Lost in the mess of Research In Motion's (RIMM) debacle of a Q1 2012 conference call in June was an EPS beat. The company even grew revenues by 16% between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012. Despite this, RIMM got clobbered on guidance that proved that it is, indeed, the laughingstock of Wall Street.
RIM lowered Q2 revenues to the downside by roughly $1 billion. And it gave a range of $0.75 to $1.05 versus what was a Q2 consensus EPS of $1.38, according to Briefing.com. On Thursday, it reports its much-anticipated Q2 numbers.
Apple (AAPL) has a way of under-promising and over-delivering, quarter after quarter. To contend that RIM management is capable of doing anything of the sort shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what a poor handle Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have on their business.
Something I wrote back in late March when I fired up the RIMM bear bandwagon still stands as an excellent illustration of management's ineptness:
There's only one travesty bigger than the National Hockey League denying Jim Balsille's bid to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario, and that's RIMM's tablet outlook. Did I hear Balsille correctly on Thursday's conference call? He has received calls from "many corporate clients" expressing "extremely high interest" in "wanting tens of thousands, several tens of thousands of PlayBooks." Sounds like a post-game interview with a hockey player: Incredibly vague and uninformative. By contrast, during the company's most recent earnings call, Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer reported that 83% of the Fortune 100 was already "deploying or piloting iPad." As for how to play RIMM - pick a put, any put. Actually, after a probable bounce off of its lows next week, I would look to get on RIMM's short side.
From there, RIM mishandled FY 2012 guidance, faced more embarrassing product delays and, for some unknown reason, launched a BlackBerry music service. Bottom line - don't expect things to get fixed overnight. Or ever.
This quarter means very little. What RIM says about the future does not matter much either. If RIMM happens to pop on some sort of a beat after Thursday's bell or if management raises guidance on "hope and change" over its QNX launch, don't fall for the sucker's rally. The recent rise from $21.60 to as high as $33.54 was a gift, if you were savvy enough to trade it. Don't get greedy. Take your profits and run.
Investors should hold RIM management guilty until proven innocent. Don't count on the strategy of selling $200 Blackberrys to the Indonesian middle class. While it sounds great to RIMM diehard longs who want to believe the best, RIM has lost and will continue to lose the battle where the money's at - in enterprise and in the world's wealthiest markets where new and old smart phone users continue to opt for iPhone and Android (GOOG) devices.
Disclosure: I am short RIMM.
Additional disclosure: I am short RIMM via a position in RIMM January 2012 put options.