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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Customers boost Blackberry maker
Three people using Blackberry mobile device
RIM has seen strong customer growth
Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of the handheld Blackberry device, saw its earnings for the three months to March boosted by strong customer growth.

RIM saw profits rise ten-fold in the period to 3 March, soaring to $187m (94m) from $18.4m a year earlier.

But the results come as the US financial watchdog launches a formal stock options probe into the company.

The strong earnings are preliminary after RIM recently restated earnings over how stock options were awarded.

The news of the SEC inquiry sent RIM shares 7% lower in after-hours trading but analysts said the firm's outlook remained strong.

"The company continues to perform and to perform strongly, regardless of the progression of the investigation," said Carmi Levy, analyst at Info Tech Research.

The firm increased its subscriber base by 1.02 million for the quarter, contributing to a total 8 million.

The Securities and Exchange Investigation (SEC) has turned what was an initial probe into an official enquiry.

In March, the company reissued an earlier earnings statement, restating $250m, due to mistakes in the way stock options had been granted.

The firm is just one of a number of prominent North American firms that face internal or external investigations over how stock options have been awarded.

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