RIM cuts profit forecast on weak BlackBerry sales

By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Research in Motion on Thursday slashed its earnings forecast for the current quarter, citing sluggish BlackBerry sales.

The company now expects that its per-share earnings will be in the range of $1.30 to $1.37 -- lower than the $1.47 to $1.55 range it forecast last month. It also reduced its revenue guidance, saying it thinks it will come in "slightly below" the $5.2 billion it previously offered as a low-end estimate.

RIM said earlier that it expects to sell 13.5 million to 14.5 million BlackBerry smartphones in its ongoing quarter, which will end May 31. It now expects to be at the lower end of that range, and it warned that customers who are buying BlackBerrys are opting for the cheaper models.

That's an ominous sign for a device maker that's fighting hard to stay on top in a market it once dominated.

On a conference call with analysts, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie used the word "transition" at least a dozen times, citing the company's move to position itself as a player in the higher-end smartphone market and in the tablet arena.

"Yes there's a transition right now, yes it's affecting near-term volume, but we don't think it changes our long-term strategy," he said. "This is a transition between the existing architecture and the new architecture."

RIM's new tablet, the PlayBook, debuted earlier this month to lukewarm reviews.

Balsillie passionately defended the PlayBook on Thursday's call, launching into a mini-rant about its underappreciated potential.

"Nobody doubts the absolute performance of that machine and what can be done," he said."We have actually put this company straight in the middle of the tablet mobile computing space."

RIM said that it expects PlayBook sales this quarter to live up to its earlier expectations. It added that Japan's earthquake has not caused any significant supply disruptions.

Shares of RIM were briefly halted after hours. When trading resumed, RIMM (RIMM) shares dropped 11%.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,461.32 -153.49 -0.92%
Nasdaq 4,382.85 -36.63 -0.83%
S&P 500 1,927.11 -14.17 -0.73%
Treasuries 2.23 0.02 0.95%
Data as of 5:27am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.40 -0.20 -1.20%
Yahoo! Inc 42.00 1.82 4.53%
Apple Inc 102.99 0.52 0.51%
Facebook Inc 78.37 -0.32 -0.41%
Boston Scientific Co... 12.32 0.29 2.41%
Data as of Oct 22

Sections

Las Vegas might have first class shopping, dining and nightlife. But for serious gambling, head to Macau. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Uber canceled its free rides with hot girls promotion in Lyon, France before it ever launched. More

Startups focusing on "ag tech," or agricultural technology, are gaining the attention of farmers and investors More

Dressing up in crazy costumes, traveling the world, posing for photos -- and getting paid to do it. Here are journal entries from a day in the life of professional "cosplay" character, Linda Le. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.