This was the pivotal quarter for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), as it was the first full quarter that BlackBerry 10 devices were on sale. Heading into this morning’s earnings release, Street analysts were staunchly divided on how the Canadian smartphone maker would fare.
There is no consensus
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who rates Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) a buy with a $22 price target, had been predicting a blowout and was modeling for $4.1 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $0.50. The analyst was modeling for 4 million BB10 units this quarter. Misek has been one of the most vocal BlackBerry bulls on the Street.
On the other end of the spectrum has been Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu, slapping an underperform rating and $10 price target on Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY). The BlackBerry bear was expecting sales of $3.35 billion and earnings per share of $0.23, believing BB10 units would be just 3 million and older BB7 units would be 4 million.
Well, the company has just posted results that fell dramatically short of even bearish estimates. Total revenue was $3.1 billion, which was down 15% sequentially. Gross margin also fell from 40.1% to 33.9% sequentially.
Investors were expecting the company to post black ink after Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), generated $0.22 per share in adjusted profit last time around. Sadly, it swung to an adjusted loss of $0.13 per share. The company cited Venezuelan foreign currency restrictions as negatively impacting earnings by roughly $0.10 per share.
All eyes on BB10
Total BlackBerry smartphone units shipped came in at 6.8 million, with 100,000 PlayBook tablets shipped. Of the smartphone total, CEO Thorsten Heins said that approximately 40% of these were BB10 devices, or 2.7 million. That was well below how many next-generation devices investors were hoping BlackBerry shipped.
The figure also reinforces the theory that the large purchase order Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) touted for 1 million BB10 units in March was really just a distribution partner or wireless carrier stocking inventory and was no indication of sell-through.
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s subscriber base continues to contract, losing 4 million in the quarter to end near 72 million. That’s the lowest level of paying subscribers in nearly two years.