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Best Buy Cuts BlackBerry Z10 Price to $49 as Sales Slump

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- Best Buy Co. has cut the price of BlackBerry Ltd.’s Z10 smartphone to $49.99 with a service contract, two weeks after the Canadian smartphone maker reported lackluster sales of the flagship touch-screen model.

The Z10 is available at that price with a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless or AT&T Inc., the Richfield, Minnesota-based retailer said on its website. The device originally went on sale in the U.S. in March at $199.99, on par with Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Sales of the Z10 last quarter were almost 1 million units short of analysts’ estimates, contributing to a surprise loss for BlackBerry. The company is now increasingly dependent on the newer Q10 phone, which features a physical keyboard and appeals to its existing customer base. BlackBerry, which has steadily lost market share to Apple and other rivals, accounted for less than 3 percent of global smartphone sales last quarter, according to research firm IDC.

BlackBerry shares fell 1 percent to $9.24 at the close in New York. The stock has dropped 22 percent this year.

The Best Buy price cut was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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