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RIM cuts Q4 subscriber forecast - again

Despite buoyant Q3 results

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Research in Motion (RIM) saw its sales continue to rise during its most recently completed quarter despite the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of its legal battle with patent holder NTP. However, the company once again cut the number of new subscribers it hopes to sign up in the current quarter.

For the three months to 26 November 2005, RIM's Q3 FY2006, the company reported revenues of $560.6m, up 53 per cent year on year and 14.4 per cent sequentially. Once again, the company's BlackBerry hardware accounted for 70 per cent of its revenues, the rest coming from services (19 per cent), software (seven per cent) and other items (four per cent).

Net income for the quarter came to $120.1m (61 cents a share), up 8.1 per cent on the previous quarter and 32.9 per cent on Q3 FY2005's income.

RIM shipped 1.1m BlackBerries in the quarter and added approximately 645,000 new subscriber accounts, within the reduced, 625,000-653,200 range it forecast last month. At the end of the quarter, RIM's subscriber account base stood at around 4.3m.

The firm said it hopes to add 700,000-750,000 new subscriber accounts during the quarter - or around 50,000 fewer than it forecast in November 2005, when it also scaled back its anticipated new-subscriber numbers. Then, it said it was hoping 751,750-800,250 new accounts would be opened.

For the current quarter, which comes to a close on 4 March 2006, RIM said it expects revenues in the range $590-620m, making for a 5.2-10.6 per cent sequential increase. Earnings will fall in the 76-81 cents a share range, it added.

Further out, Q1 FY2007, when ends 3 June 2006, will yield revenues of $610-650m and earnings of 77-84 cents a share, RIM forecast. ®

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