Investors are loving that BlackBerry Ltd.  (BB) is no longer hawking smartphones with track balls. 

BlackBerry's stock popped 8% in early trading on Wednesday as adjusted third-quarter earnings came in at 3 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates that called for a break-even quarter. The period was boosted by strength in business software and licensing sales. In particular, intellectual property and licensing sales spiked 67% to $50 million reflecting BlackBerry's transition to being a play on software.

All in all, you have to hand it to BlackBerry CEO and turnaround specialist John Chen.

Shares of BlackBerry have skyrocketed about 70% so far this year as Chen and his hand-picked team have pivoted BlackBerry toward a play on several key trends. One is providing technology for connected and autonomous cars. In fact, the company scored a nice win recently by having the technology behind Canada's first on-road autonomous vehicle (Ford Motor Co.'s  (F) Lincoln MKZ, if you must know).

The other is developing a suite of products levered to cybersecurity. BlackBerry is providing software and services to banks and to other institutions likely fearful of being hacked.

Chen told TheStreet in October that BlackBerry's transformation is largely complete, and more of a push into the connected life lays ahead.

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