Competition with Apple and Android devices makes for a rocky start to 2012.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) said March 29 it swung to a loss in its most recent quarter, in disappointing first results for the struggling device maker under its new chief executive.
The Waterloo, Ontario firm posted a net loss of $125 million for its fiscal fourth quarter to March 3, compared with a profit of $418 million a year earlier.
That dragged down the full fiscal 2012 profit to $1.16 billion, down sharply from $3.4 billion a year earlier as RIM battled against Apple's (IW 500/14) iPhones and iPads and an onslaught of Android-powered devices.
RIM also said Jim Balsillie, a co-founder and co-chief executive until his resignation in January, would step down from the board, completing his retirement from the company.
During the past quarter, RIM shipped some 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and over 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. Analysts had expected shipments of 11.4 million BlackBerry devices.
Revenues for the period of $4.2 billion were down 25 percent from a year ago and below market expectations.
The results provided a rocky start for chief operating officer Thorsten Heins, who was named president and CEO after the resignation of Balsillie and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis following months of investor pressure for a change.
"I have assessed many aspects of RIM's business during my first 10 weeks as CEO," Heins said.
"I have confirmed that the company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance, including RIM's global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of more than 77 million subscribers."
Heins, who joined RIM from German industrial giant Siemens (IW 1000/26) in 2007 and served as senior vice president for hardware engineering and later as chief operating officer, said he was "excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012."
He acknowledged that "the business challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant and I am taking the necessary steps to address them."
In addition to the Balsillie departure, David Yach will be retiring from his role as chief technology officer and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, "has decided to pursue other interests."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012
- "Apple, Google Eating Into RIM's Share of Smartphone Market"
- "CEOs of BlackBerry Maker Research In Motion Resign"