Is RIMM Finally Catching a Break?

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The major players in the mobile device industry appear to be stuck in bizarro world lately. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the world’s most valuable company, is receiving a heavy dose of negativity following its iPhone 5 launch. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares are constantly hitting new highs after remaining dormant for years. Furthermore, a long-forgotten left for dead mobile player is receiving a rare bounce.

While analysts and pundits debate the importance and implications for Apple selling “only” 5 million iPhone 5 units over its opening weekend, one company is happy just to see that its user base is not shrinking. On Tuesday, Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) said that its subscriber base now totals more than 80 million users, compared to 78 million in the first fiscal quarter report in late June. Thorsten Heins, chief executive officer of Research in Motion, delivered the good news at a developers’ conference in San Jose, California.

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The announcement was a pleasant surprise for analysts and shareholders. Many were expecting the BlackBerry maker to report a loss in users due to its struggles to keep up with other smartphones entering the marketplace over recent years. Before the conference, Kris Thompson of National Bank Financial explains, “This is the first quarter we are expecting zero subscriber growth, a loss in enterprise customers offset by a small gain in international consumer subs. Starting next quarter, we see the sub base in a downward spiral with BlackBerry 10 potentially slowing the losses, but we’re not holding our breath.”

Research in Motion also said its BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system is on track to be released in early 2013, after seeing numerous delays. Heins called the new platform the company’s “most important launch ever” and further added that it is “committed to building an entirely new platform.” Although shares of RIM are down nearly 90 percent over the past three years and hit new lows on Monday, investors cheered the good news as shares closed 4.7 percent higher on Tuesday.

In an effort to attract more users and developers, RIM was also able to secure native apps for the BlackBerry 10 phone from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Twitter and Foursquare.

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