RIM Reports Earnings Increase, Boasts of Optimism for 2011

by Jordan Richardson on December 17, 2010

That Waterloo’s RIM is a favourite target of fidgety doomsayers goes without saying. Hardly a day goes by without countless reporters sounding the alarms and signifying the “beginning of the end” for the company. In fairness, there are good reasons to consider Research In Motion’s heyday to be drawing to a close, but, if Mark Twain will permit me, the reports of RIM’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Thursday saw RIM release its third quarter earnings. They reported a 58% increase in earnings on the quarter, topping at $911.1 million USD or $1.74 per share. RIM also reported that smart phone shipments were up 40% compared to the same period a year ago, reaching a record of 14.2 million.

These figures put RIM a full dime ahead of analyst predictions that had the company sitting at $164 per share. The shipment estimates, too, were off by a little bit. According to CBC News, analysts predicted shipments in line with around 14.1 million.

When the second quarter ended, RIM saw “sharp” increases in total revenue. The predictions as to the company’s slip, however, continued unabated. The earnings from the third quarter haven’t quelled the fires, either, as analysts continue to suggest that RIM will lose market share to Apple and Android. This is a clear assertion, one that few would argue with, but perhaps RIM’s fortunes (and focuses) lie elsewhere.

“International markets continue to adopt BlackBerry in record numbers and BlackBerry is the number one smartphone in several markets in Western Europe, including the U.K.,” co-CEO Jim Balsillie said. He also noted that pre-paid BlackBerry units were the top-selling smart phones in Indonesia, the Netherlands and other countries.

Along with boasting about international penetration, RIM is confident in the upcoming PlayBook. The tablet is being geared towards business customers due to its “strong corporate appeal,” but Balsillie says his company wants to target the iPad and other popular devices as well. This may be more mustard for the shareholders and media than anything else, I suspect, as the tablet market is going to be a tough nut to crack.

There is reason for optimism for Research In Motion, but Balsillie and Co. have an uphill climb. Not only do they have to contend with insistent oracles predicting their demise, but they have to find a way to gain and maintain market share without losing a wheel.

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