John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry on Z10 Return Reports: Gross Misreading of Data or Willful Manipulation

BlackBerry is calling high jinks on a research report that claimed it has been experiencing abnormally high returns of its new flagship smartphone. After disputing the report’s accuracy on Thursday, the company on Friday called for a formal investigation into its origins, decrying it as “materially false and misleading.”

In a statement broadcast Friday morning, BlackBerry said it will seek a review of a client note from investment firm Detwiler Fenton that reported return rates for the company’s new Z10 smartphone in the U.S. were extraordinarily high. “In several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” Detwiler Fenton claimed.

The research firm’s report brutalized BlackBerry’s stock, dragging the company’s share price down about 7.8 percent to $13.55. BlackBerry rebutted the claims before day’s end Thursday, describing them as “absolutely false” in an emailed statement that argued that Z10 return rates are not only in line with or better than expectations, but are consistent with return rates for other rival smartphones.

And this morning it went on the offensive. In an official press release, BlackBerry said it is seeking regulatory review of the Detwiler Fenton report by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission.

“Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry,” BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said. “To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”

Detwiler Fenton, for its part, says it is confident in its research methodology and welcomes any regulatory scrutiny.

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