PlayBook hurts RIM results PDF Print E-mail

Sales of the BlackBerry tablet were “well below expectations” and Research In Motion pins hopes on BlackBerry 7 devices.

Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of BlackBerry, posted disappointing financial results for its second quarter, attributed largely to poor PlayBook sales.

The Canadian company`s quarterly results were announced yesterday, with revenue for the second quarter of $4.2 billion, down 15% from $4.9 billion in the previous quarter and down 10% from $4.6 billion in the same quarter of last year.

The company has lost 58% of its stock value this year, and last month announced it was cutting 10% of its global workforce to reduce costs, while also reorganising its upper management.

A disappointing 200 000 units of the BlackBerry PlayBook were shipped this quarter. Half a million PlayBooks were reportedly shipped in the first quarter. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said sales of the tablet were “well below expectations”.

“PlayBook has established itself as a high-performance tablet, which we believe will be successful in a market in its infancy, but is rapidly growing.”

Apple reportedly shipped more than 300 000 iPads on the first day of sales in April 2010. An estimated 30 million iPads have been sold since launch. Estimates from Lenovo also say iPad challenger Samsung Galaxy Tab has only sold 20 000 units of the one million tablets shipped.

The PlayBook was heavily criticised upon entering the market in April due to its lack of native e-mail, shortage of apps and heavy reliance on a connection with a BlackBerry smartphone.

Upgrades ahead

Lazaridis says RIM will issue a software upgrade for the PlayBook next month that will include dedicated e-mail, contacts and calendar programs, as well as software to allow the PlayBook to run Android applications.

The PlayBook only recently became available in SA, and regional director for Southern Africa, Craige Fleischer, said he was positive that the tablet would appeal to the already strong local BlackBerry market.

Fleischer also pointed out that sales of the tablet had been much better than expected in regions such as Australia.

This quarter, RIM unveiled the first major overhaul of its BlackBerry handsets in over a year, rolling out its new range of BlackBerry 7 devices. Shipping of BlackBerry handsets was also consequently lower than expected (10.6 million units).

Co-CEO Jim Balsillie says: “Overall unit shipments in the quarter were slightly below our forecast due to lower than expected demand for older models.

“We will continue to build on the success of the BlackBerry 7 launch to drive the business as we focus our development efforts on delivering the next-generation, QNX-based mobile platform next year.”

According to the results, the BlackBerry subscriber base grew 40% year-on-year, to surpass 70 million. RIM also says its smartphone shipments in Q3 are estimated to grow between 27% and 37% over Q2 shipments.

Gartner estimates that RIM`s share of the global smartphone market dropped to 12% in the second quarter from 19% a year earlier. In the same period, Apple climbed to 18%, from 14%, and Google`s Android OS rose to 43%.

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