updated 04:30 pm EST, Thu December 16, 2010
RIM ships 14.2 million BlackBerry units fall 2010
RIM on Thursday claimed another record quarter for the fall. It shipped 14.2 million BlackBerry phones, or just enough to top Apple's 14.1 million iPhones in the summer. The tally was 40 percent higher than a year earlier.
It nonetheless showed RIM being primarily dependent on existing users and cheap, prepaid service rather than new customers to grow its base. The company added 5.1 million new Blackberry Internet Service accounts, adding just 600,000 new full users despite shipping 2.1 million new phones.
The shift to lower-end devices was also reflected in the company's profits. Its revenue grew 40 percent to $5.5 billion, but its net income only moved up 14.4 percent, to $911.1 million. The largest portion of its demand in the summer was known to revolve around the BlackBerry Curve 8500 series and later on the Curve 3G. RIM has also regularly been helped by Buy One Get One (BOGO) deals, especially at Verizon, although it now makes up just a small piece of Verizon sales in the wake of Android.
Apple and RIM results don't directly correspond to each quarter, as RIM ends its fall quarter in November where Apple waits until the end of the year. However, it's estimated that RIM may be outsold by Apple for a second consecutive quarter for the first time, as analysts just today predicted Apple could ship 16 million iPhones between October and December.
RIM is currently being cautious on its outlook for early 2011 and expects to only make slightly more revenue in the post-holiday lull, between $5.5 billion and $5.7 billion, even with the planned launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook.