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RIM seeks probe into 'false' report of BlackBerry Z10 returns

These are stories Report on Business is following Friday, April 12, 2013.

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RIM seeks probe
Research In Motion Ltd. is going after a U.S. investment firm, demanding a probe after what it calls a "false and misleading" report on the number of new BlackBerry Z10 smartphones being returned.

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RIM said today it will ask both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission to investigate.

"Sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are meeting expectations and the data we have collected from our retail and carrier partners demonstrates that customers are satisfied with their devices," chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said in a statement.

"Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry," he added.

RIM shares tumbled yesterday as an investment firm suggested many returns of the make-or-break new smartphone.

Detwiler Fenton & Co., the target of the RIM statement, had said that "in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before."

Both BlackBerry and Verizon in the United States refuted this yesterday, adding today that the firm would not make its report available.

"These materially false and misleading comments about device return rates in the United States harm BlackBerry and our shareholders, and we call upon the appropriate authorities in Canada and the United States to conduct an immediate investigation," said RIM's chief legal officer, Steve Zipperstein.

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"Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the merits of the many competing products in the smartphone industry, but when false statements of material fact are deliberately purveyed for the purpose of influencing the markets a red line has been crossed."

Anne Buckley, the research firm's general counsel and chief compliance officer, responded in a statement that Detwiler Fenton is confident in its methodology and welcomes any probe.

"Detwiler Fenton is not the only research provider publishing similar reports regarding customer reactions, sales, and returns of the BlackBerry Z10," she said.

"It should also be noted that neither the research analyst nor any officer or director of Detwiler Fenton has any financial interest in BBRY," she added, referring to the company by its U.S. stock symbol.

JPMorgan sees record profit
JPMorgan Chase & Co. set an optimistic tone for quarterly reporting season among America's major banks, with

a 33-per-cent jump in profit that topped the expectations of analysts.

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The U.S. bank earned a record $6.5-billion (U.S.) or $1.59 a share in the first quarter, well up from $4.9-billion or $1.19 a year earlier and boosted by investment banking.

JPMorgan also plans to boost its dividend in the second quarter to 38 cents from 30 cents.

"We are seeing positive signs that the economy is healthy and getting stronger," said chief executive officer Jamie Dimon.

"Housing prices continued to improve and new home purchases are also starting to come back. We also saw strong performance in our credit card portfolio, with net charge-offs remaining near historic lows, another sign that consumers are healthier and more confident," he said in a statement, though added that "loan growth across the industry has been softer this quarter."

Gold plunges
The price of gold tumbled today, falling below the $1,500-an-ounce mark to its lowest since 2011.

As The Globe and Mail's David Berman reports, the price of bullion is now more than 20 per cent below its 2011 high of $1,900, meaning a bear market.

This comes amid several projections for a drop.

Just this week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecast that gold will average $1,545 (U.S.) an ounce this year and $1,350 next.

Société Générale, in turn, projected gold will tumble by 15 per cent by the end of 2013, to $1,375, followed by years of a "gentle bear market." The price fell more than 4 per cent today.

Capital Economics, however, believes there are factors that would limit a decline.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More


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