By Chris Velazco
RIM (RIMM) has just released its fiscal Q3 2013 earnings report, and once against its quarterly results managed to squeak by analysts’ grim forecasts. RIM reported a net GAAP loss of $114 million (equivalent to $0.22 per share) on revenues of $2.7 billion this time around, while the general consensus leading up to the release was that the company would lose $0.35 per share on $2.66 billion in revenues.
BlackBerry smartphone shipments were down this quarter, though that’s really nothing out of the ordinary — with all of the company’s efforts focused on getting BlackBerry 10 in ship-shape before pushing it out the door, there was little effort to release any new BlackBerry 7 hardware. RIM shipped 6.9 million BlackBerrys this quarter, down half a million units from its levels last quarter. Meanwhile, PlayBook shipments nearly doubled in Q3, thanks in large part to the company’s release of a 4G-enabled variant in certain markets.
Putting hardware aside for a moment, analysts have been talking about two key metrics in the days leading up to the release: subscribers and cash position. RIM managed to increase its cash position by over half a million dollars since last quarter, but didn’t fare nearly as well on the subscriber front. Just prior to its last earnings release, CEO Thorsten Heins noted that the company grew its number of users from 78 million to 80 million — this time, the company reported only 79 million subscribers. Perhaps it’s to be expected, but I’m sure no one at RIM was proud of that particular revelation.
At this point, we’re all waiting for RIM to deliver its would-be savior: BlackBerry 10. It won’t be long before RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 devices officially see the light of day, and at this point the leaks are coming hard and fast. After posting a lukewarm teaser to its BlackBerry 10 landing page, RIM was probably surprised to see its first all-touch BB10 smartphone photographed in extraordinary detail by Vietnamese gadget forum Tinhte.vn. Meanwhile, a recently posted image from the venerable EvLeaks seems to have given the oft-photographed device a name — it’s expected to be called the BlackBerry Z10 when it makes its official debut.
Now, let’s be clear here — the only really good thing about this quarter is that it wasn’t quite as bad as some had expected. For RIM, that just can’t be enough anymore. It certainly has a long road to plow, and the company has made it clear that it doesn’t expect to pull Apple (AAPL) or Google (GOOG) from the top of the mobile OS charts, but BlackBerry 10 is an intriguing little operating system and I suspect it’ll surprise at least a few of the company’s detractors.