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RIM up to 14.1m BlackBerrys, sinks to just 150K PlayBooks

updated 04:45 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011

RIM fiscal Q3 2011 show phone recovery, tablet woe

RIM saw a mixed but overall down fiscal third quarter and its last of 2011. The company bounced back in phone shipments from its chaotic summer, climbing from 10.6 million BlackBerry phones to 14.1 million as the BlackBerry 7 revamp took hold. PlayBook shipments were even lower than before, however, and topped at just 150,000 of the tablet as it was still working to clear out unsold stock.

The company noted that its inventory expense costs cut deeply into its profit. It would have made $667 million in profit, but this was cut down to just $265 million.

RIM spun the results by focusing on sequential jumps of a third for smartphone shipments and 24 percent in revenue over the summer, but both were poor relative to the year before. Its 14.1 million BlackBerrys were a 100,000-unit drop from last year's 14.2 million, and its $5.2 billion in revenue was down six points from a year earlier. Apple and Samsung will have likely seen shipments increase sharply over the same period and should lead to major gains in market share for the iPhone and Android.

RIM's outlook for the winter also showed low expectations. It saw revenue getting no higher than $4.9 billion, but only saw itself shipping 11 million to 12 million BlackBerry phones in the winter, well under the 14.9 million from the start of this year. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis claimed it would take "some time to realize the benefits" of the transition over to BlackBerry 10 devices like the London and that the company's "unique service capabilities" would still give it a leading position.

In tablets, RIM didn't give guidance but won't have its PlayBook 2.0 update until around February and may wait until considerably later in the year for the rumored 10-inch PlayBook, codenamed Black Forest. It has been giving the current seven-inch slate a 60 percent discount that will see it sold at a loss for some time.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Sold vs. Shipped

    For anyone not clear on (or downplaying) the difference between "shipped" and "sold", the abysmal shipping numbers the last couple quarters vs. the large ones previously should make the point. It's even possible that sales have been constant or improving slightly, but after over-shipping so heavily (which made it look like sales were really good to those not paying attention) it's taking at least two quarters just to clear previously unsold inventory.

    Either way, it would seem that the Playbook isn't doing nearly as well as those early numbers made it look.

  1. chippie

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    Lesson: How Shipped vs Sold

    works with electronics. Manufacturers put product up for sale to stores that in turn order what they think they can sell. Once the orders are shipped to the stores, they are considered sales to the manufacturer. If the sell through for the stores is unacceptable, the manufacturer( if reputable) may increase advertising and/or offer rebates so the stores can sell at a lower price but lose less profit. When a manufacturer doesn't care that the product isn't selling, then the stores never place orders from the company again for any product. The orders to the stores remain sales for the manufacturer. And the stores may price the products for clearance to recoup some of their cost.

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