Research In Motion Ltd. stock rose as much as 6 percent on Friday after an analyst said his checks showed strong December sales for a new product from the maker of BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices. There were also indications that the product, the 8700c handset, gained share from similarly priced products, such as the Treo 650, said Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Walkley.
“While we remain cautious since subscriber additions missed company guidance the past two quarters and believe the lack of a settlement with NTP could further push current and potential BlackBerry users to delay purchases or switch to alternative solutions, we believe near-term hardware sales are solid,” Walkley wrote in a note.
U.S. patent holding company NTP Inc. successfully sued RIM in 2002 for patent infringement and won an injunction in 2003, stayed pending appeal, to shut down RIM’s service in the United States.
With the appeal process largely exhausted, RIM faces the risk of a fresh injunction and pressure on its stock price.
The two sides have until January 17 to submit briefs on a possible injunction and damages, and until February 1 to respond to each other.
RIM shares rose as high as $73.50 on Nasdaq on Friday before easing back to $72.45, a gain of $3.26, or 4.7 percent. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, the stock added C$3.78 to
“While we continue to believe competition and an increasing mix of BlackBerry connect devices will pressure hardware margins during the second half of calendar 2006, we believe strong near-term sales of the 8700 series and 7130 series devices will drive solid near-term results,” Walkley added.
RIM said in November that subscriber additions for September and October were on track, but growth was below expectations in November. It blamed launch delays for the 8700 and 7130 handset series to early December from early November.