RIM's woes worsen

Shares plunge after hours in response to poor Q1 showing, revised full-year forecast

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM), as expected, reported a decline in fiscal first-quarter earnings after the market closed on Thursday and said layoffs were coming.

And as suspected, the Canadian company reduced its forecast for the full year, just seven weeks after reaffirming the full-year guidance while issuing a warning on Q1 sales and profits.

(Also see: RIM's share of U.S. smartphone market continues to dwindle)

The company has been struggle for the past year with a sharp decrease in smartphone share as devices running on Google's Android OS have soared to the top of the U.S. market and Apple's iPhone retains its loyal customer following.

RIM said net income for the quarter ended May 28 was $695 million, or $1.33 a share, down from $769 million, or $1.38 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was $4.9 billion, up 16 percent from $4.2 billion a year ago.

Consensus estimates called for Q1 earnings of $1.32 a share on revenue of $5.15 billion. These analyst estimates were made after RIM's April 28 warning.

In that revised forecast from April, RIM said it expected profits of $1.30 to $1.37 a share, down from earlier company predictions of $1.47 to $1.55 a share. RIM also said Q1 revenue will be "slightly below the range of $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion" offered on March 24, during the company's most recent earnings conference.

The big -- and, honestly, totally expected -- announcement from RIM regarded its lowered full fiscal year forecast. The company in late April stuck with its previous prediction of $7.50 a share.

That's out the window now. RIM said on Thursday that it expects earnings per share in the range of $5.25 to $6. On the low end, that's a 30 percent reduction.

RIM said it shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones in the first quarter and approximately 500,000 Playbook tablets, which was released in mid-April. (These sound like shipments to stores, not actual sales.)

The company also said it would begin a "headcount reduction" almost immediately, though it gave no indication of the extent of layoffs. RIM employs about 17,500 workers.

In a statement accompanying the earnings, co-chief executive Jim Balsillie said, "Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing

into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter."

For the second quarter, RIM said it expects earnings of 75 cents to $1.05 a share on revenue in the range of $4.2 billion to $4.8 billion, and gross margin of 39%.

In a glimpse of what to expect on Friday, RIM shares plunged as low as 29.50 in extended trading Thursday, or 16.5 percent below the 35.33 price at the closing bell.

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