On Tuesday, struggling Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) encountered more bad news, with an estimated delay of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The release date is now March, forecast by Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek.
This push back has the company now missing out on the fiscal fourth quarter. Its fiscal year ends on Feb. 28.
According to Misek, in a research note, a delay would affect the timing of RIM’s licensing deals with other companies, as it waits for the release of the software.
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With the news of a possible delay, Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM)’s shares dropped 3.7 percent to $7.93, after falling as much as 5.1 percent. This represented its greatest intraday fall since Sept. 21. Year-to-date, shares have dropped 45.72 percent.
Through the launch of BB10, Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) has high expectations that it will give the company’s sales growth a restart and reverse its declining market share against Apple’s Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, and the devices that utilize Google’s Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.
Back in July, RIM Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said BB10 would launch in January for some markets, but more recently the company has moved this to 2013’s first calendar quarter, reported Bloomberg.
Misek added in his report, “The business uncertainty means parties are unlikely to acquire or license from RIM, until BB10 launches.”
This equates to a sell rating for the stock.
In a September conference call with analysts, RIM Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins repeated the first-quarter launch date, and noted that he’s spoken with various CEOs to talk about possible software licensing and partnerships.
Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) spokesman, Nick Manning, said to Bloomberg on Tuesday that the company is still on pace to begin delivering the BB10 phones in the first calendar quarter.
But, there may be more to the story. Misek also noted that he sees the company undergoing challenges in this current quarter, as companies are cautious to keep older Blackberry phones around as they await the new version.
For this company, it is running out of options.
They know it, and earlier in the year, Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) said it was reviewing strategic options.
What does this mean? According to Reuters, this led to analysts’ speculation for either a RIM sale or possible licensing deals with handset makers that would be interested in utilizing RIM’s BB10 operating system on their own smartphones.
Misek does not see these plans in the company’s immediate future. He said, “We believe there is no imminent sale of Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM), and any licensing deals are likely well after the launch of BB10 in January.”