Against this tide rides the return of the BlackBerry believer. Some people -- maybe not-so-crazy people -- think this company has a second act ahead. And they have some arguments they'd like you to hear.
Take Andy Perkins, an analyst with Société Générale. Last week, he sent out a research not that sent BlackBerry's stock rising 6%. He started off with an equivocating assertion that no one really knows how many BlackBerry phones are being bought, but his count suggested something encouraging: Four million this quarter, up from 1 million a quarter earlier. Based on early U.K. sales of the Q10 and Z10, "handset sales have been faster than we previously assumed," he wrote.
Yes, that's a fraction of the 30 million-plus units of iPhones and Galaxy phones expected to be sold this quarter, but it also shows that BlackBerry is still a horse in this cutthroat sweepstakes. No, no one expects it to lead right now. But hell, it's doing a fine job just riding with the herd.
Although Perkins saw his metrics as uncertain by Wall Street terms, he took the bold step of upgrading BlackBerry's stock to Buy from Sell and raising his price target to $17 a share from $13 a share.
A day later, Maynard Um of Wells Fargo weighed in, supporting Perkins. Um reiterated his Buy rating and said that sales of BlackBerry units were selling well enough to justify higher earnings than the Street was expecting. All that follows a bull-versus-bear debate on CNBC where the bulls made the company's strongest case in quarters, as well as analysis among independentobservers, who have been pounding the table for a BlackBerry comeback.
Of course, bears remain vocal too. (The stock is down 3% today on another downgrade, this time from Bernstein Research warning that expectations were getting too hopeful). But what's significant about BlackBerry is that there is an argument going on about its future. Even that was hard to imagine a year ago. On the one hand, yes it's hard to say this company will return to its former glory. On the other, it's just these kinds of clashes of sentiment that can sometimes signal a turnaround in a stock.
BlackBerry has come back from its recent lows, but it has far to go to even begin to approach its highs. That itself wouldn't be remarkable, except that the company's believers have come back. Whatever you think about this company's prospects, that development deserves some consideration.