BlackBerry celebrates first million BB10 sales, but laments another loss of subscribers

blackberry-z10-frontBlackBerry has published its latest quarterly earnings report, which is rather more interesting than usual, as it’s the first one since the firm dropped the Research in Motion name and launched the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Before getting into the details, it’s worth pointing out the results cover the three month period prior to March 2 this year, so not only does it not cover the U.S. launch of the BlackBerry Z10, it also doesn’t take into account the sale of one million Z10’s to a single supplier.

With all that in mind, BlackBerry shipped six million smartphones during the last quarter, with one million of those being BlackBerry 10 devices. See what we mean about it being important to check the dates. On March 8, CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed the Z10 was on sale in 21 countries around the world at that time, including the UK, Canada and India, and said he was, “Encouraged by what we see and hear from our carrier partners.”

So how far off are the actual results from the analysts predictions? Average expectations sat around 6.95 million smartphones shipped, with 1.1 million of them running BlackBerry 10. Not far off, but those pesky financial types will certainly see the lower figures as disappointing. Earlier this week, analysts also noted their concern over the early U.S. sales performance of the Z10. Rounding out the hardware sales performance is the PlayBook tablet, and BlackBerry shifted 370,000 of them over the same period, which is more than the 250,000 shipped during Q3.

Subscriber base falls again

Perhaps a little more concerning is the apparent drop in subscriber figures. BlackBerry says it now has an approximate subscriber base of 76 million, which rather than increasing is another drop over the past quarters. In December, it reported 79 million subscribers down from 80 million, the first time the figure had fallen in the company’s history. BlackBerry’s financial figures include revenue of $2.6 billion and an operating profit of $94 million, up from the disastrous 9 million posted in December. Phew.

The last piece of major news coming out of the financial statement concerns Mike Lazaridis, former co-CEO of Research in Motion, who has decided to retire as vice chairman and director of the company. He’ll leave on May 1 and is quoted as saying, “With the launch of BlackBerry 10, I believe I have fulfilled my commitment to the Board … I believe I am leaving the company in good hands.”

The impact of the U.S. launch of BlackBerry 10 – particularly in relation to the subscriber numbers – plus the impending release of the Q10 QWERTY phone will be seen in the next financial review from the firm.


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