RIM sells 50 millionth BlackBerry, stock soars on earnings

RIM posted new record highs for quarterly revenue and number of devices shipped

Research In Motion Limited (RIM) stock soared in after-market trading after the company posted solid financial results and said it sold its 50 millionth BlackBerry smartphone.

The company's fourth quarter, which ended on Feb. 28, provided some relief to people who thought the recession had taken the wind out of the entire tech sector.

RIM reported record high revenue of US$3.46 billion in the quarter, up 84 percent compared to the same time last year, as it shipped 7.8 million devices, also a new high for the company. Net profit for the quarter rose to $518.3 million, up from $412.5 million last year.

RIM added 3.9 million new BlackBerry subscriber accounts.

The company's stock, which rose 7.6 percent to $49.09 during regular hours on the Nasdaq, soared another 23.4 percent in after-hours trading to $60.58.

RIM's results were reported after regular Nasdaq trading ended.

Analysts say the recession may actually help companies such as RIM due to its focus on smartphones, one of the hottest items of the year.

People may rein in purchases of big ticket items such as cars and expensive trips during a recession, but instead buy smaller items or devices for the home, such as LCD TVs, netbooks and other electronics.

A holiday-season survey by market researcher IDC in December found that most people planned to focus purchases on family and home for the holiday season, with half of respondents saying they would buy electronic devices before the end of the year.

RIM's fourth quarter included the holiday season, running from Nov. 30, 2008 through Feb. 28 of this year.

The company predicted a strong first quarter, with revenue expected in a range of $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion, and net subscriber account additions rising to between 3.7 million to 3.9 million.

For all of fiscal 2009, RIM's revenue rose 84 percent year-over-year to $11.07 billion, while its net profit increased to $1.89 billion from $1.29 billion. The company shipped 26 million devices for the year, up from 14 million a year earlier.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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