DOh! RIM Lowers Fourth Quarter Guidance

BlackBerry users might be loyal to the point of addiction (that means you, Barack Obama), but that doesn’t mean they’re running out in droves to get the latest BlackBerry Bold or Storm or other high-end model. In fact, the contraction in consumer spending has translated to users either hanging on to their older BlackBerrys for now, or going for the lower-end models like the Pearl. All making for a potentially troubling bellwether for handset makers looking to cash in on new high-end smartphone offerings. Especially if you’re locked in an ongoing catfight with the iPhone.

Amid these realities, Research in Motion Ltd. updated its forecast for the fourth quarter, which ends Feb. 28 and will be reported on April 2. The BlackBerry maker now says that while subscriber additions should be up a full 20 percent over its original 2.9-million-new-subs expectation, gross margins and earnings will still come in at the low end of its guidance.

The company said that sales of the touchscreen Storm, et al, were still strong, but just not as strong as it had hoped. Nonetheless, RIM’s shares tumbled more than 15 percent after the warning.

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