RIM results beat the street, barely

Research in Motion’s second quarter earnings beat the Street on Thursday but not by enough to quell pessimism about the company’s longterm future.

The Waterloo, Ont. maker of BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets posted a Q2 fiscal 2013 loss of $235 million or 45 cents per share (27 cents a share excluding one-time items). That topped Wall Street estimates of a 46-cent per share loss.

The company also increased its cash stockpile by $100 million during the quarter to a total of $2.3 billion.

A one-year chart of RIM’s stock performance tells the tell of the company’s slide in the past 12 months.

RIM also revealed an upside surprise earlier this week when CEO Thorsten Heins told the BlackBerry Jam developers conference that RIM has actually added two million subscribers to hit a total subscriber base of 80 million in the quarter ended Sept. 1.

Yet overshadowing those tidbits of good news are worries about competitive pressure from Apple and Android devices, the delay in releasing the new BlackBerry 10 operating system (it will debut early in 2013 after being postponed earlier), and the fact that the bulk of BlackBerry subscriber growth is coming from emerging markets where margins are slimmer. Q2 revenues posted today were $2.8 billion, a big tumble from revenues of $4.2 billion in Q2 of fiscal 2012.

“Make no mistake about it, we understand that we have much more work to do, but we are making the organizational changes to drive improvements across the company, our employees are committed and motivated, and BlackBerry 10 is on track to launch in the first calendar quarter of 2013,” Heins stated in the company’s earnings release.

Despite that promise to pick up its boot straps, RIM also acknowledged in the earnings release that it expects to post a Q3 operating loss – and that the pressure it’s facing won’t likely let up any time soon.

“(We expect) that there will be continued pressure on operating results for the remainder of the fiscal year based on the increasing competitive environment, lower handset volumes, increased marketing expense associated with the launch of BlackBerry 10, and some impact from pressure by customers to reduce RIM’s monthly infrastructure access fees,” the company said in the release.

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