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BlackBerry shares lifted by big Pentagon contract

22 january 2014, 14:10
©Reuters/Dado Ruvic
©Reuters/Dado Ruvic
BlackBerry shares leapt more than nine percent Tuesday as the troubled Canadian smartphone maker got a boost from news of contract to supply the US military with 80,000 new handsets, AFP reports.

The stock gained 9.36 percent to end at $9.93, capping a rally of some 30 percent so far in 2014 and more than 60 percent from its lows last month, when the company reported a quarterly loss of more than $4 billion.

The latest gains came after last week's announcement from the Pentagon that it will include some 80,000 BlackBerry phones as part of a new "mobility" program for the Defense Department, which also includes devices made by Apple, Samsung and Motorola.

BlackBerry shares started a rebound last month after it announced plans to outsource its handset production to Taiwan-based Foxconn, which according to analysts could help the Canadian firm concentrate on software and services and avoid many of the risks of the volatile smartphone segment.

Last year, the company said it was considering a sale or other strategic move, but later scrapped those plans and told customers it was staying in the smartphone business.

BlackBerry helped create a culture of mobile users glued to smartphones, but lost its luster as many moved to iPhones or devices using Google's Android software.

It still has some 70 million subscribers worldwide, but most of these are using older handsets, with newer devices on the BlackBerry 10 platform unveiled a year ago failing to gain traction.

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