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RIM Announces Disappointing First Quarter Outlook

Research in Motion posted reasonable fourth quarter earnings, while the first-quarter outlook is disappointing for the Blackberry maker.

The company, which shipped 52.3 million smartphones for fiscal 2011, posted fourth quarter earnings of $934 million or $1.78 per share. The company's revenue increased by one percent to end up at $5.6 billion for the fourth quarter.

RIM, for the entire 2011 fiscal year, posted solid earnings of $3.4 billion or 6.34 per share with the revenue registering a 33 percent year-on-year rise to end up at $19.9 billion.

However, the company projected a lower than expected first quarter financial performance, falling short of Wall Street estimates. The falling prices of its smartphones and the increased investment in its PlayBook tablet have lowered the company's expectations for the first quarter.

The company predicted fiscal first quarter revenue between $5.2 billion and $5.6 billion or earnings of $1.47 to $1.55 a share while Wall Street had expected RIM to report revenue of $5.64 billion or $1.65 per share, ZDNet reports

“This guidance range reflects a mix shift in handset towards lower ASP products in the first quarter and an increased level of investment in research and development and sales and marketing related to our tablet and platform initiatives,” the company explained.

RIM also pointed to the potential disruption in its supply chain resulting from the earthquake in Japan.