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  (Source: Peter Jackson/New Line Cinema)
Despite struggles, board has taken no decisive action to try to promote change

Reportedly, Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM)'s co-CEOs/Chairman have ensorcelled their company's board members to the point where they've become almost unable to speak up against the pair.  As a result the board has remained silent and submissive, even as RIM has seen its financial fortunes slide perilously in the wrong direction.

I. A Need For Change

The Wall Street Journal, though, is reporting that some of the company's biggest investors have quietly joined calls for the board of directors to take drastic action -- either to sell the company or to wipe the management slate clean.

So far the noisiest public complaints had come from Jaguar Financial Corp., a Toronto merchant bank who invested in RIM in hopes of forcing either a sale or a turnaround via a change in management.

Over the course of the last several months, RIM's efforts have unfolded like a train wreck:
  • Oct. 10-13
    RIM experiences a major service outage, leaving customers without messaging.
  • Oct. 17
    RIM offers free premium apps as apology.
  • Oct. 18
    RIM unveils its great OS hope, "BBX", a new smartphone OS based on QNX.
  • Oct. 21
    News arrives that RIM has been sued for scooping the name from an American software company's trademarked and active product.
  • Nov. 25
    At the debut of the BlackBerry Bold 9790, RIM's employees offer a 50 percent discount to the first 1,000 customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, provoking a riot.  Many are injured and RIM employees are arrested.
  • Nov. 28
    Inebriated RIM employees, representing their company on business, start a physical fight with flight attendants, forcing the flight to be diverted to Vancouver, off its course to Beijing.  RIM apologies and fires the pair.
  • Nov. 30
    QNX's security is breached allow jailbreaks, and raising concerns about BBX
  • Dec. 2
    RIM announces it will miss its Q3 2012 revenue outlook due to poor QNX (PlayBook) tablet sales.
  • Dec. 7
    More flaws in QNX's security are revealed, hackers defeat RIM's feeble patching attempt.
  • Dec. 8
    RIM is barred from using the trademarked "BBX", is forced to rename operating system to "BlackBerry 10".
  • Dec. 14
    The NPD Group reports that RIM is fading fast in sales and only has an 8 percent market share in the U.S., down from its peak of almost 50 percent.
  • Dec. 16
    Earnings targets are missed and the next generation BlackBerry 10 operating system is delayed due ostensibly to RIM's lofty goals for LTE performance.
  • Dec. 23
    Canada's The Globe and Mail reports that RIM is preparing for a Jan. 11 hearing over whether it stole the trademarked acronym BBM from a Canadian broadcast advocacy who used the term for six decades.
RIM Stock
RIM's stock has plummeted in price since the start of 2011. [Image Source: Google Finance]

About the lone positive news over this period has been the minor pickup in the company's stock on Dec. 21, which came thanks to reports that multiple companies were investigating a RIM acquisition.

II. RIM's Management Has Tightly Controlled Company, Board

Currently RIM has a very unusual executive management structure, which some blame for its problems.  Company co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis share the CEO and Chairman position, refusing to allow fresh blood to step in.  Of the pair, Mr. Balsillie tends to focus on finances, while Mr. Lazaridis focuses on engineering.

In June RIM agreed to review its management structure, but there's been no action from the company's board thus far.  A final analysis, reportedly, may arrive next month, potentially prompting some sort of action.

Investors are focusing their efforts on RIM's contingent of independent directors.  These members mostly arrived in the wake of a 2007 stock backdating scandal, which led to fines and penalties from the Ontario Securities Commission and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  At the time the fresh blood forced company co-founder Jim Balsillie to step down from the role of Chairman, hoping to subsequently push co-founder Mike Lazaridis out of the CEO spot.  Instead, after a year Jim Balsillie was back as a chairman and Mr. Lazaridis and Balsillie's unusual joint CEO/chairman scheme was restored.

Leading the coalition of independent directors is Barbara Stymest, former Toronto Stock Exchange CEO and executive at the Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY), the nation's top lender.  Another prominent director is Roger Martin dean of the University of Toronto's and author of a popular book on how directors should take lessons from the NFL, acting in a greater corporate activist capacity.

