The same day some BlackBerry users experienced a service outage, Research In Motion (RIM) blew away Street expectations with its third-quarter earnings despite hot competition in the smartphone sector.
Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was $628.4 million, or $1.10 per share diluted, compared with net income of $396.3 million, or 69 cents per share diluted, in the same quarter last year. Analysts had projected RIM to earn $1.04 a share.
Revenue was $3.92 billion, up 41 percent from $2.78 billion in the same quarter of last year. During the quarter, RIM shipped about 10.1 million devices. About 4.4 million net new BlackBerry subscriber accounts were added, ending the quarter with a total BlackBerry subscriber account base of about 36 million.
Jim Balsillie, co-CEO at RIM, didn’t talk about yesterday’s service outage but told analysts during a conference call that the fourth quarter looks good as well. Growth is coming not only in North America but around the world. The company this week announced its second TD-SCDMA deal in China, with China Telecom.
Aggressive pricing and promotions on behalf of carriers are helping the company keep its brand alive even among the Androids and iPhones. During the quarter, RIM launched the Storm 2 with Verizon and Vodafone, the Bold 9700 with multiple carriers and the Curve 8530 for CDMA. The Storm 2 was launched in October, although it was pretty much drowned out publicity-wise by Verizon Wireless’ launch of the Motorola Droid.
Balsillie said RIM’s results continue to be pleasantly surprising but they’re never sure it’s going to be the same pleasant surprise the next year as it was the prior year. He also said “you can’t force love,” but the company continues to align itself with carriers’ interests.
When asked about how RIM can manage bandwidth for carriers, Balsillie said “it’s one of those things where until these guys start hitting a wall, they don’t believe you. And they are having huge problems in Europe.” Referring to quality of service issues in North America, he said those are air link capacity issues and sometimes backhaul.
The spectrum situation in China is pretty orderly, but the rest of the world doesn’t really work that way. “You can’t repurpose spectrum like you can fiber,” he said. “I think Wi-Fi and sideloading is going to be their friend. I think careful management of the network is coming on.”
The tricky part is carriers are talking about it and upping capacity, but the heavy apps and big file sharing apps are more than gobbling up capacity as it is being put on and that gap is widening in an unsustainable model, he said.
A transcript of the call can be found here.