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RIM finally grabs ahold of its future, dumps its past... sorta

The writing has been on the wall for months, but the co-CEO's of Research in Motion (RIM) are getting the boot. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have shared power at RIM for over twenty years and oversaw the company's dominance at the start of the smartphone revolution. In their place will be a new, solitary President and CEO: 54-year-old Thorsten Heins.

RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, pictured on the left [Source: Getty Images]
Heins joined RIM in 2007 and was previously the Waterloo, Ontario-based company's Chief Operating Officer. Before landing at RIM, Heins' most prominent role was a Chief Technology Officer for the communications division of Siemens.

I. Rearranging the Deck Chairs?
For those expecting a big change for RIM now that someone new is in the driver’s seat, you’ll likely be disappointed. According to The Globe and Mail, Heins has been groomed by both Balsillie and Lazaridis over the past few years to slide into the role as CEO; so it’s not like the company is getting an injection of fresh blood.
Lazaridis and Balsillie, who both will remain on RIM's board, had kind words for their protégé. “There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership,” said Lazaridis. “Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now.”
“I agree this is the right time to pass the baton to new leadership, and I have complete confidence in Thorsten, the management team and the company,” added Balsillie. “I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support.”

In addition, Heins has no plans to change RIM’s current course when it comes to its product development. “There’s no need for me to shake this company up or turn it upside down,” said Heins. “We are not at a point where we try to define a strategy, that’s done.”
Heins went on to tout RIM’s upcoming PlayBook 2.0 software and the delayed Blackberry 10 operating system. “BlackBerry 7 has been well received.  We are very excited about PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10.  The reception of our products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was encouraging.
“RIM earned its reputation by focusing relentlessly on the customer and delivering unique mobile communications solutions. We intend to build on this heritage to expand BlackBerry’s leadership position.”

II. From Prized Jewel to Falling Star 

Blackberry smartphones were the prized possessions of businessmen/businesswomen (and consumers) -- the smartphones were even lovingly referred to as Crackberries.

Former RIM Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis 

However, the company was not agile enough to stay ahead of the game when new competitors entered the fray; especially once Apple's iPhone hit the market in 2007. What once was a small Chihuahua nipping at the heels of RIM in the beginning turned into a snarling pit bull once the full onslaught of Android-based smartphones started flooding the market.
When it comes to its current U.S. market share, things look bleak for RIM. According to Nielsen, Android smartphones have 46.3 percent of the market, while Apple's iPhone family has 30 percent market share. RIM has fallen from its commanding lead in the sector just a few short years ago to a meager 14.9 percent.

The numbers are even more sobering when you look at a three-month snapshot of smartphone sales. Those number shows that 51.7 recent smartphone acquirers went for Android devices, 37 percent flocked to iPhones, and just 6 percent crawled to RIM's Blackberries.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, RIM, The Globe and Mail

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RE: It's about time
By JasonMick on 1/23/2012 9:43:37 AM , Rating: 1
RIM is no where near in trouble. The fact that they're no longer the leader does not diminish the fact that they're still selling just as many phones today as they did 5 years ago. The market has expanded quickly, but they haven't increased their sales by much. However, their assets have doubled and their earnings per share are slightly better for 2011 than they were in 2008, despite having taken a big hit for their launch of a poorly received tablet.

They have a good product. They're not walking away from their tablet. Personally, I think there's good value in their product at the moment. They have their own network. Their new products can run Android apps. I'm personally considering getting one for my wife who has been whining about getting one for years.

RIM is not in trouble. You're just not really looking at the big picture.

And I suppose Palm was "not in trouble" when their market share sunk to 4 percent?

And don't toss out the profitability excuse. Yes, RIM is profitable for now. But profitability requires sales. And RIM's sales are dropping like a rock. U.S. sales may have dropped first, but overseas sales will follow.

I would love to see RIM succeed as more competitors = better product, but you and Pirks are simply willfully ignorant of reality.

It's like the warning sirens are sounding, the ship is sinking, but you're still, dancing on the deck.

RE: It's about time
By Pirks on 1/23/2012 4:27:58 PM , Rating: 1
U.S. sales may have dropped first, but overseas sales will follow
Says who? The great never miscalculating predictor of the future? Say, is Mike Dell your relative by any chance? That guy also predicted demise of a certaing Californian company a while ago. I'd suggest you to saty away form him (first), and try to be more objective toward RIM (second). You troll RIM constantly, and you ignore ANY positive news about them on purpose. There's no other plausible explanation on why you would ignore all the great stuff RIM shown at CES. Stop being Android whore, 'cause if you are not, you certainly look like one. Your assurance that international sales or RIM devices must follow the fate of the US sales is laughable. You can't predict the future, you can only troll about it, unfortunately.

Once you stop ignoring positive news about RIM I'll stop accusing you of being an Android whore.

RE: It's about time
By Pirks on 1/23/2012 4:38:08 PM , Rating: 1
the warning sirens are sounding, the ship is sinking, but you're still, dancing on the deck
I'm watching from the sides how the ship's crew is fixing the hole in the hull and trying to pump the water out to save the ship while you run around yelling "ABANDON THE SHIP!!! US SALES IS THE ONLY INDICATOR!!! INTERNATIONAL MARKETS DON'T MATTER!!! BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!"

You think your unobjective ignorance of any good RIM news looks smart? Think again Jason.

RE: It's about time
By wordsworm on 1/23/2012 7:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
Their sales haven't dropped. Why don't you do a little research before making false claims? There used to be few smart phone sales and many regular phone sales. Those few smart phone sales RIM dominated. Now there are many smart phone sales, and they don't dominate. But they're still selling just as many phones today as they did five years ago.

You are just looking at the pie figure and coming to a baseless conclusion. A quarter billion dollar profit is nothing to sneeze at.

RE: It's about time
By Pirks on 1/23/2012 8:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
You are just looking at the pie figure and coming to a baseless conclusion
Exactly! I noticed this too, a long time ago but since Mick is on Google payroll or something... you know this kind of "objective" news reporting is typical for him. Do not expect an objective slice of news about RIM from this Android loving fanboy. He would post EVERY negative piece of news about RIM he could find on the net, and always ignore ANY positive news about them. Such as, for example, news of what RIM has shown at the CES a week ago. I guess such devotion to the cause must be nicely rewarded, by some extra $$$ he gets for doing this.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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