RIM Q4 Fiscal 2012 earnings: Balsillie resigns, 11.1 million smartphones and 500,000 PlayBooks shipped

Ian Hardy

March 29, 2012 4:56 pm


BlackBerry World 2012 is coming up at the beginning of May, something that I’m personally excited about attending. Their new BlackBerry 10 OS will be present, hopefully a few handsets, but at the very least we’ll see what RIM has been working on for the past few months. Thorsten Heins, RIM’s new CEO, took office on January 23rd, just over 2 months ago. Today the company announced their year end and Q4 fiscal 2012 results.

RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook launched launched April 19th, 2011 and has seen mixed reviews and massive price drops. Once priced between $499.99 to $699.99 outright, prices were slashed to $199 to encourage adoption and help build sales. RIM reported PlayBook shipments of 500,000, which brings the total to 1,350,000 (Q1 had 500,000, Q2 had 200,000, and 150,000 in Q3).

As for smartphones, RIM shipped approximately 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones. The report stated that “Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.2 billion, down 19% from $5.2 billion in the previous quarter and down 25% from $5.6 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2011.” That alone is shocking, but the full year is more shocking: “Revenue for the fiscal year ended March 3, 2012 was $18.4 billion, down 7% from $19.9 billion in fiscal 2011.”

Heins stated that “I have assessed many aspects of RIM’s business during my first 10 weeks as CEO. 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. I’m very excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012. Notwithstanding these strengths and opportunities, the business challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant and I am taking the necessary steps to address them.”

Probably the most shocking news of all is the resignation of one-time co-CEO Jim Balsillie. He decided in January to take a backseat and sit on the board of directors, but today has announced his formal resignation from the Board. Balsillie stated that “As I complete my retirement from RIM, I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success.”

Want more? How about “retiring” from the CTO role is David Yach, he was with RIM for 13 years. In addition, Jim Rowan, COO, Global Operations, has decided to “pursue other interests”.

Hope BlackBerry 10 is stellar.

Source: Marketwire

  • Tom

    Sad news.

    • SUSIE BUFFETT

      Goodbye RIM!

      Time to die you garbage company.

      GOOD RIDDANCE!

    • Theywillbedead

      These results were to be expected. Rim approached the market using the Microsoft method: create a product that achieves consumer success then stop all innovation until completely nessassary. The moment apple introduced the iphone rim should have gotten to work creating a competitor. Instead they chose to wait to the very last second, wasting time on crap like blackberry 7. Ballsilly drove that company into a hole just like Microsoft, and judging by wp7′s slow adaption, I predict for rim up ahead

    • Theywillbedead

      Sorry I meant to say tough times for Rim up ahead

    • Bobby Boeckner

      Tim Cook is celebrating the death of RIM.

    • Hum?

      @Susie

      How the hell can you call a company dead when its making close to $20,000,000,000 dollars in revenue.

  • NoAccountability

    Getting rid of Ballsillie although late might allow RIM to stay over $10.

  • NoAccountability

    Now if they only had the money to hire 100 Engineers and define” Latter part of the year” That would be actually better.

  • Vito

    I would say it’s shocking that full year was ONLY down 7%. The numbers for the quarter are more shocking as it was down 25% from the year early quarter.

  • Tyler Cranston

    If its not “stellar” then its “over”

  • Matt

    And Balsillie joins the Dragons’ Den cast in 3.. 2…

  • NoAccountability

    It has Started!
    Profit: Net loss of $125-million
    They had 1.7B so now they have close to $1.5B in cash, they are only going to keep on loosing money, my gues, they will blow the 1.5B in 3Q after that getting loans will be tough, but the stock will drop to under $10 before that and then Tim Hortons will buy them for their campaign:
    Roll up the RIMM!

    • Jack

      Dear NoAccountability … I would encourage you to actually listen to the call, read the financial documents and then post. From the earnings release:

      “2.1 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments at the end of the quarter, which increased by approximately $610 million in the quarter”

  • NoAccountability

    You have to love the press:
    “Some executives exit” ha!

  • JustMeAndMe

    game is (almost) over…

  • arid

    @noaccountability

    Just FYI, net income (loss) doesn’t close into cash

  • BS Detector

    Its all over. Sell while you can.

