In my time covering the mobile beat I have found that analyst forecasts tend to be bandwagon quasi-educated assumptions by relatively intelligent people who’s recommendations and advice are roughly equitable to a coin toss. With that grain of salt laid bare I found it interesting that Reuters compilation of 23 analyst forecasts has RIM shipping 14.1 million BlackBerrys in this past quarter. Guess where they got that 14.1 million number from? Its right smack in the middle of RIM’s forecast for the quarter.
When I read about this consensus from analysts the first thing that came to mind was the “underwhelming” sales analysts were chiming about when the BlackBerry Torch came out. Now they have all made an about face claiming that strong BlackBerry Torch sales have aided RIM in matching Apple for 14.1 million smartphones sold in this past quarter. Talk about a head scratcher. AT&T told everybody they were “Pleased with Torch sales so far” so should anybody have been surprised?
One good point that Reuters does make is that analysts will be keeping a sharp eye on the “net subscriber additions” that RIM reports this quarter. Interestingly this is the last quarter RIM will be reporting this number which details the net change in RIM customers. Analysts are worried that RIM is just “churning” phones to their existing customer base and not attracting new blood. I think this may very well be the case but as far as I have heard this is RIM’s current strategy. They are trying to hold their customer base steady and give them the features they were demanding for like a solid web browser while they work on revamping the whole BlackBerry line with a new baseband processor and hopefully a new BlackBerry OS.
So anybody want to make a gentlemen’s bet on what analysts would predict next? I really wish somebody would create a website comparing financial analysts predictions and see if they are statistically any better than a coin toss… Both analysts and weather forecasters are the only jobs where nobody holds you accountable for what actually happens and how often you were wrong.