A lot has happened since my last and fortuitous Blackberry (a.k.a. Research in Motion) (RIMM) piece when the stock was sub $7 and I called a buy. The stock has run to $18 only to retreat on a mixture of:
· Sell the news
· Investor disappointment at US launch dates on both models
· Short hedge funds creaming the stock intraday to cause a little panic
The shares sit around $13 now and what are investors to do now?
Quick Channel Check Time:
First, you need to examine Ebay in the US. Phones are selling for $1700. I haven't seen this kind of off-market pricing since iPhone 1.
I took a walk down High Street Kensington in London today and walked into three stores:
The store has had numerous inquiries so far and are very surprised. One gentleman walked in with 12 BB 10 phones in a bag and looking to buy more (Black marketer.) Seriously, a black market for Blackberries? Give me a break.
(Everything Everywhere (TMobile and Orange UK))
This morning alone the store sold seven contracts and said this was a lot for them. There is a lot of walk-in interest too.
This was the only vendor to sell the phone sim free, off plan. It is sold out of phones (most London CPWs are sold out, you can check inventory online). More interestingly, as of this morning, CarphoneWharehouse have stopped selling them sim free, off contract. Now this about-face, which is not even visible online as of 3 PM London time today (It still reads 'sim free available') should tell you that the largest phone retailer in the UK has been caught flat footed by the demand. (My experience is they accept the order and then email you back two hours later 'Sorry'. Try it for yourself.) This is only done when CPW feels it has so much leverage having handsets in store that it can force contracts out of users. This is basically a very aggressive move by CPW to leverage phones into contracts. CPW only does this when it has a hit, like an iPhone in the past. It's also clearly unplanned. The employee remarked that this will not change probably for another two weeks.
What does this mean to you?
Well, if a Blackberry with barely any ad support in the UK and no keyboard (?) is flying off the shelf, you need to understand that the un-crossable bridge for Blackberry, selling new phones in the first world, has just been crossed, and it managed this with a keyboard less phone. With the stock down from $18 to $13.25, this is a steal.
Disclosure: I am long RIMM.