It started out as a bad day for Research In Motion. The maker of the popular Blackberry SmartPhones had a major crisis on its hands – Blackberry Internet Service users were without service for many hours. These are the non-corporate folks (read consumers) who contract through AT&T and Verizon, for example, to use their Blackberries. And this is just the market RIM has been going after – The Toronto Star said about half of Blackberry owners are consumers and it is the area it sees growth; nearly 80% of its new accounts in the second quarter came from consumers. It’s never great to have a service outage but the timing wasn’t great – the same day the company planned to release third-quarter earnings. After a disappointing second quarter report several months ago, the outage today could have been an ominous sign for skittish investors. But it wasn’t. RIM reported very strong earnings and a nice increase in sales that sent its shares up more than 11% in after-hours trading. The company earned $428.4 million on sales of $3.92 billion. In the 2Q, it disappointed with earnings of $475 million on sales of $3.53 billion. Many were wondering if Apple and its iPhone were stealing grabbing Smartphone share away from RIM. But RIM reported strong new account numbers today as well. It will be interesting to see if this means a slowdown for Apple or rather Smartphones cutting more broadly into traditional handheld phone sales, like those made by LG, Nokia or Motorola. The chart on the next page shows new account growth at RIM.