Research In Motion is facing BlackBerry and QNX smartphone delays, according to several financial analysts, who showed concern for the company ahead of its June 16 earnings report.
Plagued by rumors of more missed deadlines this summer, embattled
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is facing dark days as it prepares to
report first-quarter earnings June 16.
RIM said it expects to report Q1 earnings of
between $1.30 and $1.37 a share on revenue below $5.2 billion.
However, financial analysts believe RIM, which already said
it expects to sell 1
million fewer BlackBerry handsets for this quarter, is missing deadlines for
its new BlackBerry handset and may not release smartphones based on its QNX
operating system before the second half of 2012.
Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek said the BlackBerry
Bold 9900/9930 is likely to be delayed until after August, with other phones
based on the BlackBerry OS 7 likely to come out closer to year end. The
so-called QNX "superphone" launch is likely to be pushed to the
second half of 2012.
Product delays in conjunction with the steadily declining
market share in the United States led Susquehanna Research analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro to
argue that RIM could be headed for an even worse second half of 2011 as it
would conceivably pit RIM against the iPhone 5, as well as 4G Android devices.
BlackBerry smartphone share ranked third behind iOS with
25.7 percent share through April, down from 27 percent in March and 28.9
percent through February, comScore
Meanwhile, RIM's Bold 9990/9930 will be pushed back to
September from its original summer launch date, according to Boy Genius Report
Unveiled at BlackBerry World last month as the first
BlackBerry OS 7 smartphone, the Bold 9900
underwhelmed mobile experts and
analysts comparing to the iPhone and Android handsets with speedy processors
and big, crisp displays for multimedia consumption.
The device, which combines a touchscreen display with the
signature BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard, is one of several BlackBerry OS 7
handsets RIM anticipates rolling out as a bridge to the so-called superphones it
is building based on QNX, the OS acquired by RIM and employed in the PlayBook
Citigroup analyst Jim Suva's own research reveals similar
delays, noting that the Bold 9900 may miss the back-to-school buying period due
to production delays.
"Thus far our supply chain checks show that RIM's
new models have not yet been certified by major wireless carriers and are not
in mass production which concerns us," analyst Jim Suva wrote
in a research note obtained by Reuters
Further pressuring RIM this year are the emergence of low-cost
Android handsets in emerging markets RIM has been strong in, as well as Apple's
new iMessage service, an alternative to BlackBerry Messenger.
To wit, Fidacaro seriously doubts RIM's most recent $7.50
earnings per share target for fiscal year 2012.
"As it currently stands, we believe it is simply a
matter of time until management capitulates on its $7.50 EPS target for FY12
based on volume expectations and absent major buybacks or other financial
actions since its sales trends have deteriorated and QNX devices may come too
little too late," Fidacaro added in his June 9 research note.
Gleacher & Co. Stephen Patel said he still believes the
Bold 9900 and a full-touch BlackBerry have a shot at an August launch,
dependent on final bug fixing and accelerated carrier certifications. Patel also
believes QNX-based handsets are a minimum of 9 months away.
Still, he said he remains more concerned that RIM's new
phones will not be enough stem U.S. share loss and continue international growth.
"Apple's iMessage in iOS 5 makes BBM less of a
differentiator and other iCloud services make it tougher to close the user
experience gap," Patel said in a research note June 9. "In addition,
we think AT&T will push Windows Phone more strongly this year, potentially
at the expense of BlackBerry marketing."
Moreover, he said the U.S. government, which has
typically issued its workers BlackBerry smartphones, is now increasingly allowing
iPhones and Android handsets in the workplace.