RIM makes a loss

Research In Motion has seen a net loss and its first slump in BlackBerry shipments for its holiday quarter since 2006.

RIM’s shares fell nine percent as the company said it would no longer issue financial forecasts and was reviewing “strategic opportunities” such as partnerships and joint-venture licensing.

It also looks like some senior executives, including former co-CEO and current director Jim Balsillie are exiting the building before the ship sinks.

Chief Executive Thorsten Heins, took over from Balsillie and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in January, said he was looking at ways to turnaround the company.

He hinted that one of the ideas he was looking at was a possible sale, although it is not the main direction he is looking at.

He said that he did his own reality check on the company and it was clear that substantial change is what RIM needs. Hopefully his reality cheque will not bounce.

RIM’s shares only stopped falling after he left open the option of partnerships that analysts said could allow the company to exit some aspects of its business, such as making hardware, while focusing on software and services.

According to the company it shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 3, down 21 percent from the third quarter. This was slightly better than what Wall Street thought, but it was the first decline in the quarter covering Christmas since 2006 and only the second time RIM has reported a drop in sales.

RIM sold more than 500,000 PlayBooks in the fourth quarter, but this number was inflated by deep discounts offered to boost sales of the product. It is getting out of the consumer market.

According to Reuters, profit in the latest quarter more than halved to $418 million from $934 million last year. Revenue slumped to $4.19 billion from $5.56 billion.