Research In Motion (RIM) may have few defenders left after yesterday’s third-quarter earnings call, when the company reported yet another delay for its forthcoming line of QNX-based BlackBerry 10 devices.
Citing a delay in chipsets for the new devices, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said during a conference call that the BlackBerry 10 devices won’t hit the market until “the latter part of 2012.”
Lazaridis said the company was waiting on a LTE-capable, high-efficiency, low-power chipset that is still being developed. While the BlackBerry 7 devices have sold well in other parts of the world, they haven’t done well here in the United States. Lazaridis said that meeting the expectations of consumers here in the United States was a big part of why the company was waiting for the chipsets.
RIM has had to hang its hat on its latest line of BlackBerry 7 devices until it can start shipping BlackBerry 10 products, which the company says will be more competitive with current Android and iOS offerings. RIM shipped a total of 14.1 million handsets in the third quarter and a total of 38 million in the first nine months of its fiscal 2012.
Guidance for the fourth quarter was disappointing. The company expects to ship 11 million to 12 million handsets in the quarter, with revenue topping out between $4.6 billion and $4.9 billion.
Co-CEO Jim Balsillie called the last few quarters “some of the most trying for the company in recent history,” acknowledging that shareholders feel the company has “fallen short.”
Both Lazaridis and Balsillie have agreed to have their salaries reduced to $1 per year.
Income for the quarter was $265 million, down from $911 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue was down 6 percent at $5.17 billion, compared to $5.5 billion in the same quarter last year.
The 71 percent drop in earnings was due in large part to a previously announced $485 million charge related to excess inventory of the BlackBerry Playbook. RIM shipped just 150,000 PlayBooks in the third quarter and 800,000 over the past nine months. The company has resorted to deep discounts on its QNX-based tablet over the holidays.
Nevertheless, Lazaridis reasserted RIM’s commitment to the PlayBook going forward and promised a rollout of the PlayBook 2.0 software sometime in February. The firmware update will bring with it native email, contacts and calendar, as well as the highly anticipated “Android Player,” which will allow users to run Android apps on the device.
Investors have been leaving the company in droves. Shares of RIM were down over 11 percent to a 52-week low of $13.48 in early morning trading. Shares of RIM hit an all-time high of $144 back June of 2008, at the height of the company’s success.