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RIM Earnings Plummet; New CEO to Consider Licensing

Revenue and sales continue to shrink at Research In Motion as the company struggles to stay relevant before it launches a new smartphone platform.

On Thursday, the company reported results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 3. It also announced additional personnel changes, including that Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of the company, has given up his board seat. Balsillie and company founder Jim Lazaridis recently handed over their positions as co-CEOs to Thorsten Heins, who had been chief operating officer.

For RIM's fourth quarter, revenue dropped 25 percent from the previous year to US$4.2 billion. It recorded a net loss of $125 million, or $0.24 per diluted share.

RIM shipped 11.1 million phones in the fourth quarter, 21 percent fewer than in the third quarter. It also shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets. That's up from just 150,000 in the third quarter.

In a statement, Heins said he is now considering new strategic opportunities to right the company, including partnerships, joint ventures and even licensing.

Heins is soon expected to oversee his first conference call with analysts to discuss an earnings report since he took over the helm in January.

RIM continues to suffer under pressure from newer entrants to the smartphone market, including iPhone and Android devices. It is in the midst of a transition to a new operating system that will run both its phones and its PlayBook tablets. The first phones running the operating system will come out in the "later part" of 2012, RIM said in December, which is later than originally expected. It blamed the delay on a decision to use a more advanced chipset that won't be available until the middle of the year.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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