RIM CEOs step down, focus will be on two new Blackberry devices

By on January 23, 2012, 12:12 AM

Analysts have been calling it for quite some time, but with signs like these how could you not. RIM's stock plummeted 77% in 2011 and the company's smartphones kept losing ground to Apple's iPhone and the army of Android devices. Meanwhile the launch of the Playbook tablet was a complete failure. On the other hand, Amazon using essentially the same hardware quickly rose a few months later to become the iPad's #1 competitor.

With that kind of increasing pressure on their hands, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis (co-founder) have stepped down from their co-CEO positions. The company also kept dual-COOs. Thorsten Heins which served one such position will become the new CEO. Barbara Stymiest who served as a board member and was though to become CEO will instead occupy the chairwoman's seat.

Along with the announcement, RIM reinforced its plans to launch a new smartphone based on the new Blackberry 10 operating system before the end of the year. A second-gen Playbook tablet, also set to use the company's upcoming platform is the second major device RIM is working on for 2012. There's also been speculation that Blackberry 10 OS could be opened up and made available for third parties to license.

A brief timeline of RIM's bumpy ride last year:

  • Playbook launched to very unfavorable reviews and didn't even include BB mail or messenger
  • Blackberry's global market share slipped all year long
  • RIM bled revenue for the entire year, leading to layoffs and a steady decline in value
  • RIM suffered multiple network outages and subsequent lawsuits
  • Despite repeated Playbook price cuts, RIM was forced to write off  $490 million in unsold units
  • A RIM executive was charged with inflicting bodily injuries during an uruly BB event in Indonesia
  • Multiple trademark disputes have kept RIM busy: BBX (new OS) and BBM (Messenger)
  • After repeated delays, RIM's new BB products won't be released until late 2012
  • Several potential suitors flirted with buying RIM but the company refused
  • Insiders claim Blackberry 10, possibly RIM's salvation, appears to be a train wreck

Just in 2009 Research in Motion had received honors from Fortune as the fastest growing company in the world. The company has not been losing money in recent times, and they still appear to have a stronghold in certain markets (outside of the US). It will be interesting to see how the company reacts and if it makes any difference in consumers' minds. Also if there's enough space for multiple platforms to co-exist in today's mobile market which is characterized by the closed ecosystems touted by the different major players.




User Comments: 7

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am still not convinced that RIM will be able to turn things around any time soon, simply put their time has come and gone (mostly because of their own making). I think in coming year(s) they may be taken over but mainly for their patents ........

Guest said:

RIM continues to increase its installed base year over year (including 2011--they're market share has decreased but only because the smart phone market as a whole has increased in size), they remain very profitable, making about 5 billiion per quarter, and have a stable of ip including the fastest, most secure and lowest power consuming push email and IM software on the market. The Playbook and BB 10 devices will support bb os 10 apps and the majority of Android software over blackberry appworld which screens out malware and virus android apps that are becoming increasingly prevalent on samsung and other android handset vendors phones.

We have yet to see how they execute with bb 10, so it would not be prudent to over speculate on the timeline of their possible demise.

But somehow people disregard all of this and assuredly proclaim that they will be out of business in a couple of months. The mobile market is far too volatile. 1 year is 4 internet years. An incredibly lrge amount of key factors can and do routinely change in such a long stretch of time.

yorro said:

They need a game changer.

Guest said:

they need a miracle at this point.

Chazz said:

Guest said:

RIM continues to increase its installed base year over year (including 2011--they're market share has decreased but only because the smart phone market as a whole has increased in size), they remain very profitable, making about 5 billiion per quarter, and have a stable of ip including the fastest, most secure and lowest power consuming push email and IM software on the market. The Playbook and BB 10 devices will support bb os 10 apps and the majority of Android software over blackberry appworld which screens out malware and virus android apps that are becoming increasingly prevalent on samsung and other android handset vendors phones.

We have yet to see how they execute with bb 10, so it would not be prudent to over speculate on the timeline of their possible demise.

But somehow people disregard all of this and assuredly proclaim that they will be out of business in a couple of months. The mobile market is far too volatile. 1 year is 4 internet years. An incredibly lrge amount of key factors can and do routinely change in such a long stretch of time.

Too many people just love to scream the sky is falling and I mainly blame the journalists. Their readers typically mirror their "opinions". Apple has had many siri outages, Verizon has had several LTE outages yet the articles about those are nowhere near as dramatic like you read in the blackberry articles.

I don't like blackberry phones at all, but I don't think things are as they seem. It's being overhyped so much and the sad thing is that is affecting them more than anything.

Guest said:

Don't blame CEO, they want RIM win.

RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.

In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.

It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM's management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

This culture deny or steal hardworking team members' contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

So don't blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs' expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.

Guest said:

Who cares ? They will die. It is on the wall and they know it ! I guarantee you that. Let them see if IP will be enough then. There is no place for stagnant technology firms on this planet.

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