BlackBerry announces licensing deal with Amazon Appstore and increased gross profit margin

By John Leonard
20 Jun 2014 View Comments
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BlackBerry has announced that from the autumn users of its devices will be able to download Android apps from the Amazon Appstore. The Canadian smartphone maker has forged a licensing deal with Amazon that will make more than 200,000 Android apps available for direct download to coincide with the launch of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system.

"We've heard your appeals for access to more applications for your BlackBerry 10 device and we are delivering," the company said on its Inside BlackBerry blog.

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The deal will also allow BlackBerry users to access video and music services through third-party services available through the Amazon Appstore. Music and video sections of the BlackBerry World app store will be closed on July 21st.

How much of a development this really represents is unclear. At present Amazon Appstore can be installed on any BlackBerry device with BB 10.2.1 and above, although the user experience is reported to be less than smooth. It is also unclear from the blog whether the Amazon AppStore app will be native to BB or a port, what the effect on BlackBerry developers will be and whether BlackBerry will be taking a cut of Amazon's sales of apps, music and video made via its devices.

Elsewhere there are signs that CEO John Chen's efforts to turn the company around are starting to achieve results. BlackBerry shares rose by 13 per cent yesterday after it announced smaller than expected losses and improved gross profit margin.

In the last two years BlackBerry has halved its workforce and also sold off many of its premises.

The company's services business now makes up 54 per cent of its income, according to Reuters, up from 26 per cent last year, as it moves away from its core hardware focus. However, its low end Z3 smartphone is also reported to be selling well in Indonesia, contributing to the positive financial numbers.

The company will release a new range of smartphones in September, one of which, the Passport is reported to feature a square 4.5-inch 1,440 x 1,440 pixel touchscreen display as well as a physical keyboard.

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