RIM Beats Expectations, Everyone Should be Happy

Carl Weinschenk
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Prognosticators who had forecasted the decline and marginalization of Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry forgot to tell its customers.

 

Reuters is among the sites reporting that RIM reported a 45 percent rise in net profits in the third quarter. RIM, the story says, shipped 14.2 million devices and netted 5.1 million new subscribers during the quarter. The device figure was above expectations, while the subscriber additions met expectations.

 

This can't be seen as anything but good news for RIM, of course, and also for the smart device category as a whole. If a vendor considered to be a weak competitor can show positive results, the entire sector seems to have hit good times. RIM was developed for the enterprise market and still is the leader there. Its long-term future depends, at least to some extent, on success in the consumer sector. Says Alastair Sharp on Reuters:

Many analysts have been fretting over RIM's longer-term prospects in a booming market that includes relative newcomers Apple and Google, whose Android software is used by device makers including Motorola, Taiwan's HTC Corp and South Korea's Samsung.

This Motley Fool commentary by Anders Bylund on the results is a bit amusing. He starts out by suggesting that RIM "shocked us" with the results:

So we underestimated Research In Motion again. And by 'we' I mean me, you, and everybody else.


Bylund then questions why the Torch, RIM's big introduction in August, was barely mentioned by the press release and why executives briefly announced the good results. This leads him to suggest that the Torch didn't do well. But what of the positive results? Apparently, hell hath no furry like an industry analyst scorned:

The growth story isn't exactly over yet, but the company is nevertheless becoming an also-ran-a rising smartphone tide lifts all boats, but RIM needs to come up with something new in order to sustain that boost. And I'd be far more comfortable with RIM's outperformance if the company would be more forthcoming with where the growth came from.

One wonders what Byland would say if the company had a mediocre quarter.

 

This might not be the answer for which Bylund was looking, but it is an answer nonetheless: Most of the growth came from outside the U.S. Electronista covers an assessment of the RIM results by Asymco that reveals that RIM's worldwide revenue rose 89 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. The U.S. revenue rose 13 percent, meaning that 92 percent of the gains were outside the states. The higher priced devices-the Torch, Bold 9780 and Curve 3G, according to the story-also were disproportionately sold outside the U.S. The story adds commentary by Asymco's Horace Dediu that suggests that RIM still is facing long-term challenges, which may make Bylund happy.

 

BlackBerries are iconic devices, and the dire predictions for the company should not have made anyone happy. These results, even if interpreted with the highest possible negative spin, are good news for an industry that continues to grow.



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