Tipping Point: RIM May Post Subscriber Loss for First Time in 10 Years

BlackBerry sales have been phenomenal for most of the past 10 years. Waterloo’s Research In Motion grew its subscriber base to nearly 80 million worldwide by mid-2012.

That growth has slowed dramatically in the past year, however, and now some analysts believe this quarter may represent the tipping point for RIM: a loss of subscribers instead of a gain. Others believe it will happen next quarter, with this quarter merely grinding to a halt. Either way, it will be the first such loss in a decade.

“This is the first quarter we are expecting zero subscriber growth – a loss in enterprise [customers] offset by a small gain in international consumer subs,” Kris Thompson of National Bank Financial told the Globe and Mail. “Starting next quarter, we see the sub base in a downward spiral with Blackberry 10 potentially slowing [the losses], but we’re not holding our breath.”

RIM’s market cap these days sits below $4 billion. In 2008, the company was valued at nearly $90 billion.

BlackBerry 10, a next-generation software platform and portfolio of smartphones, is slated to launch early next year. Multiple delays have hammered the company’s stock price and crippled sales growth.

RIM reports quarterly earnings this week.