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RIM tax break gives firm $14m profit for third quarter

Increases cash reserves ahead of BlackBerry 10 launch

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A settlement of an outstanding tax issue, which netted $166m, has allowed RIM to declare a quarterly profit for the first time in many financial announcements.

The company said that in its third fiscal quarter of 2013 – and no, that's not a typo – its revenues fell 5 per cent to $2.7bn, down 47 per cent from the same period last year. Hardware sales accounted for 60 per cent of this, including the sale of 6.9 million smartphones and approximately 255,000 PlayBook tablets, with services accounting for 36 per cent and software just 4 per cent.

Subscriber numbers for the quarter are down slightly from last quarter at 79 million, although this is three million more than last year's third fiscal quarter. Customer numbers in the US are down sharply, while in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia, numbers held steady or even rose.

The company promised to save $1bn through restructuring this fiscal year, and this figure was reached this quarter, ahead of schedule. CEO Thorsten Heins said the bulk of the company's restructuring has now been completed, and he thanked staff for their professionalism in "this difficult time."

"Our core restructuring process has delivered results," Heins said during a conference call with reporters and analysts. "The Q3 results show the progresses we are making. Our global team are executing well and showing that with laser focus."

RIM also added over $600m to its cash hoard, even including the costs of restructuring. RIM is now sitting on $2.9bn of cash reserves, with no debt. These funds will be used to finish licking BlackBerry 10 into shape, and to offer $10,000 bounties to software developers to encourage app growth.

RIM is also investing in a big push to get BlackBerry 10 into business he said, with the intention of making the company "the clear leader in the enterprise market." If successful, that would be bad news for Microsoft and its plans for Windows Phone 8.

Heins also used the call to say goodbye to RIM's CIO Robin Bienfait, who he said had done an amazing job in her six years at the company. For the last year she also headed up company's enterprise division. No word was given on her successor. ®

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