Technology StocksBB: BlackBerry (fka RIMM: Research in Motion)

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To: stockman_scott who wrote (68)6/14/2011 11:26:04 PM
From: engineer
   of 1349
How long can RIMM continue to set new 52 week lows. they have set one just about every day for the last 3 months. From 70 to 35 in 3 months.

There are so many troubling things with RIMM right now. they are still a one stop shop with no new form factors, no real hard industrial design changes or new features. No software upgrades for existing models, just about no progress while they play with playbook, a BIG diversion from the smartphone market. I do NOT want to carry some other device along with my blackberry just to accept a Linkedin invitation or to follow a quick email link. So they pass on the next form factor and go with their own OS and own apps.

they are spending all their efforts on this new Playbook, yet the playbook is not selling.

they did not go to CTIA, even though they were less than a month away from Launch of hte playbook. I saw almost no Blackberry things at CTIA at all.

The browser on the present offered models is still woefully inadequate and does not allow the user to access much of anything without some net error. Why there is no software update for these things is beyond me.

the patents expire soon and there is no sign of anything new with the one trick pony. the email empire will come down, as there were at least 5 new competitors at CTIA which had both device independence and email server independence.

the two incumbent CEOS have been very quiet for way too long and there is no plan on how they will innovate out of hte flaming jet nose dive the stock is in now. We have heard no good forward looking plans which can turn this around. Just more bad news.

now this week they have gotten a few class action suits for the 50% haircut, the board has opened the vote to spearate the chairman from the CEo role.

Somebody has to step up and take the heat and make a move. Any move.

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/15/2011 12:40:05 PM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
Secrets From Apple's Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity

The Wall Street Journal
JUNE 15, 2011

Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple's success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

A look at confidential training manuals, a recording of a store meeting and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees reveal some of Apple's store secrets. They include: intensive control of how employees interact with customers, scripted training for on-site tech support and consideration of every store detail down to the pre-loaded photos and music on demo devices.

More people now visit Apple's 326 stores in a single quarter than the 60 million who visited Walt Disney Co.'s four biggest theme parks last year, according to data from Apple and the Themed Entertainment Association. Apple's annual retail sales per square foot have soared to $4,406—excluding online sales, according to investment bank Needham & Co. Add in online sales, which include iTunes, and the number jumps to $5,914. That's far higher than the sales per square foot and online sales of jeweler Tiffany & Co. ($3,070), luxury retailer Coach Inc. ($1,776), and electronics retailer Best Buy Co. ($880), according to estimates.

With their airy interiors and attractive lighting, Apple's stores project a carefree and casual atmosphere. Yet Apple keeps a tight lid on how they operate. Employees are ordered to not discuss rumors about products, technicians are forbidden from prematurely acknowledging widespread glitches and anyone caught writing about the Cupertino, Calif., company on the Internet is fired, according to current and former employees.

Behind Apple stores is Ron Johnson, 52, who J.C. Penney Co. confirmed Tuesday would become its new CEO in November.

Apple's retail success is fueled to a large extent by demand for the company's products. Retail analysts say many of Apple's advantages over rivals such as Best Buy are technical: It sells a single brand, has far fewer products and has only a few hundred stores compared to Best Buy's more than 4,000. As the company continues to expand, some analysts expect it to face more pressure to consistently execute good customer service. Some former employees say they have already seen the quality of Apple retail staff decline as the retail network has expanded and has fewer enthusiastic fans to choose from.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Still, Apple is considered a pioneer in many aspects of customer service and store design. According to several employees and training manuals, sales associates are taught an unusual sales philosophy: not to sell, but rather to help customers solve problems. "Your job is to understand all of your customers' needs—some of which they may not even realize they have," one training manual says. To that end, employees receive no sales commissions and have no sales quotas.

"You were never trying to close a sale. It was about finding solutions for a customer and finding their pain points," said David Ambrose, 26 years old, who worked at an Apple store in Arlington, Va., until 2007.

Apple lays its "steps of service" out in the acronym APPLE, according to a 2007 employee training manual reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that is still in use.

"Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome," "Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs," "Present a solution for the customer to take home today," "Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns," and "End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return."

Apple's control of the customer experience extends down to the minutest details. The store's confidential training manual tells in-store technicians exactly what to say to customers it describes as emotional: "Listen and limit your responses to simple reassurances that you are doing so. 'Uh-huh' 'I understand,' etc."

