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RIM surpasses analyst expectations

Research in Motion trounces Wall Street expectations, citing a growing subscriber base for its wireless BlackBerry pagers.

    Research in Motion trounced Wall Street expectations Wednesday, citing a growing subscriber base for its wireless BlackBerry pagers.

    Ontario-based RIM earned $1.5 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with a net income of $3.2 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same period last year. Analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial expected RIM to lose 1 cent per share.

    Revenue for the quarter that ended Nov. 30 jumped to $61.6 million, a 160 percent increase from the $23.7 million in revenue during the same period last year. The company's revenues also represent a 45 percent increase over revenues of $42.5 million reported last quarter.

    Rob Sanderson, an analyst with Banc of America Securities, wasn't troubled that revenues have more than doubled from last year while earnings have fallen by half.

    "They're establishing a brand with BlackBerry and spending to establish a brand. They're also investing in research and development," he said. "They're actually pretty lean if you look at them compared to some other companies."

    "BlackBerry demand continues to ramp beyond our expectations,'' co-CEO Jim Balsillie said.

    RIM also announced Wednesday that it will license Qualcomm's Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology. This move will let RIM will expand the network providers choices available to its consumers, and will enable the company to develop products that can handle both voice and data transmissions, rather than just data.

    "It seems to me it gives them an opportunity to serve a larger market because they're not just constrained to the networks that they've been on," said Mark Specker, an analyst with Wit Soundview.

    Shares of Research in Motion fell $3.50, or 4 percent, to $71.50 in after-hours trading. In regular trading, the company fell $5.75, or 7 percent, to $75.

    The Nasdaq composite index plummeted 178.94, or 7.12 percent, to 2.332.77 today, hitting a 52-week low.