Research In Motion 3Q profit up 59 pct

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TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. said Thursday its net income for the third quarter rose by 59 percent, as the company attracted new subscribers and sold a record 10 million phones.

Shares surged more than 12 percent in after-hours trading as the company beat analyst expectations.

The Canadian smart phone manufacturer said Thursday that it earned $628.4 million, or $1.10 per share, in the quarter that ended Nov. 28. That compares with $396.3 million, or 69 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue was up 41 percent to $3.92 billion from $2.78 billion last year.

The company’s performance surpassed the expectation of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who were expecting net income of $1.04 per share and revenue of $3.78 billion.

“We are pleased to report record shipments of more than 10 million BlackBerry smart phones during the third quarter with higher-than-expected revenue, earnings and subscriber growth,” co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said in a statement.

After initially focusing on corporate customers, RIM has expanded its reach into the consumer market in recent years. The devices face increasing competition from devices such as Apple’s iPhone, Palm’s Pre and the Motorola Droid.

Duncan Stewart, director of research and analysis at DSam Consulting, said RIM failed to surpass expectations in the previous two quarters but managed to exceed Wall Street estimates this time. The stock dropped more than 20 percent after its last earnings report.

“This shows that RIM is as popular device as it’s ever been, selling more units than it’s largest competitor,” Stewart said.

Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams, said RIM exceeded expectations throughout.

“Really, the issues over the last three to six months have been sentiment issues. It continues to execute strongly,” Misek said. “They significantly exceeded all metrics.”

The better-than-expected report comes as BlackBerry users in North America faced delays in receiving e-mail on their devices Thursday. RIM said technicians isolated and resolved the issue and said it is investigating the cause.

RIM said users were still able to make phone calls, browse the Internet and send and receive text messages. RIM didn’t say how many users were affected or how long the outage lasted.

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