RIM warns Q1 earnings to be lower than expected

Research In Motion Ltd. warned that its first-quarter smart phone shipments are likely to be lower than expected, cutting its earnings forecast for the quarter.

In March, RIM forecast earnings per share for the quarter ending May 28 in the range of US$1.47 to $1.55. It now expects earnings of $1.30 to $1.37. 

The change is due to smart phone shipments that are now expected to be on the lower end of the 13.5 million to 14.5 million units that RIM thought it would sell, as well as a shift in sales toward low-end models. 

The company now expects revenue to fall slightly below the range of $5.2 billion to $5.6 billion that it had predicted earlier. 

RIM said shipments of the PlayBook, its first tablet, should be in line with its expectations. RIM has not quantified how many tablets it has sold or expects to sell.

The company will release its first-quarter earnings results on June 16. 

RIM has been struggling to keep pace with newer smartphones such as the iPhone and those running Android, which have begun to chip away at RIM’s dominance of the enterprise market. 

In after-hours trading late on Thursday, the company’s shares (Nasdaq: RIMM) were down $6.38 at $50.11.

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