BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) reclaimed some ground in corporate sales this week after Canadian Tire announced it was buying 3,000 devices from the Ontario-based smartphone producer. After the defection of numerous high-profile companies and government agencies, news that Canadian Tire was keeping it in the country could not have come at a better time.
The much-heralded BlackBerry Z10 release generated positive reviews, but the device failed to make a major splash in a market dominated by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. News that several U.S. government agencies were switching to iPhones prompted fear among shareholders earlier in the year, but BlackBerry has preached patience as it tries to claw its way back to relevance in the field. At last count, Windows Phone by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was holding onto third place in the smartphone game.
Canadian Tire’s order will include both the Z10 and the Q10, the soon-to-be-released model featuring BlackBerry’s signature hardware keyboard. Canadian carriers are expecting the Q10 to appear in the coming weeks, though no release date has been set for U.S. stores. In the Q10, BlackBerry might see a migration from flip-phone and classic BlackBerry standard-bearer holdouts, customers looking to upgrade yet unwilling to move to a virtual keyboard. In the meantime, the corporate business signals a positive trend…
After losing business from the U.S. National Transit Safety Board and I.C.E. — as well as Home Depot (NYSE:HD) — the news had started to look entirely negative for BlackBerry. A Canadian Tire executive noted it was “partnering with another great Canadian company” to support its business, but BlackBerry spokespeople downplayed the national-pride angle.
“BlackBerry is committed to being a leader in mobile computing and expanding mobility in the business world,” said Andrew MacLeod, an Research in Motion executive. Investors looking to parse MacLeod’s statement will recall that CEO Thorstein Heins hinted of more devices to come from the company, including ones that could consolidate tablet, laptop and smartphone functions. BlackBerry is thinking long-game in both software and devices. The news had the company’s stock trading up over 2.5 percent at the close of the week’s trading in New York.