OTTAWA, Ontario -- Research in Motion, the troubled maker of the once-dominant BlackBerry smartphone, reported another sizable quarterly loss Thursday, but a smaller one than the quarter before. Along with an increase in revenue, the results produced a surprise that sent the company's stock up sharply.
Still, there was no concealing how far RIM's fortunes had declined. Its net loss for the latest quarter, which ended Sept. 1, was $235 million -- better than the $518 million loss in the previous quarter, but a steep fall from the net income of $329 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
The company said revenue in the most recent quarter was $2.9 billion, up from $2.8 billion in the first quarter though down 31 percent from $4.2 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected a far steeper year-on-year drop in revenue of 41 percent, which would have raised fears that the company would have to dip into its cash holdings. It actually increased its cash thanks to sharp cost-cutting.
As a result, RIM's stock jumped more than 20 percent in after-hours trading. In the regular session, before the announcement, it had closed at $7.14 a share.
"Make no mistake about it, we understand that we have much more work to do," the chief executive, Thorsten Heins, said in a statement. "But we are making the organizational changes to drive improvements across the company."
Phone sales are slowing dramatically, though. Shipments of phones last
"The street is largely giving RIM a pass on this quarter as it readies the important BlackBerry 10 launch," said Bill Kreher, an analyst at Edward Jones. "The fact of the matter is that the company has really placed on its bets on BlackBerry 10."
But Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, said the dominance of Apple (AAPL) and Android has closed the window of opportunity for RIM's BlackBerry 10 strategy and turned the company's last great hope into its biggest problem.
"It's about survival now; it's not about BlackBerry 10," said Wu. "That's almost secondary. The battle now is staying alive and looking after your current customers. It's not really clear that their core customers are looking for BlackBerry 10."