RIM plunges after grim quarterly report

Research in Motion shares plunged Friday a day after the BlackBerry maker's bleak earnings report and the delay in its new smartphone platform raised fresh fears about its survival.

RIM shares tumbled 19 percent to close at $7.39, their lowest level since 2003, and down more than 90 percent from their 2008 highs.

Analysts said the news from RIM was deeply disappointing -- not only did the Canadian firm report a widening loss of $518 million, but it also said it would cut 5,000 jobs and delay its important BlackBerry 10 platform until early 2013.

The BB10 had been RIM's effort -- a last-ditch bid, according to some analysts -- to regain traction after losing ground to Apple and smartphone makers using the Google Android platform.

"RIM's prospects appear to be turning from bad to worse," said Tal Liani, a research analyst at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

"In our view, the risk of total value destruction over the next few years is possible as at this point we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Other analysts said the price had fallen so low, that the company might extract some value by selling itself or parts of the company, such as its patents.

"With increased competition and a very low probability the market will support RIM's new mobile computing ecosystem, we believe RIM will need to sell the company," said Michael Walkley and the investment firm Canaccord Genuity.

He said the company could be worth $8 a share based on a "sum-of-the-parts analysis."

A survey by the research firm IDC showed smartphones powered by Google's Android software accounted for 59 percent of the global market in the first quarter of 2012, with 23 percent for Apple's iPhones.

That left just 6.4 percent for BlackBerry, compared with 13.6 percent a year ago.

In the US market, only around five percent of smartphone buyers opted for BlackBerry in early 2012, according to a Nielsen survey.

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