Apple employees who are six minutes late in their shifts three times in six months may be let go. While there are no sales quotas, employees must sell service packages with devices, according to former employees. Those who don't sell enough are re-trained or moved to another position, depending on the store.

Many retailers strive for good customer service and attractive store designs, analysts say, but few go to Apple's lengths in orchestrating every detail. Department store chain Nordstrom Inc., for example, provides little customer-service training and expects sales staff to learn on the job. With respect to store design, "most retailers take a prototype and roll it out," in contrast to Apple, which constantly evolves its stores' look and feel, said Brian Dyches, president of industry group Retail Design Institute.

Apple's success with its stores stands out at a time when many retailers have struggled. In 2009, when retail sales declined 2.4%—the first down year in several decades, according to retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners—Apple's retail sales rose roughly 7%. In 2010, Apple's retail sales, excluding online, jumped 70% to $11.7 billion, or about 15% of its revenues of $76.3 billion, handily exceeding the overall retail industry's sales growth of 4.5%.

Other retailers have tried to copy everything from Apple's in-house tech support to store layout. Best Buy acquired computer repair service Geek Squad in October 2002, a year after Apple opened its first store, but it has failed to reinvigorate its business. Best Buy's profit margin hovers at about 1% before taxes and excluding online sales, estimates Customer Growth Partners. In comparison, Needham & Co. puts Apple stores' profit margin at 26.9%.

When Microsoft Corp. opened its first branded store in Arizona in 2009, it took many of its architectural and customer-service cues from Apple, including hardwood floors, wide open spaces, free classes and one-on-one trainers. While Microsoft discloses few details about its retail business, analysts say profits are weak, in part because it is largely reselling computers by other companies whereas Apple sells its own devices.

Best Buy didn't respond to requests for comment. Microsoft declined to comment.

Though the stores are now one of Apple's offensive weapons, they were born as a defensive move. When Mr. Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 after being ousted 11 years earlier, the company was struggling. Its Macintosh computers were largely out of view at big box retailers like CompUSA, now owned by Systemax Inc.

Fixing Apple's retail strategy was a priority for Mr. Jobs because Apple's brand had become so weak that mass retailers refused to stock Macintoshes. While Apple was developing new products, Mr. Jobs knew they would have little impact if consumers couldn't find them, say people familiar with the situation at the time.

Apple soon experimented with having its own showroom inside mass retailers such as CompUSA. But Mr. Jobs realized it was impossible to control the experience at those retailers, these people say. Building Apple's own retail stores was a natural progression.

In 1999, Mr. Jobs recruited Millard Drexler, then president of Gap Inc., to join Apple's board and advise the company on retail strategy. With his input, Apple hired Mr. Johnson, Target's executive behind its signature line of designer household items, to run the retail business in 2000. Mr. Johnson is credited with developing the stores' in-house Genius Bar tech support and engineering their detailed customer service approach. Analysts said Tuesday that while his loss is significant, Apple's retail efforts likely have matured enough to succeed without him.

Many members of Apple's initial retail team came from Gap, which was viewed as a model because of its hip image and success with its branded stores—so many that people joked about working at "Gapple."

It was Mr. Drexler's idea to build a prototype store in a warehouse on Cupertino's Bubb Road, near Apple headquarters, say people familiar with the project. There, Apple masterminded a store layout that staged its products in a way that highlighted how they could be used, rather than the conventional retail method of stacking products by category.

People familiar with the planning say Mr. Johnson came up with the idea for an area dedicated for technical support called the Genius Bar. Apple's hottest products were placed in the front of the store while a dedicated section for kids was furnished with squishy balls they could sit on while playing with children's software programs loaded onto iMacs.

"People don't just want to buy personal computers anymore, they want to know what they can do with them," said Mr. Jobs in a video tour of the first Apple store.

Apple spent a year testing its concept before it opened its first two stores, in Virginia's high-end Tysons' Corner shopping mall and in Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif., in May 2001. A little over two years later, it had opened over 70 stores in locations such as Chicago, Honolulu and Tokyo.

At the time, electronics stores tended to resemble warehouses stuffed with accessories, pamphlets and cords. Apple, by contrast, chose an open plan with a clutter-free look, using natural materials like wood, glass, stone and stainless steel.

