After a roller coaster of a week, RIM has just released its fiscal Q2 2013 financials and — shocker — they’re not as bad as some thought. The Waterloo-based company reported a net GAAP loss of $235 million (which equates to $0.45/share diluted) on revenues of $2.9 billion, enough to beat analysts’ grim expectatations.
Given all that RIM’s been through recently, it’s no surprise that analysts haven’t been very bullish on the company — as per a Thomson Reuters poll, they expected the company to report a loss of $0.46/share on revenue of $2.48 billion.
It’s still not great news for the RIM, but it’s a welcome change from its downright lousy earnings figures (net loss of $518 million on $2.8 billion in revenue) reported last quarter. What’s more, it’s the first time in three quarters that RIM has managed to bump its quarterly revenue.
CEO Thorsten Heins spilled the beans about the company’s user base growth during his BlackBerry Jam keynote address, but the release goes into more detail about how many devices RIM was able to move in the past three months. The company reported that it shipped 7.4 million BlackBerrys this quarter, along with 130,000 PlayBooks — not exactly great news compared to the 7.8 million BlackBerrys and roughly 260,000 PlayBook tablets RIM shipped in the previous quarter, and the 10.6 million BlackBerrys and 200,000 PlayBooks in Q2 2012.
The annual buying frenzy is just around the corner, but if earlier reports are any indication, RIM plans to keep its head down when it comes to new product releases — a roadmap leaked back in July correctly foretold the release of a LTE-enabled PlayBook, but indicated that there was nothing else on the horizon. The roadmap also jibes with a remark that Heins delivered at the company’s last annual shareholders meeting about cutting costs — he noted that RIM would reduce trim its number of manufacturing sites from ten to three, and focus more on a smaller set of devices.
The point is, many of RIM’s smartphone competitors will experience some sort of sales lift as people procure their holiday gadgets, and that’s a potential boost that RIM will largely miss out on. Meanwhile, you can bet that companies like HTC, Samsung, and Nokia will be pushing their new Windows Phone 8 devices like crazy over the next few months, which will almost certainly make Heins’ plans to secure a third place position in the smartphone market race even tougher to pull off. Timing, as they say, is everything.
What exactly that means for the company’s next earnings report (due to be released on December 20) remains to be seen, and now that RIM no longer provides qualitative guidance, it’s tough to get a feel for the company’s expectations. That said, the company does note that it’s preparing for “continued pressure on operating results” thanks to the “increasing competitive environment” and “lower handset volumes” — in short, the company’s tour through rough seas should continue unabated, and plenty of analysts and pundits will reiterate that point in the hours and days to come.
As I’ve pointed out earlier this week, RIM’s stock price hit a nine year low back on Monday but it began to recover thanks to some heartening news from the company’s BlackBerry Jam developer conference. Now that RIM has managed to beat analyst expectations (if only barely on some counts), the company’s stock price has jumped nearly 15% in after-hours trading.