WATERLOO, Ontario-BlackBerry investors were forced to tighten their seatbelts again as the company lowered its subscriber forecasts due to product delays. The news sent BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.'s stock down more than 4 percent in trading to $64.24 per share.
RIM said its CDMA2000 1x EV-DO- and EDGE-capable BlackBerrys will be several weeks late to market, which will cause a shortfall in the company's subscriber numbers as customers wait for the new gadgets. The company said it now expects to add around 8 percent fewer subscribers than the 680,000 to 710,000 customers it forecast in September.
However, the company said the shortfall will not impact its revenues for the quarter.
"While the delay in launch dates for these two highly anticipated products caused a timing shift in expected subscriber additions, the products are becoming available now and will help drive significant growth in the coming quarters," said Jim Balsillie, the company's chairman and co-chief executive officer. "We further entrenched our technology leadership and channel strength in the current quarter and we have grown our subscriber base by over 17 percent to pass the 4 million subscribers milestone. We intend to remain focused on executing our business plans as we aim to finish our fiscal year by roughly doubling the BlackBerry subscriber base of the previous year."
The setback is the latest in a series of difficulties for the BlackBerry maker. The company is facing increased competition from Microsoft Corp., Nokia Corp. and others, and is currently nearing the end-game in its legal battle with patent-holding company NTP Inc. Once an investor darling, RIM's stock has fallen far from its 52-week high of $103 per share.
Indeed, the company's rollercoaster ride over the past few years has scared off some investment banking firms, who argue the company's stock is too volatile.
RIM is to announce its quarterly earnings Dec. 21.