Wilhelm Oehl, a principal at San Francisco-based design firm Eight Inc., which has helped Apple with its retail designs, says Mr. Jobs taught them to constantly question themselves on whether their decisions make "the most sense."

Over the past decade, Apple's stores have become even more dramatic, from a location inside the Louvre in Paris to one located under a 40-foot-high glass cylinder in Shanghai.

Working for an Apple store can be a competitive process usually requiring at least two rounds of interviews. Applicants are questioned about their leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as their enthusiasm for Apple products, say several current and former Apple store employees. While most retailers have to seek out staff, retail experts say many Apple stores are flooded with applicants.

Once hired, employees are trained extensively. Recruits are drilled in classes that apply Apple's principles of customer service. Back on the sales floor, new hires must shadow more experienced colleagues and aren't allowed to interact with customers on their own until they're deemed ready. That can be a couple of weeks or even longer.

Harry Friedman, who runs retail consulting firm the Friedman Group, says it isn't unusual for specialty retailers that care about service to invest in similar levels of staff training. But Apple employees are typically fans of the company's products and are willing to learn, intrinsically making its training more effective than any others, he says.

Keith Bruce, 23, who worked at an Apple store in Virginia for three-and-a-half years until December 2009, says he was told the sales floor was a stage where he should focus on things he can do, rather than things he can't. If a customer mispronounced an item name, he was forbidden from correcting them because that would make them feel patronized.

Candidates for "Genius" tech support staff undergo more training in facilities world-wide, then are certified and regularly tested on their skills. Training extends even to language. Former Geniuses say they were told to say "as it turns out" rather than "unfortunately" to sound less negative when they are unable to solve a tech problem. People familiar with the matter say Genius appointments are often triple booked, so they are always swamped.

Apple store staffers are paid about $9 to $15 per hour at the sales level, and up to about $30 per hour as Geniuses, comparable to other retailers. Some Apple store employees, who aspired to move to a corporate position, say they left when they realized that such opportunities were rare. One employee in San Francisco is even trying to unionize and has set up a website and Facebook page demanding higher wages.

Apple now appears to be eyeing business customers at its stores. The company built specially designed "Briefing Rooms" into some stores and, earlier this year, rolled out a service called "Joint Venture" to provide a separate program for business customers. In a recent meeting for retail managers, Mr. Johnson called these services among the "pillars for retail for the next decade," according to a person who attended.

What hasn't changed is Mr. Jobs's interest in the stores. He has provided input on details down to the type of security cables used to keep products leashed to the tables, according to a person familiar with the matter. When the CEO grappled with a liver transplant two years ago, a person who visited him at the time said Mr. Jobs was poring over blueprints for future Apple stores.

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/15/2011 12:47:43 PM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
RIMM is in some serious trouble...I have a Blackberry Bold through Verizon and was forced to upgrade to the new RIMM operating system -- and it's not nearly as intuitive and easy to use as the older v.5 operating system...The Verizon stores I've talked with in Chicago and up in Michigan say they have received many complaints about the way RIMM handled the operating system upgrade --> Only large corporate customers have the ability to choose if they want to go the new version...The Verizon stores tell me that the sales of new Blackberrys are falling off dramatically and they now sell so many more iPhones and Android Phones each week...and Blackberry's new tablet computer isn't getting any serious traction either -- the current version just can't compete with Apple's iPad or the new Samsung tablet which Verizon sells right now.

It's pretty clear that RIMM has failed to re-invent the company and they have also antagonized some satisfied customers like me (and I'll most likely be switching to a new iPhone when I'm elgible for an upgrade this fall)...RIMM's severe drop in market share and market cap is not surprising given the way they have run the company.

RIM shares have lost more than 40 percent of their value since a February peak, and now trade around five times its own earnings forecast and less than six times the Street consensus.

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/15/2011 12:56:18 PM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
Research in Motion: Did PlayBook R&D jeopardize its superphones?

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/16/2011 5:03:31 PM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
RIM Sales Forecast Misses Estimates on Lack of New BlackBerrys

By Hugo Miller

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, forecast second-quarter revenue and profit that missed analysts’ estimates and said it will cut jobs as a lack of new models prompts consumers to buy rival devices.

