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RIM reports middling results

4.5 million new friends? Meh

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BlackBerry maker RIM has reported decent second quarter results, albeit with disappointment on some fronts.

Reporting on its second 2010 quarter (pdf), RIM said net income was up and it had shipped more than 12 million handsets, though a proportion of those will be languishing on shop shelves.

More importantly it had indoctrinated another 4.5 million people into the BlackBerry way of life: disappointing only because it had hoped to recruit five million over the same period.

A net income of almost $800m is a distinct improvement on the same period last year, when the company brought in less than $500m. Almost half that income coming from outside North America these days too. Revenues were up 31 per cent to $6.62bn.

Much of the credit goes to the BlackBerry Torch, not because it's revolutionary but because it's good enough to placate corporate souls overwhelmed with jealousy engendered by their iPhone-wielding peers. Executives demanding the right to use their own handsets are a significant risk to RIM, and the Torch (the most successful BlackBerry ever) has gone a long way to mitigate that risk.

But it's not just shiny iOS/Android handsets that have been chipping away at RIM - the company has been a victim of its own encryption with users in India, UAE and Saudi Arabia switching handset for fear of government-mandated disconnection (a fear that was realised in Saudi, if only for a day or two). Governments have great difficultly intercepting BlackBerry communications, and RIM only has a month left to sort out lawful access before the threat of national bans returns.

RIM offers great bravado - confident that it can placate governments, and that its handsets will come to eclipse the competition. The markets seem to agree that RIM is on the up with shares rising more than four per cent on the results, though we'll be waiting to see the proposed lawful-interception technology before making any bets. ®

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