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Research in Motion Q4 earnings short of Street estimates as phone demand drops

Saturday, March 31, 2012 by Proactive Investors

Research in Motion Q4 earnings short of Street estimates as phone demand drops

From North America: BlackBerry smartphone maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSE:RIM) posted a drop in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday as it saw a drop in shipments and said it would stop issuing earnings guidance.

For the period ended March 3, adjusted earnings came in at 80 cents per share as fourth-quarter sales dropped 25 percent to $4.19 billion. Analysts predicted earnings of 81 cents on sales of $4.51 billion, according to Bloomberg.

"I have confirmed that the company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance, including RIM’s global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of more than 77 million subscribers," RIM's president & CEO Thorsten Heins said.

BlackBerry shipments fell to 11.1 million last quarter, RIM said. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone has lost market share to the likes of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android ecosystem.

The smartphone maker also said it would stop giving financial forecasts as it said former co-CEO Jim Balsillie resigned from the
company’s board of directors.

Investors such as Jaguar Financial (TSE:JFC) have called on boardroom reforms at RIM as well as the possibility of selling all or part of the business. Some commentators have argued that former co-CEO Jim Balsillie may have taken his eye off the ball when he unsuccessfully attempted to establish an NHL ice hockey franchise in Hamilton to rival Toronto's Maple Leafs.

RIM also said it would pay more attention on its core business users, who were early adopters of the BlackBerry and its BBM messaging service.

According to research firm IDC, the BlackBerry outsells the iPhone in Latin America and the Middle East but falling U.S. sales mean RIM's share of the global smartphone market has fallen to 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 14 percent last year.

Apple’s share in that period have risen to 24 percent from 16 percent while RIM's stock fell 75 percent last year which saw global service outages, botched product launches and a delayed roll-out of software.

Indeed, in the time it took RIM to launch its first tablet, Apple had released a second version of its iPad.


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