Research in Motion 4th Quarter Fiscal 2010 Conference Call Summary

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RIM gave their 4th quarter fiscal 2010 conference call, and the reaction wasn’t great. It seems a lot of analysts and individuals who follow the industry are taking RIM’s focus on net subscribers coming from outside of North America as a sign of weakness. Overall, things aren’t looking bad for RIM considering net subscribers is up (higher than expected) and earnings rose 37%. Sure, revenue may have fell a little short of the $4.31 billion expected, but that’s easily attributable to the fact that RIM offer a wide-range of affordable smartphones, and consumers are naturally going for a low price due to tough economic times. RIM’s global, carrier-aligned, mixed product strategy is going to take them to places the competition can only dream of.

This was a positive conference call, and Latin America’s economic growth will have a significant impact on RIM’s business. RIM’s current lead over other smartphones on the market in Latin America and other developing regions will pay off very large in the years to come. This isn’t to say RIM has lost a battle in North America, it just highlights a serious competitive advantage they have over their competitors. In North America, strong carrier relationships are going to continue to drive sales, sometimes to the detriment of the end user, but to the advantage of the shareholders.

Here is a quick summary of the conference call from a Twitter perspective:

AllBlackBerry Blackberry profits increase 37%: BBC News Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of Blackberry mobile phones, has rep… http://bit.ly/b1EB7d
dreamgreat RIM: higher 4Q profit as subscriber base grows – The Associated Press http://bit.ly/bwff9F
mikeerickson No matter how you slice it, thats a lot of units… RIM ships 10.5 million BlackBerries, sees iPhone close gap http://bit.ly/aGkavC
au_h2o After 5.0 update on BBTour, quenched thirst 4 new device. Tour is solid, fun, productive & keeps surprising. RIM is so in the game still.
gregmcmillan @nmBBaddict ok, I read it. I’ll still keep my BlackBerry. If RIM becomes the underdog, I’ll cheer for the underdog. So be it.
crackberrykevin Jim also said “if you’d see the roadmap, you’d be blown away”. Looking forward to this!!
mikerlawson RT @theberryfix: RIM Ships 37 Million BlackBerry Devices, With 15 Billion Dollars in Revenue http://bit.ly/aLsEk6
jonfingas RIM’s 10.5m BlackBerry shipments show the iPhone is closing the sales gap: http://is.gd/b8N7X $RIMM $AAPL
thehartley RIM says net income for fiscal 2010 was $2.46-billion, or $4.31 per share diluted. Net income for Q4 was $710.1-million, or $1.27 per share.
thehartley RIM says it shipped approximately 37 million devices during fiscal 2010, and 10.5 million of those in Q4.
thehartley RIM says it added 4.9 million new BlackBerry subscribers in Q4, now 41 million BlackBerry subscribers around the world.

Another interesting tidbit dropped in the conference call was that the Tour received the highest customer satisfaction rating over any other BlackBerry in RIM history. This was surprising to me as the Tour has had some negative feedback here from BlackBerryCool readers due to the amount of time it took to get an official OS 5 update, and the the trackball breakage.

The Viigo acquisition was briefly mentioned and I’m still trying to understand why it happened. Viigo have a great product, but when it comes to an acquisition, you have to wonder why RIM couldn’t have just built an RSS reader themselves. Sure, Viigo has been around for a long time, and they have a huge user base, but RIM could have exceeded their numbers with a simple preload in a short time period. Whatever the reasons may be, I’m happy to see that Mark Ruddock, former CEO of Viigo, is now Senior Director of Content Strategy at Research In Motion. According to his LinkedIn, he’ll be focusing on completing the integration and working on a number of projects with the Strategic Alliances Team.

If you’re interested in getting an idea of how the full fiscal 2010 year has gone, you can read the past calls’ summaries:

RIM Q3 Fiscal 2010 Summary: Strong sales abroad and successful marketing
RIM 2nd Quarter Fiscal 2010 Financial Results Overview
Research in Motion 1st Quarter Fiscal 2010 Conference Call