RIM saw its quarterly revenue and net income dip, but its co-CEOs insist their BlackBerry franchise will successfully execute a turnaround.
Motion reported revenue of $5.2 billion for the third quarter of its fiscal
2012, up 24 percent from the previous quarter but down 6 percent from the same
quarter last year. That was slightly lower than Wall Street analysts estimated,
according to Barron's. Net income fell 71 percent
year-over-year, to $265 million.
subscribers increased 35 percent year-over-year, to 75 million, and RIM
reported shipments of approximately 14.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and
150,000 PlayBook tablets. For the quarter, the company also took a $54 million
write-down due to the costs associated with a BlackBerry service interruption.
During a Dec.
15 conference call, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie acknowledged the company's
struggles. "We're in the process of completing the largest organizational and
platform transition in the company's history," he told media and analysts. "We
recognize our shareholders may feel we have fallen short."
expressed dissatisfaction with RIM's performance in the United States, but
suggested that a "comprehensive review of all aspects of the business" was
under way. That review would apparently focus on areas including the RIM
product portfolio, manufacturing, and research and development.
RIM took a
substantial charge against its PlayBook inventory, totaling $485 million before
taxes. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis insisted to those on the earnings call that
RIM remained "committed" to the device, which he touted as "the most secure and
advanced tablet on the market today." Recent price cuts at retailers such as
Best Buy have spiked consumer sales, albeit at the possible cost of RIM's
margins on each device sold.
RIM executives emphasized what they saw as the positive aspects of the
"We are more
determined than ever to capitalize on our strengths to overcome the recent
execution challenges surrounding product launches and the resulting financial
performance," Balsillie and Lazaridis, whose annual salaries have been reduced
to $1, effective immediately, wrote in a Dec. 15 statement ahead of the
company's earnings call. "We continue to evaluate ways to improve in several
areas of the company's operations. It may take some time to realize the
benefits of these efforts and the platform transition we are undertaking."
turnaround plan centers on an upcoming series of smartphones running a
QNX-based operating system named BlackBerry 10. RIM executives have emphasized
these devices' supposed ability to compete toe-to-toe against BlackBerry's
highest-end rivals, although they have yet to share an exact release date
beyond the latter half of 2012. BlackBerry 10 was formerly known as BBX, with
RIM changing the name in the face of a brewing trademark battle with Basis
International Ltd., which markets business software and also claims the "BBX"
call, Lazaridis suggested that the devices running BlackBerry 10 would feature
dual-core processors, with an emphasis on power and efficiency. "Industrial
design we believe is critical," he added.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.