BlackBerry back in profit, sells 1m Z10s BY:ROB GILLIES From:AAP March 29, 2013 12:28AM RESEARCH In Motion says it sold about one million of its critically important new BlackBerry 10 devices and surprised Wall Street by returning to profitability in the most recent quarter. The earnings provide a first glimpse of how RIM's new touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 is selling internationally and in Canada since its debut on January 31. The one million Z10 phones exceeded the 915,000 analysts had been expecting. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, had been the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before the iPhone debuted in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls. RIM faced numerous delays modernising its operating system with the BlackBerry 10. During that time, it had to cut more than 5000 jobs and saw shareholder wealth decline by more than $US70 billion ($A67 billion). In the quarter that ended March 2, RIM earned $US98 million, or 19 US cents a share, compared with a loss of $US125 million, or 24 US cents a share, a year earlier. After adjusting for restructuring and other one-time items, RIM earned 22 US cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a loss of 31 US cents. Revenue fell 36 per cent to $US2.7 billion, from $US4.2 billion. Analysts had expected $US2.82 billion. Despite the BlackBerry 10 sales, RIM lost about three million subscribers to end the quarter with 76 million. Bill Kreyer, a tech analyst for Edward Jones, called the decline "pretty alarming". "This is going to take a couple of quarters to really see how they are doing," Kreyer said. RIM, which is changing is formal name to BlackBerry, said it expects to break even in the current quarter. "To say it was a very challenging environment to deliver improved financial results could well be the understatement of the year," chief executive Thorsten Heins said during a conference call with analysts on Thursday. "I thought they were dead. This is a huge turnaround," Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said from New York. Misek said the Canadian company "demolished" the numbers, especially its gross margins. RIM reported gross margins of 40 per cent, up from 34 per cent a year earlier. The company credited higher average selling prices and higher margins for devices. The company also announced that co-founder Mike Lazaridis will retire as vice-chairman and director.