updated 03:10 pm EDT, Fri October 24, 2008
BBerry Subs Drop Fast
BlackBerry subscription rates have dropped significantly and now leave Research in Motion dependent on its new devices to avoid a potentially damaging level of fall sales, a research note from AmTech Research analyst Rob Sanderson says today. He notes that weekly subscription rates have fallen by 20 percent from September to October and that forecasts of 2.9 million new BlackBerry users by the end of its current quarter, which ends in November, are currently "at risk."
Investors are already taking this drop into account and have contributed to the steep drop in RIM's shares, the analyst says. The company's stock was trading at nearly $148 in the spring but as of Friday afternoon is worth less than $45.
Sanderson doesn't see any immediate evidence of a turnaround but notes that the release of upcoming models will be important to bolstering the company's performance, particularly in 2009. The company has been hurt by multiple delays for the BlackBerry Bold but will finally release the 3G smartphone in the US on November 4th, roughly half a year after its original announcement.
The company is also dependent on the BlackBerry Storm launches at Bell, Telus, Verizon and Vodafone, all of which will give those carriers and RIM itself one of the most direct alternatives to the iPhone.