12/20/2012 04:21 EST | Updated 12/20/2012 04:31 EST

RIM Q3 Earnings: Subscribers Decline For First Time But Company Ekes Out A Tiny Profit

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SAN JOSE, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Research in Motion (RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins speaks during the BlackBerry Jam 2012 conference at the San Jose Convention Center on September 25, 2012 in San Jose, California. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins kicked off the three-day BlackBerry Jam 2012 conference with a look at the new BlackBerry 10 opereating system. The conference runs through September 27. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion posted a small profit in its third quarter, even as the Waterloo, Ont.-based company's subscriber base declined for the first time.

The number of subscribers fell to 79 million from 80 million, the company reported — a potentially gloomy sign ahead of its launch of the BlackBerry 10 generation of smartphones next month.

RIM posted an adjusted loss of $0.22 per share, compared with analyst estimates of around $0.35 per share. Revenue also did somewhat better than expected for Q3, coming in at $2.73 billion, compared to expectations of $2.66 billion.

The company also announced its long-time chief investment officer, Robin Bienfait, is leaving the company.

The Canadian Press reports:

TORONTO — Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) beat expectations in its latest results as it reported a third-quarter profit of $9 million.

The profit amounted to two cents per share for the three months ended Dec. 1, compared with a profit of $265 million or 51 cents per share a year ago. Revenue totalled $2.73 billion, down from $5.17 billion.

On an adjusted basis, RIM said it lost $114 million or 22 per diluted share.

Analysts expect a quarterly loss of 32 cents per adjusted share on revenue of $2.6 billion

The results come as RIM prepares to unveil a new line of smartphones running its latest operating system next month.

The launch will see the smartphone pioneer enter the most important months of its history — ones that will likely determine whether RIM survives in its existing form.

The company shipped 6.9 million BlackBerry smartphones for the quarter and 255,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, while the subscriber base slipped to 79 million from 80 million in the second quarter.

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