Yesterday, Research In Motion announced their Year-End and Fourth Quarter Results for Fiscal 2012. It was a bit of a bleak outlook, to say the least, but it was expected as BlackBerry 7 sell-through slowed while consumers wait for BlackBerry 10. A quick recap of the results from yesterday:

  • $2.1 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments at the end of the quarter, which increased by approximately $610 million in the quarter
  • Cash flow from operations of approximately $1.1 billion, up from approximately $900 million in Q3
  • Revenue of $4.2 billion, down 19% from the third quarter
  • GAAP net loss in Q4 of $125 million or $0.24 per share diluted; adjusted net income of $418 million or $0.80 per share diluted
  • BlackBerry smartphone shipments of 11.1 million in Q4, down 21% from Q3
  • RIM to discontinue providing specific quantitative guidance
  • RIM provides update on organizational changes
During much of the earnings call, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, continuously stated they were looking into strategic partnerships. However, Heins did not go into further detail as to what type of partnerships they were considering. It has often been rumored that RIM will likely license the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Taking such measures would give RIM royalties on its platform.

ADVERTISEMENT

The key word being ‘platform’, as Heins described. The emphasis Heins placed on platform is due to BlackBerry 10 eventually being the operating system that is universal across most BlackBerry products. It is what we’ll see as the basis for phones, tablets, automobiles, most likely in airplanes, and many other areas.

RIM will be re-focusing on the enterprise market. Heins admitted that “We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people,” and “Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.” For years RIM has dominated the enterprise market, but as of late the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been allowing employees to use their iOS and Android devices. IT professionals have also been looking to cross-platform and better priced alternatives to BES. This is something RIM has finally acknowledged and seeks to gain those losses back with the introduction of the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. If priced competitively, RIM may have a fighting chance, given their strongest selling point: security.

When asked point-blank if they’ve considered a sale of whole or parts of RIM, Heins stated that they’re considering a sale of the company, but it’s not the main focus. RIM will continue to focus on their strengths, which are primarily enterprise, but that does not rule out the consumer market. The launch of BlackBerry 10 phones are still on track for the latter half of 2012. Carriers are still expected to get devices by summer’s time to begin testing. Developers attending the BlackBerry 10 Jam conference during BlackBerry World will receive a BB10 Dev Alpha unit. This will ensure maximum compatibility for any current PlayBook apps they currently have available. Most of all, it will ensure that the first BlackBerry 10 phone(s) will have an array of apps at launch.

ADVERTISEMENT

There are a lot of internal changes happening at RIM. Dan Dodge of QNX is now RIM’s Lead Software Architect. This will have big implications for the platform. Jim Balsillie has officially resigned from the Board of Directors, and following him is the CTO, David Yach, and COO, Jim Rowan. Nonetheless, the majority of RIM’s employee morale is high. We’ve witnessed this first hand interacting with many of them. They’re confident that BlackBerry 10 will be the turning point.

Research In Motion is far from dead. They’ve made mistakes, they’ve fallen down. The most important part is that they’re getting back up. They haven’t sold themselves short, yet, by looking to sell out. BlackBerry 10 is their last fighting chance, at least in North America. It would be ignorant to rule RIM out of the game just yet. Keep hope alive, and Be Bold.