Beating the Street
Having been on a bit of a stock price roll recently, RIM managed to beat analysts estimates in yesterday's earnings release, and make a small profit despite losing a million customers, down from 80 to 79 million. Most importantly, the company managed to boost its cash surplus to $2.9 billion, which will be essential in funding the launch of BB10.
RIM also announced it will end its licensing issues over wireless LAN patents with Nokia and make a one-off and subsequent licensing payments to use Nokia's technology. During the conference call, RIM said it will change its service fees plan next year and, independently, we've seen that all major U.K. phone sellers including EE, O2, and Vodafone are on-board for the launch.
However, revenue was down almost 50% and the stock price dropped 10% as the world and his analyst waits for the late (in all senses) January launch of BlackBerry 10. The new OS and devices are the company's key to any revival and are keenly awaited. Some of the gloss has already been sanded off that launch as an image of some marketing material showed off the new phone and name.
No More Secrets
If accurate, RIM has lopped off the confusing four-digit codes and gone with a snappier naming system for its new devices, starting with the Z10 full-screen smartphone that will be available in black and white with angled corners and the smart new UI. Take a peek at UnwiredView.
Reports suggest the current test version of the software is significantly faster in web browser speeds, but since most people find their smartphone browser to be pretty nippy, that's hardly going to help sales. What RIM will need is reinvigorated consumer and enterprise response which will only come with some very smart features, something RIM either doesn't have or is managing to keep under wraps.
Regardless, it is now down to the company's launch (the first highlight of our 2013 predictions) and success with customers, plus a vibrant app store, to see if RIM can start driving profits again, and attract new users. That will be some trick to pull off, but given the company's dire straits in the earlier part of the year, with constant delays and redundancies, it at least has a reasonably solid base to launch from.