BlackBerry maker has another disappointing quarter

Research In Motion suspends guidance as global market share continues to drop.

By Kim Peterson Mar 29, 2012 5:49PM
Hear that hammering sound? It's another nail going into the coffin of Research In Motion (RIMM), the BlackBerry maker that once held the business world in the palm of its hand.

Now, the company's outlook grows darker by the day. And investors were turning on the stock Thursday after RIM failed to meet analysts' already low expectations for fourth-quarter profit and revenue.

The good news is that RIM will no longer be disappointing investors with guidance. That's because the company is suspending guidance updates completely, only saying it will face "continued pressure" on revenue and earnings throughout the next year.

RIM said its quarterly profit, excluding one-time items, was only $418 million, or 80 cents a share, as sales fell 25% to $4.19 billion. Analysts expected 81 cents a share on sales of $4.54 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Investors initially sent RIM shares down more than 9% to $12.45 in after-hours trading. Later, the stock recovered to a 1.7% drop. In the last year, shares have plunged a jaw-dropping 75%.

The old guard continues to leave as well. Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEO, has left his position on the board of directors. Also out are the chief technology officer and the chief operating officer of global operations.

Quite a tumultuous debut for new CEO Thorsten Heins, presiding over his first earnings report since moving to the top spot. To be fair, Heins was not responsible for much of the performance of the quarter ended March 3, since he only became CEO in January. But it wasn't the day he would have preferred.

The BlackBerry phone has been pummeled by Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and the Android platform by Google (GOOG). When those systems first debuted, it appeared that BlackBerry maker might keep some grip on the business communications market. But as more employees embraced rival systems, forcing their companies to follow suit, it was clear that RIM had a battle on its hands.

The IDC research firm said that RIM's global smartphone market share plunged to 8.2% in the fourth quarter from 14% a year earlier, Bloomberg reported. RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerries last quarter -- an 80% drop.

Analysts had little hope that the company could improve. "It's not just these results," Colin Gillis, analyst at BGC Partners, told CNBC. "The forward outlook continues to be bleak. Next quarter it's going to be more of the same. There's no sign of a turnaround."

RIM poured resources into developing a tablet that could compete with Apple's iPad, but the numbers show practically no threat. The company shipped only 500,000 PlayBook tablets in the quarter. Apple sold 3 million of its newest iPad in the first three days earlier this month.

There aren't many bright spots on RIM's near-term horizon. It hasn't had a new product in many months, and won't debut its next-generation BlackBerry until the second half of this year, CNet reports.

Mar 29, 2012 7:38PM
I like my Blackbeery Play Book. I have a two year contract with them, do I get any money back.????
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