The delay in its introduction - long suspected - was confirmed in a conference call last Friday on the company's Q3 financial results but was not mentioned in the results announcement.
Close RIM watcher Kris Thompson, an analyst with National Bank Financial in Canada, has been making pessimistic forecasts on RIM's future for some time. He responded the latest bad news with an even more gloomy prognosis, saying it was "likely game over" for RIM. "This delay is materially longer than expected, and will make a turnaround very difficult, in our view."
According to Thompson, RIM blamed the delay on "the requirement for a chipset with a highly integrated dual core LTE platform that won't be available until mid-2012." He added: "Before now, the BB10 portfolio was expected in early C2012; management waited a very long time to disclose this material information'¦
"The QNX software re-write and hardware integration for the BB10 smartphones is taking much longer than expected. We expect RIM to lose another three percent of global market share while waiting for the BB10 handsets; we may be understating RIM's market loss as customers adopt competing platforms. RIM may also experience even more BB10 delays."
On RIM's Q3 results he said they "look great in comparison the next quarter," for which RIM has issued guidance "worse than feared." RIM is forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 ending March 3, 2012 to be in the range of $US4.6b - $US4.9B. Gross margin is expected to be approximately 38 percent. BlackBerry smartphone shipments are expected to be between 11 million and 12 million units.
For Q3 RIM reported BlackBerry smartphone shipments of 14.1 million, up 33 percent from Q2; net income of $US265m; subscribers up 35 percent year-over-year to almost 75 million.
Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 was $US5.2b, up 24 percent from $US4.2b in the previous quarter but down six percent from $US5.5b in the same quarter of last year. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 79 percent for hardware, 19 percent for service and two percent for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 14.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 150,000 PlayBook tablets.
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