RIM Conference Call: Live Blog


BalsillieAfter the numbers released by RIM today, BBCool is hyped for the RIM investors conference call. On the line today we have Jim Balsillie, RIM’s Co-CEO and Edel Ebbs, VP of Investor Relations. It’s about to start now, hold on folks!

5:03 - Looks like they’re doing call prep — outlining the focus of the conference call, and laying out all the legal mumbo jumbo to cover their ass. Enough with this, bring on the Jim Dog!

5:05 – Nice, Balsillie! Jim Dog’s mentioning the stock split and the successful launch of the Curve, 8800 and 8830. Jim’s also expecting RIM to ship their 20M BB this summer. These are pretty huge numbers for our plucky little company from Waterloo.

5:07 – Verizon saw a doubling in new enterprise subscribers based upon the 8830. Wow, I guess that’s what happens when they finally get a device that isn’t a year behind GSM devices.

It’s also interesting that Jim mentioned the Pearl – it’s still drawing in new subscribers at a successful clip. I wonder what will happen this fall with Pearl 2. Aah, liveblogging: the hype only grows.

5:08 – We just got our first John Mayer mention. For the folks at home, this might be a great drinking game.

5:09 – Jim’s running through a bunch of lovey-dovey quotes about the BlackBerry Curve. A little silly, but they have to push the device so they can announce even better results for Q2. Also, the Curve deserves the love. Best BB Ever.

5:11 – India: big Pearl performance and strong 8800 enterprise growth. They also just got the Curve as well – it will be interesting to see how this emergent market will feel about the device.

5:12 – RIM’s added 20 new carrier partners worldwide in the past quarter, bringing their tally to nigh-300. Interesting, BIS users account for 25% of their subscribers. I wonder how many are singular users, or small companies that don’t want to shell out for the BES.

5:15 – 650 alliance members. Big props to our friends at Impatica, Chalk and Voice on the Go who were mentioned by the Jim Dog. What, no Idokorro mention though?

5:16 – Hey five new carriers adopted BlackBerry Connect. It’s not quite dead!

5:17 – Jim’s predicting that the growth seen in the first half of 2007 will continue into the second half of the year. With WiFi devices and a new Pearl dropping, I’d believe him.

5:19 – Hilarious: you can hear ‘BlackBerry Buzz’ interference over the conference call. Don’t RIM execs know how to manage their connections?

5:23 – The call has now switched over to Edel, who’s going to talk about Q2. They expect revenue to jump to about 1.3-1.65 billion, and device shipping to jump to about 3 million BBs. Software revenue is expected to jump nominally.

5:24 – RIM is expecting a lower seasonality to their device shipping and sales, based mostly upon worldwide smartphone growth, and a bevy of devices shipping year long. Good stuff.

5:27 – Calls back to Jim Balsillie. He’s pleased about the market performance in Q1. He’s adamant about passing the 20 million mark this summer.

Now we’re opening it up to Q&A sessions.

5:29 – First iPhone question. Positive impact based upon the revenue generated for AT&T?

Balsillie: They did us a great favor… But iPhone is 1 carrier, 1 country; we’re 300 carriers in 100 countries. The device that AT&T has launched is a very narrow subset of their channels.. I think we welcome the open competition in our space – consumers benefit and the increased attention has been great for our business.

5:32 – New products and services in the second half of 2007?

Balsillie: The summer is when we go double-speed while everyone else is resting. You’re gonna see some very unexpected surprises from us. A lot of stuff for media, consumers and devices. I won’t tip our hat, but a couple that people don’t see coming.

Wow, I know this is an investor call, but he’s really hyping this. Is he simply talking about the Pearl 2? Would investors not be aware of it? We’ve seen some specs, it doesn’t look that great in comparison to the Curve – will it really be that slim? Or is Jim talking about a whole new stream of devices? Questions, questions…

5:36 – Aaah UMTS upgrades…

Balsillie: We support all the different air links out there. UMTS is one of the things you could expect to see more from us. HSDPA… This might be more winterish than autumnish. But this is a very logical extension for us – I wouldn’t expect anyone to be surprised by this.

5:40 – Where is RIM in the enterprise space in penetration beyond email?

Balsillie: If you actually saw the applications, you’d be blown away. 70% of BES data is not email (really? I might have misheard this, ed.)

Mobile voice, PBX, Google Maps.. We just route packets and present them, with a development environment. (He’s basically saying we’re a platform… Alliance members, do your thing, ed.)

5:44 – How do we measure where RIM/the market is at with device penetration?

Balsillie: If the cell phone went from 0 to 2 billion in 20 years, that means it’s the fastest, biggest selling product ever – and the stickiest as well, because no one gets rid of them.

So we’re just beginning - we’re in the early innings of a very long ballgame here. And the media aspects are just being known. It’s hard not to characterize this as a meaningful market with a lot of trends supporting it.

5:48 – Second iPhone question: touch screen.

Balsillie: There’s a lot of market research in what we do.. There’s been some debate previously on touch and tactile things and graffiti. I think the best thing is for these devices is to get out to market and get going.

I think there’s so many dimensions to the market that we’re in, that people tend to define it too specifically – it’s all about the OS, it’s all about the keyboard… etc. These aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules.

I’m not really into the ‘my input mechanism is funkier than your input mechanism’. It’s really about the user experience for us. I really don’t pay attention to all these different dynamics, because it doesn’t help me with my channels or my customers any.

The 8800 is a little more expensive than the Curve, but it’s delightful for me to see the carriers pricing the Curve so aggressively. It’s about a slow rolling momentum, so you start it in May and it’s swinging for back to school.

That looks to be it folks. You can listen to it later if you like. Check out this post for more info. Cheers!

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