Profit this quarter will be 75 cents to $1.05 a share, RIM said today in a statement. Analysts predicted $1.40, excluding some costs, according to a Bloomberg survey. Revenue will be $4.2 billion to $4.8 billion in the three months through August, RIM said, compared with the average estimate of $5.47 billion. The company also cut its full-year profit forecast.

RIM is losing market share in the U.S. to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and handsets with Google Inc.’s Android software, in part because it hasn’t introduced a major new BlackBerry model since August. Cheaper Google phones are also making inroads into Latin America, Asia and Europe, threatening the popularity of less expensive BlackBerry models like the Curve.

“RIM remains caught in a vacuum near-term as it is forced to discount its aging smartphone portfolio in order to move volume and clear inventory,” Ehud Gelblum, an analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, said in a note before the results. “New products don’t kick in for another one to two quarters to absorb some of the margin pressure” from discounted phones, he said. Gelblum has an “equal-weight” rating on the stock.

RIM has come under increasing scrutiny from investors after its stock slumped, the company lost phone market share and its new PlayBook tablet computer, a rival to Apple’s iPad, was criticized by technology columnists. Last week, investor Northwest & Ethical Investments LP called for RIM to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive officer and to name an independent board member to the chairman’s post.

The company said it shipped 500,000 PlayBooks last quarter after starting sales on April 19. Analysts predicted sales of 350,000 units, the average of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Market-Share Slump

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, rose 16 cents to $35.33 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has lost 39 percent this year.

Last month, RIM unveiled a new version of its Bold phone with the physical keyboard loved by BlackBerry users and the touch screen that made the iPhone popular. RIM said sales will start this summer.

RIM’s share of U.S. smartphone subscribers dropped 4.7 percentage points to 25.7 percent in April from three months earlier, according to ComScore Inc.

Net income last quarter was $695 million, or $1.33 a share, compared with $769 million, or $1.38, a year earlier.

RIM shipped 13.2 million BlackBerrys last quarter. Analysts predicted 13.6 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at

Last Updated: June 16, 2011 16:37 EDT

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To: stockman_scott who wrote (73)6/17/2011 9:30:13 AM
From: Eric L
   of 1349
RIM (RIMM) Fiscal Q1 2012 Earnings ...

... for the three months ended May 28, 2011.

>> Research In Motion Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2012 Results and Revises Full Year Guidance: Announces Plans to Streamline Operations and Accelerate New Product Introductions; Board Of Directors Approves Share Repurchase Program

Research In Motion Limited
Waterloo, ON
June 16, 2011

Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today reported first quarter results for the three months ended May 28, 2011 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP).

• Revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 grew 16% over the same quarter last year
• International revenue1 in Q1 grew 67% year over year
• Gross margin in the quarter was approximately 44%, slightly higher than expected due to product mix
• RIM launched the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in North America and shipped approximately 500,000 units in the first quarter

Q1 Fiscal 2012 Results:

RIM shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and approximately 500,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets.

Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.9 billion, down 12% from $5.6 billion in the previous quarter and up 16% from $4.2 billion in the same quarter of last year. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 78% for hardware revenue, 20% for service and 2% for software and other revenue. During the quarter,

Net income for the quarter was $695 million, or $1.33 per share diluted, compared with net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share diluted, in the prior quarter and net income of $769 million, or $1.38 per share diluted, in the same quarter last year.

The total of cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments was $2.9 billion as of May 28, 2011, compared to $2.7 billion at the end of the previous quarter, an increase of approximately $170 million from the prior quarter. Cash flow from operations in Q1 was approximately $1 billion. Uses of cash included intangible asset additions of approximately $560 million, capital expenditures of approximately $220 million and business acquisitions of approximately $30 million. . ... <snip rest: see full text at link> ... ###

>> RIM Shares Plummet on Weak Results, Outlook

By Alastair Sharp
Retrers (Toronto)
Friday June 17, 2011

Research In Motion's (RIM.TO) (RIMM.O) quarterly profit dropped and revenue missed its own limp forecast, forcing the BlackBerry maker to slash its outlook and sending its shares down 15 percent on Thursday.

Facing intense pressure from Apple (AAPL.O) and Google (GOOG.O) in the smartphone market, RIM also warned that its latest models would not hit U.S. stores until well into the valuable back-to-school shopping season. The delay will likely add to the disappointment felt by investors after RIM's botched launch of its PlayBook tablet computer this spring.

