BlackBerry Storm drives up RIM shares amid sellouts

Tremendous lines reportedly amassed outside of several metropolitan Verizon Wireless stores awaiting the new BlackBerry Storm, only to have eager fans turned away empty handed.

Today, shares in parent company Verizon have jumped in value nearly six percent in midday trading, but many BlackBerry fans are skeptical about the efficacy of Verizon Wireless' Storm launch.

The perceived huge demand for RIM's first touchphone has driven stock value in that company up 5.9% to $47.45. Currently, however, there is no concrete figure that can prove stock numbers or sales figures. Analyst estimates vary wildly: RBC Capital Markets estimates that anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000 Storms were sold over the weekend, while Research Capital analysts suppose that between 250,000 and 400,000 were sold on Friday alone. Verizon's online ordering portal for the device succumbed to overwhelming traffic on its Friday launch.

However, BlackBerry enthusiasts are attributing the widespread Storm sell-outs to a Boy Genius Report that speculates at reduced stock numbers due to an OS downgrade that RIM initiated before launch. Users walked home with an old version of the OS (4.7.0.65), even though several newer iterations are known to exist, even loaded on in-store demo units. BGR found that underneath the box labels of these units was a label for OS v.4.7.0.82, and believes that OS build was too problematic to launch with.

Though practically all figures surrounding the Storm launch are nebulous at best, the common bit of information that everyone has received is the date December 15. This is the date that most sources give as the next time that the BlackBerry Storm will once again be available for purchase.

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