Investors bet against revival of BlackBerry

A RECORD number of BlackBerry shareholders are betting that the Canadian company’s fortunes will decline further despite its recent turnaround effort.

Recently released data from the Nasdaq exchange indicates that around 30 per cent of BlackBerry’s stock is held by short sellers, who are anticipating a fall in the Canadian firm’s share price.

Roughly 155m shares are short positions, 20m more than a month ago and more than double the level of a year ago. This suggests the shareholders have little faith in the once powerful company’s bid to win back market share from its rivals.

Despite the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 software being positively received by reviewers, early indications suggest that initial sales have been less than spectacular.

The first BlackBerry 10 device, the touchscreen Z10, went on sale in the US last week but its release did not see the queues of frantic shoppers associated with the launch of a new iPhone or the latest Samsung device.

Today, BlackBerry will reveal the first indications of the Z10’s success when it announces results for the three months to 2 March, which will cover the first month of sales of the new devices.

Jan Dawson, a technology analyst at Ovum, yesterday warned against treating the results as a “referendum” on the success of the new technology, due to it not including territories such as the US.

“Secondly, the [soon to be launched] Q10, which has the classic BlackBerry hardware keyboard, won’t go on sale for some time still, so many of the prime candidates for buying a BlackBerry 10 device will be waiting for that,” Dawson added.