CNBC Stock Blog

Chances of a Research In Motion Turnaround Slim: Analyst


As Blackberry maker Research In Motion gears up to release its fiscal third-quarter earnings, pressure is rising on the telecommunications company to deliver.

Investors will be focused on whether the firm will be able to bridge its products to the new operating system (OS), and whether it will be strong enough to help turn RIM around, Mike Abramsky, managing director and software and wireless research analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told CNBC Thursday.

"The sell-through was the real issue [last quarter] — the slowing sales of its Blackberry 7 handsets," he said. "While there might be some transitional inventory issues that are minor, the bigger issue was the fact that they're not selling these handsets to transition them to the new OS."

Best Buy Earnings Fall Short

RIM stock has been hit hard this year, falling 74 percent to trade near fresh 52-week lows.

Shares of the Blackberry maker dipped less than 1 percent ahead of the report.

"Inventory in carrier channels tends to be fairly thin nowadays, so what was really disturbing about RIM's warning was the decline in smartphone momentum, right in the middle of what was supposed to be a transitional and important Blackberry 7 product cycle," Abramsky said, referring to the lull in demand facing the firm.

Besides experiencing widespread network outages in October, RIM has also taken a $485 million charge to write down the value of its poor-selling Playbook tablet.

There has been talk of overhauling the firm's corporate governance structure, which is currently led by CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who also serve as co-chairmen of the board. In light of this potential management shake-up, the chances of RIM's rebounding were slim, Abramsky said.

"The history of tech turnarounds, when [companies] get themselves into this kind of trouble, is very thin," he said. "So, the probability that there is going to have to be some more dramatic change of some kind, in terms of restructuring of management or otherwise, increases as the company gets itself more into these difficulties."

RIM will release its earnings after the closing bell Thursday. Analysts are expecting the company to report earnings of $1.19 per share on revenue of $5.26 billion.

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Mike Abramsky does not personally own stock in Research In Motion. However, RBC Capital Markets does make a market in the securities of RIM. The firm is also currently providing RIM with non-securities services.