updated 05:35 pm EDT, Thu June 24, 2010
RIM passes 100 million BlackBerry mark
RIM today broke another company record as it shipped 11.2 million BlackBerries in its spring quarter. The milestone was a 43 percent spike over results a year ago and also saw RIM sell its 100 millionth BlackBerry since it began selling the devices as phones. About 4.9 million of these were new to BlackBerry service, and 46 million BlackBerry accounts are still active.
The company attributed a lot of its sales to those outside of North America; about 40 percent of them were from outside the area, RIM said. It believed it could have shipped more if supply of certain phones hadn't been tight. Some of this came from already high demand of the Curve 8500 line. Low prices on many of the phones were credited to the jump, including Verizon's Buy One Get One giveaways.
Sheer revenue was also up about 24 percent to over $4.2 billion, and its profit grew by a wider ratio, up 41 percent to $768.9 million.
During a conference call to discuss the results, the company also hinted that there would be two new high-end devices shipping soon. It wouldn't say what these were but said they would contribute to its summer quarter ending in August; at least one would have its effect on revenue spill over to the fall, the company said. One of these is unofficially known to be the BlackBerry 9800, RIM's first touchscreen slider. BlackBerry OS 6 is due to ship by September and is known to be shipping first with the 9800.
The company was confident in its outlook for the future but notably showed signs that its growth might be more modest. It expected its revenue to climb to between $4.2 billion and $4.4 billion, but it didn't anticipate new subscriber additions to grow significantly. It would add between 4.9 million and 5.2 million fresh users, or as much as it did in the spring. It would have 11.6 to 12 million BlackBerries shipped this year.
While a high mark for RIM, the results were still relatively disappointing for investors as they came at the low end of the company's guidance from three months ago. RIM blamed some of its results on both the shortages and on a shift towards lower-end phones. For its outlook, it also warned that timing of its new phones could cause problems but also said that summer has traditionally been slow, particularly in Europe.
The circumstances could play into the hands of Apple, which is encountering potentially record sellouts and is likely to increase its market share relative to RIM's now leveling growth. iPhone sales have historically been highest in the summer. Android is also making incursions and, at 160,000 phones sold per day, could overtake RIM if the rate is truly sustainable.