Yesterday evening, RIM held their 1st quarter fiscal 2010 conference call. Adele Ebbs, RIM’s Vice President of Investor Relations moderated the call, while Jim Balsillie fielded questions of a strategic nature. The major news in this call included:
- RIM sees a whopping 80% increase in consumer subscribers.
- Enterprise subscribers are down for seasonal and architectural reasons.
- Jim Balsillie dismisses iPhone and Pre as a threat.
- International sales are strong and steady but come with risk.
- Jim talks about the BlackBerry OS with respect to the smartphone market.
RIM sees a whopping 80% increase in consumer subscribers.
Overall, financial results from RIM are strong. Total revenue is up 3.4 billion, up 53% from last year. Revenues are slightly higher than predicted during RIM’s conference call last year. Revenues can generally be attributed to strong device sales in the consumer space, and new enterprise functionality.
Over 80% of RIM’s new subscribers this quarter came from the consumer base. The massive growth in the BIS subscriber base can be attributed to both local North American growth, and strong international sales, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. These developing markets, tend to primarily use BIS, even in enterprise.
This new shift to the consumer side is increasing loads being put on the infrastructure. Consumers are demanding rich media services such as streaming video, which uses more than 100 percent the network capacity of a voice call. BlackBerry efficiency and network capacity are going to address this issue, as devices become more efficient, and carriers offer new technologies such as LTE.
The BlackBerry Tour is this quarter’s big step to address the consumer shift. The BlackBerry Tour has the media capabilities to address the power user market. While you may have seen very little from RIM in terms of promotion, I believe this is indicative of a marketing shift at RIM Corporate. The firm seems to be giving the promotional responsibilities to the carrier. The message from RIM seems to be: “we just make them, you sell them.”
While carriers will be the driving force behind device promotion, this transition hasn’t been fully realized as of yet. There seems to be a miscommunication between RIM and the leading carriers in that RIM mentioned several times during the call that carrier inventory levels are consistently low. They also predict these levels to remain low. So while carriers are taking more responsibility for sales and marketing, they don’t seem to be managing the logistics behind these new responsibilities very well.
Continue reading a detailed roundup of the information presented in RIM’s conference call