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RIM Still Reeling

Updated from 4:57 p.m. EDT

Research In Motion (RIMM) may have put a dangerous patent suit behind it, but troubled times are continuing for the BlackBerry maker.

The company's fourth-quarter results missed Wall Street's top- and bottom-line expectations. Worse yet, the company forecast disappointing results for its current, first quarter.

On a conference call on Thursday, co-CEO Jim Balsillie acknowledged that the company lost momentum in recent months amid worries that its wireless email service would be shut down in the U.S. as a result of the patent dispute. Additionally, some of RIM's carrier partners have delayed the launch of new handsets, which is leading to slower than expected growth, he said.

But business is picking up, he insisted. New products and investments in international markets should help get RIM's business rolling again, particularly in the second half of this year, he said.

"We're excited about how all aspects of our business are where they need be, or are about where they need be," Balsillie said on the call. "Quite frankly, I think we're on the cusp of another [big expansion]" in the company's business, he added.

Investors were notably more skeptical of the company's outlook. In after-hours trading following the company's report and call, the company's stock was off $3.95, or 4.7%, to $80.43. Earlier in post-bell trading, the stock sunk as low as 6%.

In the quarter ended March 4, RIM earned $18.4 million, or 10 cents a share, on sales of $561.2 million. That was actually up from the year-ago period, when RIM lost $2.6 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $404.8 million.

In both quarters, legal charges weighed down the company's results. Thanks to a settlement in its patent dispute with NTP, RIM took a $162.5 million charge in the just-completed quarter. Excluding that charge and a related tax benefit, the company would have earned $124.6 million, or 65 cents a share, in the just-completed quarter.
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