File photo: The Queensburgh Community Watch used BBM to give police details of hijacking suspects as they sped through the suburb

INTERNATIONAL – BlackBerry beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, as the Canadian software maker’s shift to fast-growing areas, including autonomous cars, boosted billings in its technology solutions business.

The company’s shares rose about 6 percent in Toronto and on the New York Stock Exchange.

Chief Executive Officer John Chen has steered the company into high-growth segments such as selling software used in mobiles, and more recently supplying technology to companies developing driverless cars, since losing out to Apple's iPhones and Android devices in the smartphone market.

BlackBerry’s QNX software allows carmakers to offer a range of features such as infotainment, connectivity, advanced driver assistance system and over-the-air software update platform.

“We are winning a lot of autonomous design, the platform design, especially with the chipmakers like Qualcomm, Nvidia, NXP and Broadcom,” Chen told Reuters, adding he expects the company’s software to show up in any future autonomous platforms that these chipmakers are associated with.

The company’s current customers for the software include Ford Motor, Jaguar Land Rover, Baidu and Aptiv Plc.

Revenue in the company’s technology solutions segment, which houses QNX, jumped 23.3 percent to $53 million (R 764mn) in the third quarter ended Nov. 30.

BlackBerry is also focusing on its Spark platform, which targets another emerging technology area of Internet of Things (IoT).

The company reported a net profit of $59 million for the third quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a loss of $275 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned a profit of 5 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 2 cents, according to IBES data for Refinitiv.

Revenue came in at $226 million, topping estimates of $212.5 million.

Reuters