It’s barely been a month since BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion Ltd.) launched its long-overdue BB10 platform. But already the honeymoon appears to be over.
Despite positive reviews of its new touchscreen Z10 device, several analysts have dramatically slashed their initial sales forecasts for the current quarter. Two are forecasting sales of about 300,000, as opposed to the one million units that Wall Street had expected.
Part of the problem is a delayed U.S. launch—the Z10 isn’t expected to go on sale south of the border until mid-March. There are also suggestions that initial reports of sell-outs had more to due to insufficient supplies than overwhelming customer demand. MKM Partners analyst Michael Genovese last week raised his estimate of the chance the BB10 will fail to 90 per cent, from 85 per cent.
To add insult to injury, it was recently revealed that former co-CEO Jim Balsillie, once BlackBerry’s third-largest stock holder with more than 26 million shares (now trading at around $13.65), had sold off his entire stake in the company as of Dec. 31.
Though many investors were eager to see Balsillie replaced last year, the news still came as a shock given he, too, had previously expressed confidence in BB10’s ability to spark a big BlackBerry comeback.