Toronto – BlackBerry maker
exceeded its third-quarter forecasts, attributing the advances to
new products, smartphones’ growing market share, its growing consumer focus,
and increasingly aggressive retailer and carrier efforts that included two-for-one
deals from Verizon Wireless and Sprint.
RIM exceeded its September forecasts for device shipments, net
subscriber activations, revenues and earnings for the fiscal quarter ending Nov.
The company also forecast continuing momentum into its fiscal fourth
quarter and vowed to remain aligned with carriers at a time of “a lot of
turbulence in the channel,” said co-CEO
Jim Balsillie. Because of changing device platforms and applications
strategies, Balsillie said, “Some carriers are feeling quite concerned about
how they maintain their relevance.” RIM, he said, wants “to be an agent of that
relevance for them … entrenching it and extending it in a value-added way.” RIM,
he continued “represents an element of consistency and alignment with the
carrier.” Although RIM “can’t force love,” he said, “we’re consistent in our
alignment, we’re consistent with our commitment to their prosperity, and
generally they respond positively to that.”
Also to keep its momentum going, RIM is talking to carriers about
tiered pricing plans to expand RIM’s total addressable market. The first such plan
from a major U.S.
carrier is T-Mobile’s first prepaid Blackberry plan.
For its fiscal third quarter, the company posted a 41 percent
gain in year-over-year revenue to $2.92 billion and a 59 percent gain in net
income to $628 million, with quarterly device shipments worldwide exceeding 10
million for the first time. The company’s net new subscriber activations rose
70 percent to 4.4 million year over year and rose sequentially by 16 percent.
More than 80 percent of the net new subscribers were non-enterprise
subscribers, the company noted of its growing consumer adoption.
For the fiscal fourth quarter, RIM forecast net new subscriber
additions of 4.4 million to 4.7 million, compared with the third quarter’s 4.4
million, and device shipments of 10.6 million to 11.2 million, compared with
the third quarter’s more than 10 million. Gross margins were forecast to rise
to 43.5 percent, up sequentially from the third quarter’s 42.7 percent, because
of efforts to reduce its bill of materials and growth in higher-margin markets
outside North America. Third-quarter margins
were in line with company forecasts but were down sequentially from the
second-quarter’s 44.1 percent and the year-ago quarter’s 45.6 percent.
Sixth-three percent of revenues in the third quarter came from North America.