Mr. Martin wrote in his book, "[Board members] can choose to accept a check-the-box meeting, or they can rise above it and focus on doing their important public-service job: helping their company to perform well."

Ironically both Mr. Martin and Ms. Stymest appear to have given RIM's struggling leadership a check-the-box sort of approval.  Reportedly, Mr. Balsillie's control over the board is particularly powerful and he has blocked other top-level executives from getting access to the board, in an effort to consolidate his and Mr. Lazardis' power.

Jim Balsillie smirking
RIM's Jim Balsillie reportedly tightly controls his company's board. [Image Source: TechShout]

But how long the pair will remain silent and submissive remains to be seen considering that the negativity surrounding RIM is starting to rub off on their reputations.  The WSJ quotes an executive at one of RIM’s top investors, "It would seem to be a joke to have two people on the board who claim to be experts in corporate governance."

Source: WSJ



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RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 12/28/2011 8:55:16 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
13 bullet points in the article above, not one of them is anything but a fact. Clearly he is being paid
13 negative bullet points in the article above, and not a single one of the 13 positive bullet points. Clearly he is being paid.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 12/29/2011 6:28:06 AM , Rating: 3
OK, I'll bite.

Show me 13 positive bulletpoints on RIM that arent your opinion. Need actual facts and/or things that actually happened like Jason did in the article above. You cant say "Playbook voted best tabelt on hte market by one guy named Pirks" as a positive point. Those 13 points are from the last 3 months... I will make it easier for you, use all of 2011, but facts only.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 12/30/2011 2:15:38 AM , Rating: 2
Nah, I'm too lazy to do it. I just noticed how carefully JM and yourself ignored the release of new BB7 devices, release of new cool Playbook games like Dead Space, while pouring tons of news and rumors here about how Apple farted in that direction and how Jobs winked his eye in this direction and how the rumor about iPhone XXX and iPad YYY turned about to be a false rumor and the real rumor is something else, blah blah, Jobs farted this, Jobs farted that... nice job for an "objective" tech news reporter I must say JM runs an Apple news outlet here with occassional pro-Google trolling. If you seriously repeat some dumb news about two jerks in an airplane getting drunk and this meaning the end of RIM - I'm not gonna search the net to find you two good guys from RIM who donated to local community or did some other thing. Why should I? To prove you that positive news about RIM do exist? But what's the point of proving anything to a stubborn anti-RIM trolls? I can't change your prejudices no matter what facts and news I post here, so I won't anymore. I tried, then I noticed that you and JM have an agenda and realized that the only way to get JM to post something positive about RIM is to overbid Google or Apple or both, but I can't. So I admit, I lost the battle with you guys, 'cause I don't have enough money. Let Apple and Google win, whatever. No matter who wins, the dumb people who read reviews instead of trying products will always lose, that's always going to be my main point.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 12/30/2011 8:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, ok of your 2 examples , you rally cant call them good news. They released OS7. OK, but sales are declining 2011 vs. 2010, so it didnt boost sales enough. Per RIM, they expect sales to go down further. Not news reporters, not analysts... RIM says that. As for dead space... WOW, a game is released on playbook. Is that REALLY good news for RIM? I mean, its not bad news, but games are released on IOS and Android every day, we dont call it news. Your 2 examples are really thin man. No way there are 13 of them. Its like when you call BBM one of RIM's "innovations"... LOL, wow instant message on a phone. What an important development. I have had that on my Treo since at least 2005.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 12/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 12/31/2011 6:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
"he's literally SCRAPING THE BOTTOM to find the littlest possible piece of negative news about RIM"

Open your eyes man. The ENTIRE smartphone world is on fire with negative news on RIM. The reason isn't "RIM haters," or "paid trolls"... Its because its like watching a train wreck... People are interested in it, like it or not. Once mighty RIM cant seem to do anything right these days. When a multi-billion dollar company flounders in the industry it once dominated IT IS NEWS. This is a tech site and it is tech news. Jason/Dailytech has nothing to do with it. Jason is just reporting what is out there all over the net and the smartphone world in general. HP gets the same treatment, as does Rambus, and at times Sony.

