Looking for Positives?
Well, there are a couple, the company continued to grow its subscriber base with only the North American sector down. That means the rest of the world, who presumably don't obsessively read the tech pages, are getting on with their BB devices quite happily. Recent low- and mid-range product launches will be helping it in emerging markets, even so revenue from overseas is declining, so sales of high-end devices must be down. Another plus is that RIM hasn't started to bleed cash yet and still has $2.2 billion in the bank.
Now for the not so positive, the company only managed $2.8 billion of revenue in the quarter, losing over $500 million while shipping 8 million devices. While the revenue number may sound like a lot to you or me, it was down a third on RIM's last quarter and 42% down on last year's number.
But What's To Come?
The delay in the launch of BB10, shown off in an alpha form at RIM's developer conference, suggests there is still much work to do. With even more staff being cut, those working on the project must be doing so under an air of despondency, and quite likely looking for positions elsewhere.
In its announcement, the company explained the delay; "Over the past several weeks, RIM’s software development teams have made major progress in the development of key features for the BlackBerry 10 platform; however, the integration of these features and the associated large volume of code into the platform has proven to be more time consuming than anticipated. As a result, the company now expects to launch the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones in market in Q1 of calendar 2013."
Reuters is reporting that among the company's options are selling its network business (which could be opened up for rivals to use) or partnering with another company (likely, Microsoft). Neither is a great option for the company's long-term future and it may have to tough it out and hope that BB10 is a stellar success. In the earnings call (transcript here) CEO Thorsten Heins said the company in "intensive discussions" to license RIM offerings, such as BlackBerry Messenger.
Also posted were thoughts by Forrester analyst, Charles Golvi, who neatly summed up RIM's woes. "The window for BlackBerry to remain a platform with viable growth potential is closing, and this development illustrates the pace at which it is closing. In the upcoming period before the BlackBerry 10 launch we expect a new iPhone, more Android devices running Google's latest version, and a massive push from Microsoft behind all the next versions of Windows. For the first BlackBerry 10 device to win the attention of customers and developer at its new launch date it will have to prove itself better than the alternatives by leaps and bounds — the likelihood of that is very, very low."
So, BB10 or bust seems to be the likely outcome for RIM, and while it will be a great shame if it can't make the new OS work, technology is littered with such stories.