BlackBerry rings in surprise

Even though it posted another round of losses and weakened revenue, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion delivered a surprisingly positive second-quarter earnings report on Thursday that wasn't as bad as many analysts expected.

The technology company, which is based in Waterloo, Ont. and reports in U.S. dollars, posted a quarterly loss of US$235 million or 45 cents per diluted share.

The results compare with a profit of $329 million or 63 cents per share a year ago.

For many companies these results would be dismal, but for RIM, which has been struggling with numerous obstacles including the delay of its new smartphones and BlackBerry 10 operating system and massive layoffs, the fact that its bad news wasn't worse proved encouraging to some.

Much of the optimism was gleaned from adjusted earnings per share, which filter out one-time costs like expenses related to job reductions and cost cuts.

RIM's adjusted loss was $142 million or 27 cents per share, better than analyst expectations of a loss of 47 cents per share, according to a poll from Bloomberg.

Despite impressing investors, RIM still has many challenges ahead. Its revenues were notably weaker, down 31 per cent to $2.87 billion from $4.17 billion a year ago.

RIM said it shipped about 7.4 million BlackBerrys during the quarter, down from 7.8 million in the first quarter, showing that interest in its existing models is starting to wane.

However, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said he was surprised that RIM managed to keep so many customers interested.

"Management sold more Blackberries than we thought," he noted in an emailed response.

RIM also shipped more PlayBook tablets to stores in the quarter, at 260,000 units compared to 130,000 in the first quarter.

The results show that RIM is making some progress as it moves towards to its next generation of BlackBerry smartphones and completes its cost reduction plan, said chief executive Thorsten Heins.


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