Blackberry reaches 5 million subscriber mark

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), maker of the popular Blackberry handhelds, said it reached the 5 million subscriber mark and hit over US$2 billion in revenue for its fiscal year 2006, which ended in early March.

The company shipped a total of 4 million handheld devices during its past fiscal year, and 1.1 million in the quarter just ended March 4, it said Thursday.

The company's revenue jumped to $2.07 billion in the fiscal year ending March 4, from $1.35 billion the year before, RIM said. Its net income rose to $382 million from $213 million.

"We recently passed the $2 billion annual revenue and 5 million subscribers milestones and we have begun the new fiscal year with over 150 carrier partners around the world," said Jim Balsillie, chairman of RIM, in a statement.

During the last quarter of its fiscal year, its revenue rose 39 percent year-on-year to $561.2 million and its net income was $18.4 million, reversing a year-earlier loss of $2.6 million.

The company said it added 625,000 new subscribers during the quarter, and that numbers bounced back strongly after it settled patent litigation with NTP Inc. in March.

RIM paid NTP $612.5 million to settle all claims against it, and gained the right to continue its business unfettered, including its BlackBerry business. The case had threatened to shut down service to millions of BlackBerry users in the U.S. NTP had been seeking an injunction against RIM in U.S. courts over the patent dispute.

The company expects its revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2007, which ends June 3, to be in the range of $580 million to $610 million as it adds around 675,000 new subscriber accounts.

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