Expectations for RIM's performance called 'overly pessimistic'

Is there room for RIM's BlackBerry operating system in a mobile space dominated by two players? One analyst believes that expectations may have gotten "overly pessimistic."
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

How is RIM, the beleaguered makers of once-coveted BlackBerry handsets, doing? Analysts' crystal balls appear to be malfunctioning, resulting in a rift between those who think the company is toast, and those who think it has a chance.

However, given the rally in share prices over the past few weeks, one analyst believes that expectations may "have gotten overly pessimistic."


According to Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, the recent 30 percent rally could result in "upside surprises" given the "overly pessimistic expectations" that analysts, Wall Street, and pundits have had with regard to the company lately.

With this in mind, he is predicting $11.3 billion in revenue and a loss of $1.05 in earnings per share for the 2013 fiscal year, compared to the consensus estimates of $11.1 billion in revenue and a loss of $1.26 in earnings per share.

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Another upside is carrier interest in the platform, which seem to be hedging their bets.

"Carriers are growing increasingly leery with the growing dominance of iOS and Android," says Wu, "and have been looking for a viable third or potentially fourth platform with the hope that either BB10 and/or Windows 8 takes off."

But it's not all good news. Wu is concerned that RIM has been able to hold on to a $2.3 billion cash balance despite big operating losses through, "changes in working capital and its conversion of accounts receivable."

"It is not clear how sustainable this is as this is an accounting maneuver as opposed to an improvement in its fundamentals," writes Wu. He also has concerns about whether there's room for another mobile platform, questioning the need for, "a third or fourth mobile OS touchscreen platform," and whether there is enough to differentiate what BlackBerry has to offer from iOS and Android.

"To us, it's not just the number of apps, but the quality of apps and whether developers are making money and customers are using them," concludes Wu.

Analysts seem to be undecided as to where RIM is headed, but ultimately it all rests on whether users -- both consumer and enterprise -- are willing to look beyond Android and iOS and put their faith in RIM to deliver solid hardware backed by a robust ecosystem. 

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