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Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Research in Motion ships record 10.5M BlackBerries, shares slide

BackBerry maker Research in Motion reported strong sales for its fiscal Q3 2010 but saw its shares slip some 7% as both revenues and shipments fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

The Canadian smartphone maker said it shipped 10.5 million units during the three-month period ended February while adding 4.9 million net new subscribers. Analysts, however, had expected closer to 11 million units.

By comparison, Apple shipped 8.7 million iPhones during its first quarter of 2010, which ended in December. The fiscal quarters of the two rivals are always offset by two months, which means there's never been precise data available to the public for a direct comparison of iPhone and BlackBerry sales over a set three-month span. RIM's Q3 ended in February.

Apple only sells the iPhone on AT&T in the US and has not dramatically discounted its smartphones in "buy one get one" offers. RIM has expanded its sales largely through lower priced models such as the popular BlackBerry Curve. Even so, RIM's profit margins came in at 45.7%, higher than many analysts has expected.

Despite lots of good news, it appears RIM's earnings reports triggered a selloff due to unrealistic expectations.

Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros said, "the results frankly were a little disappointing in light of the guidance," noting that although RIM's profit margins were above many forecasts, unit shipments still missed Wall Street's targets. "Expectations got a little out of hand."