Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) ... er, I mean, Blackberry Ltd. (time to catch up, Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance) has been facing a string of negative news surrounding its BlackBerry devices and its operating system. After 18 months of troubles, the company was launching its new BlackBerry 10 operating system in a hope of re-energizing the brand. And after some initial reports out of the U.K. of brisk sales and even some inventory sell-outs in some retail stores, it seems that the truth may be coming out.
And the truth is, some analysts are feeling pretty bearish about where Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) is going from here. This news comes at perhaps a bad time, as the company is expecting to launch BlackBerry 10 in the U.S. in about two to three weeks. Whatever momentum the company might have gathered in Europe may very well be gone by mid-March in the U.S. with talk of some new smartphone devices coming out in the next couple months - namely, a new Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and some new Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone devices.
Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) - I mean, BlackBerry Ltd. - is likely to see its stock fall to $7 per share, according to Michael Genovese of MKM Partners. He went so far as to declare that there is a "90 percent chance" that the new OS will fail. As of 1:30 p.m. Friday, BBRY stock was selling at $13.33 per share, which is down nearly 4 percent on the day. Genovese downgraded the stock to "sell," citing a decided lack of applications that will lead to the demise of the OS, though MKM likes the OS.
“Without a much larger and popular set of applications to choose from, we believe consumers will have little incentive to switch to (BlackBerry 10) from Android or Apple devices,” Genovese wrote in his note.
What do other analysts say? Their focus was on the sales numbers so far.
A couple of other analysts have been tracking the sales numbers of Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) BlackBerry 10 in the U.K., where the new smartphone launched in January. Apparently, reports of dramatic sell-outs was a bit exaggerated. According to analysts at Canaccord Genuity and Pacific Crest, the sell-outs were more due to low initial inventory and not due to high demand. After expectations of as much as 1.7 million units being sold by the end of the company's fiscal year March 2, the expectation is that only 300,000 units will be sold, which would mean a fifth consecutive quarter of losses.
In a Canaccord Genuity research note, “Our global surveys post the recent BlackBerry Z10 launch indicated mixed initial sales with limited initial supply cited as the reason for early post-launch stock-outs at some carrier stores rather than overwhelming demand. Our follow-up checks have indicated steady but modest sales levels.”
Over at Pacific Crest, it's a very similar report in its research note. “We continue to believe the Z10 launch involves relatively small shipment volumes and only moderate sell-through so far in markets which have historically been some of BlackBerry’s strongest. As a result, investor optimism that the BB10 could reverse the company’s trajectory appears to be well overdone at current levels, in our view.”
Have you seen the BlackBerry 10 operating system by Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) - er, I mean, BlackBerry Ltd.? What are your thoughts about it, and do you think the new OS will have a fair shot in the U.S. market when it launches sometime next month? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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