RIM's Q4 outlook: BlackBerry shipment projections tank

Blackberry device shipments will be between 11 million and 12 million units in the fourth quarter, well below projections.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Research in Motion's fiscal fourth quarter outlook disappointed on many fronts as it sees lower-than-expected BlackBerry shipments ahead.

The company said that its revenue for the fourth quarter ending March 3 will be between $4.6 billion and $4.9 billion with earnings between 80 cents a share and 95 cents a share. Blackberry device shipments will be between 11 million and 12 million units.

For the fourth quarter, Wall Street was looking for earnings of $1.16 a share on revenue of $5.08 billion.

Wall Street was officially expecting 13.1 million BlackBerry devices to ship in the fourth quarter, but many analysts were expecting to cut their estimates. Even pessimistic analysts were expecting higher BlackBerry shipments in the fourth quarter.

For instance, Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum estimated that RIM would project fourth quarter BlackBerry shipments between 11.7 million and 12.7 million.

When compared with third quarter BlackBerry shipments it's clear that RIM is facing an inventory glut. RIM shipped 14.1 million BlackBerry devices in the fiscal third quarter.

Also see: RIM expected to cut BlackBerry sales targets

The company reported third quarter earnings $265 million, or 51 cents a share, on revenue of $5.2 billion, down 6 percent from a year ago. Those results include a $54 million charge due to a service interruption and a $485 million charge for a glut of PlayBook tablets. Backing out those charges, RIM would have reported adjusted earnings of $1.27 a share.

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