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RIM subscriber base drops for first time, loses $114 million on $2.73 billion revenue in Q3 2013

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RIM's difficulties leading up to the launch of BlackBerry 10 continued today as the company posted its fiscal Q3 2013 earnings report. The company reported an adjusted net loss of $114 million on $2.73 billion in revenue. The release does claim an overall profit of $14 million for the quarter, but that's only because of a $166 million tax settlement. RIM's struggles are very clearly illustrated by the year-over-year numbers: the company's revenue has dropped 47 percent compared to this time in 2011, when it earned $265 million. Despite hardware stagnation, RIM did manage to ship 6.9 million smartphones and 255,000 PlayBook tablets — nearly 100,000 more than it shipped in Q3 2012 — and it increased its cash on hand by $600 million dollars to a total of $2.9 billion. The company lost users for the first time, with the total dropping by one million to 79 million globally.

CEO Thorsten Heins has warned investors of challenging quarters for months now — and RIM is simply intending to stick it out as best it can until its next generation operating system, BlackBerry 10, is released in early 2013. Heins has previously called the new operating system its "one shot" at recovery, and the company has already sent out invites for a January 30th event in New York to announce what's expected to be the first device to run the OS, the much-leaked L Series. Despite the impending announcement, however, this won't be the last difficult quarter for the company: in today's release RIM says it expects another loss in Q4. In the meantime, the company has been removed from the NASDAQ-100 market index and it has laid off thousands of employees. Earlier this year, RIM was in the midsts of a major executive shuffle, and that continued this quarter with the announcement that CIO Robin Bienfait is retiring from the company. We'll be listening in to the company's earnings call at 5PM ET to hear Heins' thoughts on today's news.