Tuesday, October 09, 2012

BlackBerry 10 Won't Launch Until March 2013, says Analysts

blackberry-10-bold-full-touchNothing much is actually going in favor of RIM. It was nicely poised for January 2013 release a couple of weeks ago which was also reflecting on its stock prices which were above $8, but latest words from a senior analyst are none less than a pin in the balloon for RIM.

Jeffries and Co. analyst Peter Misek said "We had hoped for a Jan launch but now see a March launch as more likely,"

According to the analysts, RIM is having a hard time getting third-party manufacturers like Samsung and HTC licensing their operating system for handsets until after the launch was ready, which will further slow deployment for BB 10. With such a delay, channel partners are unlikely to invest in any more BlackBerry 7 handsets, which will definitely effect company's position in the market.

With already delayed release from fall to January 2013, the future of BlackBerry 10 was thrown into question earlier, and if the analysts are correct, this would seriously hamper RIM and their plans to actually stay afloat in smartphone market. With this announcement, the stock prices of RIM went down 5.46%, which means that RIM would now be dependent on its $2.3bn cash pile to make up any shortfall in revenues, but according to Peter Misek, company will need up to a billion of that just to manufacture enough handsets to launch the new operating system and pay off the developers.

BlackBerry 10 Launch

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has said several times that the delay is due to the "large volume of software code" that needs to be ported to the new platform. The holdup is not related to quality or functionality.

This report isn’t just bad news for RIM, but a double blow as Misek said that apart from eroding the position of RIM in market, it is enough for Microsoft to capitalize on its weakness and grab the number three spot in the market with Windows Phone 8.

"We still believe a third ecosystem will emerge, but the probability of BB10 filling the role is wholly dependent on whether RIM can convince Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE to license," Misek further added

Though “Baidu”, “Huawei” and others manufacturers are pursuing their own operating systems, we also see Windows 8 as somewhat of a threat but conflicting reviews, less-than-stellar developer feedback, and a desire by Microsoft to make hardware directly make Windows 8 unlikely to have better odds at becoming the third ecosystem than the previously mentioned new entrants, in our view."

RIM has already missed the holiday season, which means they have a tough and sure shot (down)fall ahead. Last quarter would be the toughest for RIM and with replenishment rates decreasing as channel partners are cautious on holding RIM inventory(BlackBerry 7). Moreover, business uncertainty means companies are unlikely to license from RIM until the new OS launches.

This again raises a concern of possible sale of RIM, but it is unlikely to transpire before the launch of BB10. All hope may not be lost for the BlackBerry maker. Jefferies points to the possibility of a third ecosystem emerging, but that hangs on whether or not RIM can convince Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE to license, while those companies pursue their own operating systems.
Huawei and ZTE may not be the best business partners, though, which leaves RIM in a no man's land. The stock prices of RIM are back to around $7.62.

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