Following months of depressing developments, Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM ) has something to brag about. Shares were up more than eight percent after the company announced that it had delivered BlackBerry 10 handsets to more than 50 carriers worldwide. The company said that this is a key step in preparing for the launch of BB 10, which is still scheduled for release before the end of Q1 2013.
"Our developer teams are continuing to generate momentum to bring a wealth of applications to BlackBerry 10, our enterprise teams have started to present BlackBerry 10 devices and services to our business customers, and our engineers are fully mobilized to ensure that BlackBerry 10 launches flawlessly in the first quarter of 2013," RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said in a statement .
Year-to-date, RIM shares are still down roughly 50 percent. Regardless, Heins' announcement (and subsequent stock bump) is the best news to come out of the company all year.
Over the summer, RIM terrified investors when it postponed the release of BB 10 from fall 2012 to early 2013. Analysts were equally frightened by the news.
"With BB 10 now delayed to 1Q-CY13, we're concerned the North America subscriber base could be irreparably harmed and that international markets could follow," Oppenheimer wrote in a report .
National Bank Financial provided its own grim forecast , saying, "First it was the chip, now RIM can't handle all the code. The story keeps changing; we're not buying it." The bank also said that, given RIM's track record, "we may never see a BB 10 handset."
In assessing the damage caused by the delay, Bank of America stated that it does not "believe RIM will be able to build its own ecosystem and think this opportunity has passed."
"In our view, the reality is challenging and Microsoft's entry into this market is only likely to make things worse for RIM given MSFT's strong enterprise position," Bank of America wrote. "As noted above, we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point of time and the company's latest efforts are unlikely to be successful."
RIM rose above its dreary outlook and increased revenue by 16.5 percent during the second quarter. Analysts were impressed but maintained their neutral rating on the stock.
"RIM reported higher revenue and a much smaller operating loss thanks to what we thought were overly pessimistic expectations," Sterne Agee wrote in a report . "For the 2nd quarter in a row, company grew its cash with working capital management. Our concern remains sustainability with receivables declining by $1 billion over the last 2 quarters and its core operation still losing money. BB10 is on track to ship in 1Q13 but profitability remains unclear and we're not sure if it will be effective vs. iOS, Android, and Windows."
BB 10 is not expected to pose a threat to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) or Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ). However, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) is expected to severely encroach on RIM's territory with the newly released Windows Phone 8.
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