithful followers, where's all the cash going? The stock saw an initial 6% spike when the results were released, then cooler heads prevailed. Shares ended down 7% after the full report was digested. The company posted an adjusted per-share loss from continuing operations of 42 million, or 8 cents a share. Revenue slid 64% to $976 million. BlackBerry said it sold 3.4 million smartphones in the period, including about 2.3 million BlackBerry 7 models. Are investors paying attention? This means close to 70% of handsets sold were BlackBerry 7 model phones. These are the older phones, not the newer BlackBerry 10 models. This would be akin to Apple selling more iPhone 4 models than the newer iPhone 5S. If that is not an indictment of BlackBerry's failed designs and/or marketing, I don't know what is. Yet investors insist that, "BB10 devices are better than iPhones."