  • Hank

    BB10 will be this years Palm Pre and RIM will be going the way of Palm in the next 12 months. It is a shame :-(

  • mitch

    @noaccountability
    Rimm was sitting at $1.123 Billion in cash at the end of Q3 so you clearly dont know anything about what your trying to talk about. In Q3 for the previous year Rimm had 1.435 Billion in cash so in a full year of operation this ammount ‘dwindled’ down about 0.312 Billion. People should realize how much money that is because even though it went down 22% from the Q3 the previous year its still a lot of 000′s

  • TyroneLT

    Apple sold 3 million iPads in one weekend, while RIM has shipped 1.3 million playbooks in total. Truly sad indeed….

    • source4homes

      A silly thought… get Playbook to be able to run Netflix and you will instantly have a huge following (assuming the cost is still somewhere under $300). Then hire some cute models to wait in line for the next launch. Also get a sexy new phone that is easy to work, like maybe a full screen touch with a HORIZONTAL slide out key pad.

  • BS Detector

    Good riddance Balls!
    Rim is in freefall. There is no hope. Bb10 ain’t gonna happen. Rim will be bought out for a fraction of its book value before bb10 is supposed to be released.

  • Susan Wong

    goodbye rim

  • Darryl

    It’s funny reading through these comments you wonder how most of these commentators aren’t billionaires, given they have such a deep understanding of the markets. They should invest some money and short the stock since they are so sure that the company will fail!
    Or, they should do more reading and less writing, since they obviously have no clue what they are writing about.
    Apple went through the exact same problems with almost no cash and are now worth how much per share? They were written off as well and then came the iPod.
    Please, more reading… less writing!

    • Jeff

      Unfortunately RIM does not have anyone with the talents of Steve Jobs or Johnny Ive to save them.
      Yes apple was able to save itself, but if it were so easy to do, then no business would ever fall. What happened at Apple was extraordinary, and the chance of it happening with RIM is little to none.

  • Andrew C

    Sorry financial experts when a company loses 19% in revenue from the previous quarter there is a problem. Let’s see if this turns into a trend and see if you will keep defending bad financial results.

  • Andy c

    I guess no one can accuse the new CEO of being a puppet for the old regime anymore.

    Hopefully rim gets back on its feet next year

  • bummy

    “Shocking”
    Because a 7% yearly drop is MORE SHOCKING than 18-25% quarterly drop.

  • Moe

    @Andrew C

    You missed the point, RIM doesn’t have debt and have a continous source of revenue from BIS/BES and a good amount of patents that will help stay afloat until the fal. If other corporations could get out of the hole RIM can do it too, apple is a good example of that.

    In the other hand if the next generation Blackberry does not live to expectations then RIM is done.

    • Andrew C

      @Moe, revenue decreasing, market share decreasing, delayed playbook release, delayed BB10. Don’t think I am missing anything…

  • Alex

    I love how understanding the industry must translate to millions in stock profits otherwise you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Troll much?

  • koko

    Well, the execs all sucked the blood out of this once stellar Canadian cash cow.. sadly nothing more is left in the carcass for these vultures to feed on, hence they’re moving on to look for other “hosts” :(

  • ofCourse

    I remember about 3-4 years ago, when I started my part time job in sales, how excited everyone was, myself included, to add blackberries to my employer’s list of phones. BB was one of the best, if not THE best phone out there. Excellent support, 2-3 business days replacement if your phone had issues; it was expensive, but it was a good bang for your buck.

    Then iPhones showed up and gathered popularity, RIM continued pushing out expensive phones, with little change in functionality. Over time, warranty support dropped in quality – it went to the usual 10-15 business days for repair or replacement.

    Then Droids showed up and gathered popularity, RIM continued pushing out expensive phones with almost same old features, but less and less reliable (read: bugs, battery issues, could drop dead after a few months).

    I just wished RIM had reps to pass by stores to chat with sales reps, to ask for feedback, to see how the market reacted to the new entrants. I’m not at all surprised about their downfall. It is sad still. I really wish them to rise from their ashes, but like others have said, if BB OS 10 is anything but stellar, they will lose any hold they still have in the phone market.

    • J

      @ofCourse

      Extremely well put.

  • Sam

    Anyone else had problem reading this article and the one from yesterday?. How is making the text revisions? Q4 2012? We are just ending Q1 2012!

  • vn33

    Balsillie resigned from RIM to concentrate on his other passion: bringing a hockey team to Southern Ontario :)

    I really, really hope RIM can bounce back … it is always sad to see Canadian technology became non-relevant (does anyone remember the Avro Arrow ?)