RIM Sinks Further with $125M Fiscal Q4 Loss, Key Execs Leave
March 29, 2012 9:14 PM
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RIM has a rough quarter, three execs leave the company
It seems as though RIM just can't catch a break these days. The company has been
circling the drain in the consumer space
for the past few years. RIM was slow to react to Apple's iPhone launch in mid-2007 and figured that it had a strong enough position in the marketplace to weather any attacks from the smartphone upstart.
However, once the iPhone began gaining significant traction in subsequent generations -- along with the
stampede of Google Android-based smartphones
-- RIM found itself in serious trouble.
To add insult to injury, it was recently reported that RIM
lost its position as the top smartphone vendor in Canada
to Apple's iPhone. Not even
superheroes can save RIM now
as U.S. government agencies
bail on the company
for iOS and Android smartphones.
RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were mostly to blame for the company's laggard response to changing market conditions, and in late January,
they stepped aside to make room for Thorsten Heins as CEO
. Balsillie and Lazaridis, however, decided to stay on RIM's board of directors to keep an eye on Heins.
I. RIM Experiences Another Rough Quarter
Fiscal Q4 saw revenues slide 19% to $4.2 billion. The company reported a GAAP net loss of $125 million. In addition, RIM's shipments of smartphones plummeted 21% to 11.1 million units during the quarter. For comparison, Apple shipped 37 million iPhones in its last reported quarter.
A fire sale on PlayBook tablets resulted in a record high 500,000 units shipped for fiscal Q4
One bright side to the news is that BlackBerry PlayBook shipments were their highest point ever at 500,000 units. But even that good news has a big caveat -- RIM has been practically giving the units away, selling them for well below the original MSRP. The 16GB PlayBook was originally
launched at a price point of $499
, but most retailers
now sell the tablet for $199
or even lower. In fact, some retailers even sold the 64GB PlayBook for $199 for a short period of time (this model retailed for $699 at launch).
II. Top Execs Leave RIM, CEO Thorsten Heins Hopes to Turn the Company Around
With so much uncertainty now swirling around at RIM, Jim Balsillie announced that he is now leaving RIM's board of directors. "As I complete my retirement from RIM, I'm grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success," said Balsillie.
Jim Balsillie retires from RIM
In addition, David Yach (CTO of Software) and Jim Rowan (COO of Global Operations) are also leaving the company. "RIM would like to thank David Yach and Jim Rowan for their years of service and many contributions to RIM," said CEO Thorsten Heins. "We wish them well in their future pursuits."
For his part, Heins feels that there is still a lot of life left in RIM. "I have assessed many aspects of RIM's business during my first 10 weeks as CEO," said Heins. "I have confirmed that the Company has substantial strengths that can be further leveraged to improve our financial performance, including RIM's global network infrastructure, a strong enterprise offering and a large and growing base of more than 77 million subscribers."
Current RIM CEO Thorsten Heins
Heins goes on to once again tout the
upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform
and confirms that it will launch in the second half of 2012. However, Heins also acknowledges that RIM still has a lot of work to do.
"In addition to delivering the BlackBerry 10 platform and refocusing resources on RIM's key opportunities, such as BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and new integrated service offerings, we will also drive greater operational performance through a variety of initiatives including increased management accountability and process discipline," Heins continued.
RIM is also turning its attention away from the consumer space and is hoping to refocus its efforts on its enterprise business, joint ventures, and licensing the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
"We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people," said Heins. "Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."
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RE: At this point...
3/30/2012 12:57:18 PM
That was kind of an intended undertone to my post...ultimately I think any "partnership" with a company like SAP, IBM, Oracle, et al would most productively end with RIM getting acquired by said partner.
IBM probably makes the most sense, granted the current scope of their enterprise applications and hardware operations. But any could work. And more than those 3 - those are just the first few off the top of my head.
I don't see MS, Google, or Samsung being in that list - I don't see any of them particularly needing RIM. They'd just be purchasing an installed base for a potentially obsolete platform at that point.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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