updated 12:40 pm EST, Mon November 24, 2008
RIM Falling Short in Q3 08
Research in Motion's heavily promoted BlackBerry Storm launch this Friday may not have been enough to save the company from a poor financial quarter, according to a new research note by Citi analyst Jim Suva. Although the Storm sold out at many Verizon stores since launch, Suva supports claims of a software-based delay and notes that many stores actually received significantly less units than expected, forcing many customers to wait as late as December 15th to get devices they would otherwise have had on launch.
The delay won't immediately affect the number of phones RIM can claim to have shipped but will prevent many of the affected owners from counting themselves as BlackBerry push e-mail subscribers until December, or just after the November 29th end of RIM's third financial quarter for the year.
A lack of new subscribers also pervades other areas of RIM's business, the analyst says. Early data for AT&T's version of the BlackBerry Bold points to most buyers being existing users rather than new customers, while enterprise-class sales are seen cooling across the board and hurting RIM's most reliable market. T-Mobile's new preference for the Android-based G1 as well as the high costs of combo voice and data plans for home users are both characterized as factors.
A sub-par quarter would potentially represent serious damage to RIM, which suffered its first clear setback of recent memory when Apple's iPhone overtook BlackBerries in shipments for the first time during the summer.