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RIM Can't Deliver

Updated from Sept. 28

Research In Motion (RIMM) got into a battle of perceptions with investors after the bell Wednesday that in the short term has left the company's stock on the losing side.

The clash involved the BlackBerry maker's second-quarter earnings report. In making the report, the company seemed to have the high ground, posting 58% annual revenue growth and forecasting better-than-expected sales in the third quarter.

"We are very pleased with the progress achieved by RIM and its partners over the summer, and we are particularly energized by our prospects for the second half of the fiscal year," Jim Balsillie, RIM's co-CEO, said in a statement.

But investors seemed to see things a bit differently, and they had some ammunition on their side. At least nominally, the company missed its own earnings guidance and appeared to fall short of analysts' estimates.

Moreover, RIM's subscriber growth in the quarter came in at the low end of its guidance, and its expenses were up sharply.

The end result: RIM shares slumped in early Thursday trading, off $4.75, or 6.2%, to $72.50.

In the quarter ended Aug. 27, RIM earned $111.1 million, or 56 cents a share. That was up from the year-ago period, when the company earned $70.6 million, or 36 cents a share. But the company's profit was down from the previous quarter, when it earned $132.5 million, or 67 cents a share.

The sequential earnings decline came despite the fact that sales were up 8% from the first quarter to the second quarter. RIM rang up $490.1 million in the just-completed period, compared with $453.9 million in the first quarter and $310.2 million a year earlier.

At least on the surface, the company's bottom line in the second quarter compared poorly with expectations. On average, analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to earn 61 cents a share -- or 59 cents on a GAAP basis -- in the quarter on sales of $488.7 million.
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