Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has launched its BlackBerry Z10 handset in the U.S. today, and we’re already getting some indication of how the company will do in this market.
This morning the BlackBerry Z10 became available on the AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) network in the U.S. for $200 with a new two-year contract. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will begin offering it next week, while T-Mobile is expected to offer it later.
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This morning analysts at Raymond James released a report to investors previewing the U.S. release of the BlackBerry Z10. They said thus far the handset’s initial demand is quite positive. They noted that the company’s CEO said recently that customers seem to be switching to BlackBerry from other platforms, but no specific numbers were given.
Even though initial demand for the BlackBerry Z10 seems to be positive, Raymond James analysts remain concerned, especially about the handset’s U.S. launch. They said competition in the country will be especially heated as it goes up against new devices from Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) and potentially a new device coming this year from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
The analysts also said that although there has been no word yet on whether there will be a BlackBerry 10 Curve, they believe that one would help the company expand in emerging markets. In addition, they point out that at this point there are many “moving parts” to the company’s profitability because BlackBerry is not only launching new handsets right now, but it’s also shifting to a new platform. The company is also changing its service model.
Statistics from comScore indicate that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s market share in the U.S. has dropped from almost 50 percent back in 2009 down to less than 6 percent this year. Also The Wall Street Journal points out that the company has begun “spending lavishly” on marketing, first with a Super Bowl commercial and then with ads that appear to be everywhere. BlackBerry has even hosted major events with celebrities as it attempts to pull U.S. smartphone users back into its ranks. So the question remains: did RIM waste all of that money, or will all that marketing be successful?
Raymond James analysts have left their rating of Research In Motion at Market Perform.
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s next earnings report is due on March 28. Raymond James analysts said they’re expecting the company to report $3 billion in revenue and a loss of 17 cents per share, which is above the consensus of $2.8 billion and a loss of 29 cents per share.
They predict that the company will have moved 8 million units during the quarter with an average selling price of $244. They also estimate that the company sold 1 million BlackBerry 10 units with an average selling price of $450.
Shares of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) rose 1 percent in Friday morning activity.