How's That RIMM Job?
You might not know this about me but I'm a BlackBerry addict. I mean bad. Like dents in my thumb bad, dreaming about blinking red lights and BB Messenger stars and fields of rolling trackballs bad.
That being said, it goes without saying that I'm a fan. But something is amiss with the news today that my friends at RIM had a kick ass international year, you'll see why in a moment.
Research In Motion Ltd. said strong sales overseas were a key driver of better-than-expected earnings and forecasts, as smartphones like the Blackberry become increasingly mainstream in international markets.
RIM chief executive Jim Balsillie said the fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 28 was the "strongest quarter ever for growth outside of North America," with 37% of revenue and 35% of RIM's subscriber base now coming from those markets. In an earnings conference call, Balsillie cited strong growth in Asia, and even better growth in Latin America and Europe, although the company doesn't break out results by geography.
Balsillie also said the company announced an agreement with China Telecom Corp. on Thursday to offer Blackberry products and services to customers of the Chinese telecommunications giant.
"The international stuff is going very, very well," said Balsillie.
Among RIM's big sellers was the 8520, a low-cost version of the Blackberry Curve, which the company launched during the quarter in 40 countries. Analysts say the 8520 may do particularly well with consumers who want smartphones but can't pony up the money for more expensive Blackberrys or rival high-end devices like the iPhone from Apple Inc.
Well that's fucking wonderful but I have an issue with BlackBerry that started at about midnight and didn't resolve itself until noon. Noon!
Users of BlackBerry's Internet-based e-mail service began getting backlogged messages in big chunks Thursday afternoon after one of the largest BlackBerry-related outages in more than a year. If you only use your BlackBerry for corporate e-mail, though, you probably didn't even notice the blip in service.
TheStar.com reports that BlackBerry users who rely on RIM's personal e-mail service started receiving backlogged messages shortly after 11 a.m. ET Thursday after an outage in North America that lasted "at least eight hours."
A quick check on Twitter shows that many users are, indeed, now getting large batches of backlogged messages, although others say that their personal BlackBerry e-mail inboxes are still empty.
Research in Motion has already confirmed the outage, which has affected BlackBerry Internet Service e-mail but not messages sent through corporate e-mail servers. RIM says it's working on the outage, according to Bloomberg, although it hasn't identified the source of the problem yet.
The last time BlackBerry users faced a major outage was back in February 2008, when RIM's wireless service up and died right in the middle of a busy workday. The outage (which affected all BlackBerry e-mail delivery, not just from BlackBerry's Internet Service accounts) only lasted about three hours, but three hours without any e-mail at all can sure feel like a long, long time. Another outage in April 2007 hit in the wee hours of the morning.
Again, I'm a BlackBerry addict. A few hours without email can cripple me, between Jr Deputy Accountant and my day job, I absolutely need to be connected. My morning commute is often spent catching up on the day's emails ahead. The very reason I switched from Windows Mobile (please don't hold it against me) was because I was assured BB was reliable and sexy, despite the fact that Verizon and RIM failed miserably with the BlackBerry Storm. And in RIM's defense, I've been so pleased with my new toy that I practically sleep with it under my pillow (that could be a personal issue so maybe I shouldn't share that...).
Don't do it, RIM. Just don't. If you cut me off again, I might be forced to cut you.
(Reuters also covered RIM's share surge here)
Disclaimer: Jr Deputy Accountant holds long positions in both VZ and RIMM and likes it that way.