September 2010
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Day September 17, 2010

RIM Quarterly update: just the numbers

Noteworthy data (with my notes in parentheses.)

  • 12.1 million phones shipped, 11 million sold through (estimated iPhones for this Q range from 11 to 13 million)
  • Net subscriber account additions were 4.5 million which was lower than anticipated (41% of units sold through were to new subscribers which implies nearly 60% were to existing users)
  • Revenue grew 31% over the same quarter last year and GAAP earnings grew 76%.
  • The BlackBerry subscriber account base grew 56% year-over-year to over 50 million
  • RIM has shipped approximately 115 million handhelds to date. (note: 120 million iOS to date)
  • BlackBerries are available through over 565 carrier and distribution partners in approximately 175 countries and international markets (vs. 150 carriers and 88 countries for the iPhone)
  • Approximately 52% of revenue in the quarter was generated outside the United States and over 45% of BlackBerry subscriber account base is outside of North America. (70% of iPhones were sold outside the US through the first half of this year)
  • Torch was launched with one carrier but will expand to 75 next quarter
  • To date over 35 million BlackBerry Smartphones have downloaded App World at an average of over 1.5 million Apps are being downloaded every day which is up 40% sequentially (iOS apps are running at 17 million downloads per day)
  • Average selling price for RIM devices was $304 (vs. $600 for the iPhone)
  • Gross margin was 44.5% (upward of 50% for the iPhone)

Research In Motion CEO Discusses F2Q2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript — Seeking Alpha

Another CEO head rolls while the smartphone market booms

Management changes are usually made at the end of the year but the change, which takes effect from October 1, reflected an urgency to overhaul the struggling mobile unit.

“We made the decision to give an incoming chief executive enough time to prepare for next year,” LG Group said in a statement.

LG Elec names new CEO as mobile business struggles | Reuters.com

LG follows Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Palm and Nokia in replacing CEOs because of trouble with their smartphone efforts. Microsoft also let go Robbie Bach, head of the Mobile division.

It’s an interesting pattern at a time when the industry is facing unprecedented growth.

European Operators contemplate own OS. Why not just fork Android?

France Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard has invited the heads of Vodafone, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) to Paris on 8 October to discuss the development of a common operating system for mobile devices. He told Le Figaro that mobile operating systems were the Trojan horse used by Google and Apple to establish relationships with mobile customers. The four operators have nearly 1 billion customers combined and the capacity to influce industry. The initiative could take several forms including a joint venture or a common apps development unit. He added that the operators aim to retake the reigns of innovation, rather than be followers.

In the interview Richard also stated that carriers have decided not to advertise the iPhone any more.

Phone carriers want to team up against Apple and Google. – HardMac Forum

This attempt at operator cooperation in software has been tried before, but it predictably failed (does anyone remember Savaje?) Symbian itself was an attempt at mobile phone vendor cooperation on systems software. There are various consortiums for “open mobile OS” based on Linux (e.g. LiMO which started as a Japanese effort). Even the Open Software Alliance is a rubber stamp body rather than an attempt at development.

Although one can safely dismiss the potential of this effort on the basis of a lack of competence, the arrogance reminds one of the rigidity in response to the disruption under way. The fact that high-speed data networks allow operator disintermediation cannot be changed by “innovation” on systems software.

But the odd thing is why even bother. The solution to taking control over the user experience and services platform is straight-forward: each operator could fork a version of Android as their own and hire a team to integrate white label services. It’s much more straight-forward than coordinating a joint effort. China Mobile have already done their own non-Google Android.