You just have cause and effect backwards. People, websites, Wall street(and Jason) arent talking RIM's bumbling, thus making them look bad. Rim is bumbling and looks bad, and therefore people, websites, Wall street(and Jason) are talking about it. Its that simple.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 12/31/2011 6:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The ENTIRE smartphone world is on fire with negative news on RIM
This "entire" world is just a bunch of paid trolls like you and Mick. The rest of the world also notices such events as riots in Thailand caused by the delivery of new BB7s when crowds wanetd the phones so bad people were killing each other. But you paid trolls are paid to NOT notice such events. You ALWAYS ignore ANY positive news about RIM, this is why you are paid trolls. Not because RIM is losing US market share, got it now?


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/2/2012 8:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
U can only come up 2, One of which is a game released that already exists on other platforms, and the other is the trampling story?

So you say your too lazy to list 13 good points yet you arent too lazy to keep posting back again and again... Dood, you are so full of crap its not even funny. You can post what you wat, but you and I both know you are at the point where you know you were wrong and you just wont admit it. I am gonna go cash in my royalty checks for the last 4 months worth of Anti-RIM trolling and buy a startbuck coffee.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/2/2012 5:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
U can only come up 2, One of which is a game released that already exists on other platforms, and the other is the trampling story?
And JM can only come up with puny scraps of story about two drunk RIM employees? Is that you all paid anti-RIM trolls got eh? :)))


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/3/2012 1:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/3/2012 3:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
Rumors is all ya can laugh at these days stupid trolls. Got nothing else but rumors eh :)) LOL indeed


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/3/2012 4:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
Rumours and reports are not the same... Where do you see that word rumours? Nevermind... I dont even care.

Lets skip to the chase. What are you going to say when it is officially announced that these jokers were forcibly removed from their positions? (Notice, I said when, not if)


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/3/2012 5:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say that rumors had something common with reality in the end, which they do sometimes. It's just that you trolls always substitute one for another, this is always your issue.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/3/2012 6:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
So... What are you going to say when it is officially announced that these jokers were forcibly removed from their positions?


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/4/2012 6:14:57 AM , Rating: 2
Not a comment on the state of "rumours" numbnuts, what about the fact that the leadership is being forced out.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/4/2012 2:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
It is not yet, so maybe too early to dance troll? ;)


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/4/2012 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
I realize that. I am asking you what you are going to say WHEN it happens... "The board of directors at RIM are just anti RIM trolls" LOL


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/4/2012 7:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
what you are going to say if it happens
I'd say that rumors had something common with reality in the end, which they do sometimes. It's just that you trolls always substitute one for another, this is always your issue.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/4/2012 9:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
still avoiding the question, still in denial, still a jackass. I give .


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/4/2012 9:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
You asked what I would say and I answered what I would say, I don't know what more you want. You have problem reading or something?


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/5/2012 7:26:07 AM , Rating: 2
You commented on how rumours sometimes become true. The subject matter is RIM's board taking steps to boot Balsilie and Lazardis, not the generality of rumours and how sometimes they are true and sometimes not. It's fine, I know you are at the point where you arent willing to admit how wrong you were. I'll just wait until they do boot them, officially.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/5/2012 4:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
In fact the subject matter OFFICIALLY is a board review, will it result in booting them both, or one of them, or none of them - it's up to debate and specualtion, but only if you are not an anti-RIM troll.

Otherwise it's of course not up to debate, which you are a living example of.


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By retrospooty on 1/5/2012 8:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
wrong


RE: To compensate JM's usual anti-RIM bias
By Pirks on 1/6/2012 12:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
So you can predict the future eh? We'll see about that soon :P


By retrospooty on 1/6/2012 4:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
It really doesnt take a psychic to see whats going on here... Yes, we will see. I bet they dont celebrate new years 2013 as RIM CEO's.


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