UPDATE 2-BlackBerry shares dive on reports of muted U.S. debut for Z10

Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:37pm EDT
 
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* BlackBerry Z10 faces stiff competition in the U.S.

* Launch comes shortly before debut of Samsung, HTC devices

* BlackBerry shares fall more than 7 pct on Nasdaq, TSX (Adds analyst's comment, updates share price move)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - Shares of BlackBerry fell nearly 8 percent on Friday after reports of a flat response to the launch of its new Z10 smartphone in the vitally important U.S. market.

The well-reviewed device, whose success is essential if BlackBerry is to reestablish itself as a power in the smartphone industry, finally hit U.S. store shelves early on Friday, nearly two months after being formally unveiled.

Several analysts and media reports found the debut lackluster.

"This morning we visited and called stores to survey early demand for the Blackberry Z10," said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst. "We found no lines, no signage announcing the launch, and clerks told us they had very few pre-orders."

The uninspiring turnout hurt BlackBerry shares, which ended the day down 7.7 percent at $14.91 on the Nasdaq. The Canadian company's Toronto-listed shares fell 8 percent to close at C$15.19.   Continued...