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RIM just edges Apple, ships 14.2m BlackBerry phones in fall

updated 04:30 pm EST, Thu December 16, 2010

RIM ships 14.2 million BlackBerry units fall 2010

RIM on Thursday claimed another record quarter for the fall. It shipped 14.2 million BlackBerry phones, or just enough to top Apple's 14.1 million iPhones in the summer. The tally was 40 percent higher than a year earlier.

It nonetheless showed RIM being primarily dependent on existing users and cheap, prepaid service rather than new customers to grow its base. The company added 5.1 million new Blackberry Internet Service accounts, adding just 600,000 new full users despite shipping 2.1 million new phones.

The shift to lower-end devices was also reflected in the company's profits. Its revenue grew 40 percent to $5.5 billion, but its net income only moved up 14.4 percent, to $911.1 million. The largest portion of its demand in the summer was known to revolve around the BlackBerry Curve 8500 series and later on the Curve 3G. RIM has also regularly been helped by Buy One Get One (BOGO) deals, especially at Verizon, although it now makes up just a small piece of Verizon sales in the wake of Android.

Apple and RIM results don't directly correspond to each quarter, as RIM ends its fall quarter in November where Apple waits until the end of the year. However, it's estimated that RIM may be outsold by Apple for a second consecutive quarter for the first time, as analysts just today predicted Apple could ship 16 million iPhones between October and December.

RIM is currently being cautious on its outlook for early 2011 and expects to only make slightly more revenue in the post-holiday lull, between $5.5 billion and $5.7 billion, even with the planned launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Buy one get one....

    Wow, I bet the buy one get one program has nothing to do with the record "shipments". Absolutely no affect at all.

  1. Bearcat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They need to change their slogan

    From "Bring your experiences to life" to "BOGO for life!!!"

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RIM will no longer report new subscriber data

    This quarter's report will be the last one in which RIM announces new subscriber counts. It fell below analysts' expectations. They expected 5.2 million, they got 5.1 million. And, even worse, RIM's subscriber growth fell off a cliff in August. Just when iPhone 4 began shipping in quantity. Coincidence? Doubtful.

    As for BOGO, doing a special fire sale like that can only train customers to wait for BOGO fire sales. It's not quite as good as 50% off, because you have to buy two. But BlackBerry customers now know that RIM is in trouble and needs to prop up their market share with BOGO deals.

    Apple effectively does a permanent 50% discount on older low-end iPhone models. They drop the price from $199 to $99. It's a year-round price, so customers won't expect any special sales events. And it puts the hurt on all competitors who think that they can compete against iPhone simply by being cheaper.

    Apple has a devastating 1-2 punch combo aimed at Android and BlackBerry for 2011. First, the iPhone will invade Android's last safe haven around the world: Verizon. Big Red could only hold out for so long. AT&T's subscriber base has grown, largely due to iPhone, and nearly equals that of Verizon. Boom. Android US sales will slow even more than they already have.

    Next, the 16GB iPhone 4 will be sold for $99 alongside the new iPhone 5. Pow. BlackBerry will be crushed. On both AT&T and Verizon in the US.

    RIM has basically given up on the smartphone market. They are wasting time, money, and mindshare on PlayBook. They shouldn't be trying to out-iPad the iPad when they haven't even gotten close to iPhone yet.

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