Research In Motion's Strong Earnings Ease Worries Over Apple, Google

Research In Motion (RIMM) reported better than expected earnings Thursday, blunting fears that the Blackberry-maker is losing ground to relative mobile newcomers Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). Investors pushed RIM shares up over 5% in after-hours trading.

RIM said that revenue grew 31% over the same quarter last year to $4.62 billion, while earnings per share increased 76% to $1.46, handily exceeding analyst expectations.

"RIM set another new record in the quarter by shipping over 12 million BlackBerry smartphones," Jim Balsillie, RIM's Co-CEO said in a statement. "This accomplishment and RIM's solid financial results during the second quarter were driven by effective business execution and strong demand for RIM's portfolio of BlackBerry smartphones and services in markets around the world."

RIM said its user base grew 56% over the prior year to over 50 million people. Balsillie expressed optimism looking forward.

"We expect a continuation of this momentum in the third quarter as we extend the rollout of new products including the BlackBerry Torch into additional markets and benefit from heavy promotional activities and increasing customer demand as we head into the holiday buying season," Balsillie said.

The results dampen fears that RIM is falling behind in the mobile arms race to Apple and Google, whose iPhone and Android products have been massive hits. RIM, which has traditionally targeted business users, is increasingly going after the consumer market, setting up a showdown among the mobile giants.

RIM's share of the market is under pressure, so the next couple of product cycles will be crucial. But these results indicate that it's way to early to write RIM off, especially given that the overall smartphone market is growing rapidly, something the company is benefiting from along with its competitors.

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