Shares in BlackBerry were down 27 per cent Friday after the company posted a disappointing $84-million net loss in the first quarter.

BlackBerry shares, which closed at $14.48 US on the Nasdaq stock market in New York Thursday, were already down 25 per cent when markets opened Friday and trading at below $11 in New York and Toronto by midday.

By the end of trading Friday, the stock was down almost 28 per cent to $10.46 US in New York and 27 per cent to $11.02 Cdn on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

More than 40 per cent of the Waterloo, Ont., company's shares are held by so-called short sellers, who bet against the company. That's a heavy weight on the stock, and heavily shorted stocks tend to move up and down in much more extreme ways.

Short interest in BlackBerry has almost doubled over the past 12 months.

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BlackBerry, based in Waterloo, Ont., reported a first-quarter net loss of $84 million US on Friday, compared to a $518-million net loss a year ago, but short of expectations. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The quarterly loss came in at 16 cents per share. While the $84-million figure is narrower than the $518 million the company lost in the same period a year ago, it wasn't what analysts had forecast.

The results were the first since BlackBerry unveiled its newest phones, the Z10 and the Q10, which BlackBerry is banking on turning the company around.

The company said it shipped 6.8 million smartphones in the first quarter, an increase of 13 per cent from the previous quarter when sales of the new phones were just getting started.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins said about 40 per cent of those phone shipments were of new models, well short of the ratio that analysts were expecting.

Overall, the company now has 72 million customers worldwide, a figure that fell by four million in the quarter, though the company says it will no longer provide those figures in the future because they don't accurately reflect its reworked business model.

The company has also scrapped plans to offer an operating system update for its PlayBook tablet, signalling that it will eventually clear the sales flop from its line of products entirely.

Sales rose to $3.07 billion from $2.81 billion a year ago.

"During the first quarter, we continued to focus our efforts on the global rollout of the BlackBerry 10 platform," Heins said in a release.

He hinted that the company's numbers aren't showing signs of improving in the near term. He said he expects BlackBerry will book an operating loss in its second-quarter earnings results, due to heightened competition in the smartphone industry.

"The company will also continue to implement the cost savings and process-improving initiatives it started last year," he added.

With files from The Canadian Press