On May 1, Carbonite will release its 1st Q 2012 results after the close of the markets, and will host an investor conference call.

At that time, we may get the first glimpse into whether and to what extent Carbonite’s famous March 3, Saturday night jettison of its sponsorship of Rush Limbaugh has affected new subscriber and retention rates.

As discussed previously, Carbonite’s business model is premised on high growth in its subscriber base and moving subscribers to higher cost plans, and sponsorship of Limbaugh was a critical part of the strategy.

The 1st Q numbers only will be a sign, and will not tell the whole story since the 1st Q includes less than a month after the time of the Limbaugh announcement; nonetheless, there should be clues.

If recent movement in the stock price is any precursor, the market is not expecting good results.  After a precipitous drop in Carbonite’s price after the Limbaugh announcement to just under $8 per share, Carbonite experienced a (dead cat?) bounce up to $11 per share by the end of March.

But since the beginning of April, Carbonite has been on a steady slide, and now is back down almost to its post Limbaugh low.  As of this writing the stock is barely above $8 per share:

The Limbaugh factor certainly is not the only thing which must be weighing on investors’ minds.  The rollout of cheap online storage programs by Microsoft and Google likely will slow the growth of companies like Carbonite which charge premium prices.

It’s a time in the life of Carbonite when more than ever it needs to shore up its consumer loyalty, the exact opposite of what  its politically driven March 3 actions likely achieved.  But we’ll find out more about that, perhaps, on May 1.

I’ll keep you informed.