John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM Blows It Again

With expectations for its financial performance at an all-time low, Research In Motion reported fourth-quarter earnings abysmal enough to deepen the gloom.

Analysts had been forecasting a grim quarter for some time now, and RIM did them proud, soundly missing estimates for the fifth time in a row and announcing plans to stop issuing guidance as well.

And as if that weren’t enough, former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has resigned from RIM’s board, and its CTO and COO are stepping down.

What a train wreck.

For its latest quarter, RIM reported a net loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share, compared to net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share, for the same period last year. Earnings on an adjusted basis were 80 cents a share for the period. And revenue slipped 25 percent to $4.19 billion.

Analysts had expected RIM to post earnings of 83 cents a share on revenue of $4.56 billion for the period, so this was an ugly miss. Making matters worse, BlackBerry shipments were just 11.1 million units for the past quarter, well below what many analysts had been hoping for, and at the lower end of RIM’s own guidance. The company said it shipped about 500,000 PlayBooks, which is more than it shipped last quarter, but still disappointing.

Today’s earnings were the first reported under the leadership of CEO Thorsten Heins, who took over from co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in late January. And while Heins at first seemed like he would simply follow his predecessors’ lead, he’s clearly bringing a more critical eye to the company.

In RIM’s earnings statement today, Heins said that while the company has many opportunities, it also has a daunting few quarters ahead of it.

“The business challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant, and I am taking the necessary steps to address them,” he said. “In addition to delivering the BlackBerry 10 platform and refocusing resources on RIM’s key opportunities, such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and new integrated service offerings, we will also drive greater operational performance through a variety of initiatives, including increased management accountability and process discipline. In parallel, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of strategic opportunities, including partnerships and joint ventures, licensing and other ways to leverage RIM’s assets and maximize value for our stakeholders.”

No doubt Heins will have quite a bit more to say during RIM’s earnings call. Check out Ina Fried’s liveblog for coverage of that.

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