"The company is going into the abyss of a transition, and even if they get a new model, it's a new model on the old platform," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis, one of many who has criticized RIM's product development pipeline.

RIM has promised smartphones next year running on its new QNX platform, now featured in the PlayBook, but only after it releases a series of devices with an upgraded version of the current operating system. But even those upgrades to its Bold business workhorse, new Torch and Storm models won't go on sale until late August, RIM said on Thursday.

That delay pushed RIM to forecast shipments of between 11 million and 12.5 million smartphones in the current quarter, sharply lower than the more than 14 million eyed by analysts.

RIM shipped 13.2 million BlackBerrys in the three months to May 28, missing its own estimate.

It shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets in the six weeks after its April launch, exceeding the average analyst forecast of 366,000. Even so, the number represents a small fraction of Apple's iPad sales.

RIM, once a byword for corporate mobile communications, has lost allure as Apple's iPhone and later Google's Android operating system changed the rules of the game.

Job Cuts

Up against that competition, analysts had thought it was only a matter of time before RIM abandoned a $7.50 a share earnings outlook for the year to late March 2012. On Thursday, it did just that, recalibrating expectations to between $5.25 and $6 a share.

In a tacit acknowledgment that it needs to do more to play catch-up, the company said it plans to cut jobs and focus its resources on accelerating its product pipeline. The company did not disclose the number of job cuts, but indicated that it intends to begin this reorganization immediately.

"RIM is in this situation because its phones aren't competitive and they're not competitive because they've fallen behind on development and product cycle," said Charter Equity analyst Edward Snyder. "Now they need to accelerate the models to market, but at the same time they are cutting staff."

To help boost its sagging share price, RIM intends to buy back up to 5 percent of its outstanding shares and said the board did not expect that the spending would have a negative impact its growth plan. Its full year forecast for earnings per share did not calculate any impact of the share buyback.

By The Numbers

RIM expects earnings in the current quarter of between 75 cents and $1.05, sharply lower than the already pessimistic average view of $1.40. It sees revenue of between $4.2 billion (2.5 billion pounds) and $4.8 billion (2.9 billion pounds).

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company's net profit dropped to $695 million, or $1.33 a share, on revenue of $4.9 billion. Analysts had expected profit of $1.32 a share on revenue of $5.1 billion.

A year ago RIM earned $1.38 a share on revenue of $4.24 billion.

The company said its gross margins, among the highest in the smartphone industry, will likely slip around 5 percentage points to some 39 percent in the current quarter.

Shares of RIM -- which reported its results after the close -- fell to nearly a five-year low during the regular session after the company said a senior executive had taken medical leave.

RIM shares fell more than 15 percent further to $29.84 in trade after the closing bell in the United States. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (74)6/17/2011 10:33:59 AM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
Can Things Get Worse for Research in Motion and Its Technology Supply Chain?

We Think So & Here Are 10 Reasons Why. Downgrade RIMM & CLS to Sell, Lowering Flextronics & Jabil Target Prices

17 June 2011 ¦ 52 pages

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/17/2011 5:29:53 PM
From: stockman_scott
1 Recommendation   of 1349
Everything That's Wrong With Research In Motion -- An Ex-Employee Tells All

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To: engineer who wrote (69)6/20/2011 1:07:00 PM
From: stockman_scott
   of 1349
RIM CEOs Insist Outsiders Don’t Get It, but Are We Really the Ones Confused?

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To: stockman_scott who wrote (77)6/20/2011 5:12:54 PM
From: engineer
   of 1349

I agree with you on your posts. We may be confused, but it is the RIMM CEOS job to unconfuse us. So if they have a plan, they need to outline this with the analysts and the investor community. To not do this and watch their stock go down by 65% is a major problem.

Sanjay took over MOT and within 6 mknths made an epic change. MOT was in the same position when he took over. Yet another 20th version of a lousy flip phone and one mess of a smartphone (Q phone). He jumped up, evaluated, made hte change and got it going.

To have a CEO who has a new tablet and does not even take advantage of the CTIa to show it off, then flops it into the market is strange at least.

We may not get it, but we need to get it. This is your job, not stand back and say that everyone does not udnerstand them.

Make some SWEEPING changes. Hire someone out of hte box to revamp what htey do, shake up the status quo, get the mojo going both inside and outside hte company, and invoke change.

Just putting in a more powerful processor and waiting for 6 more months while they figure out how to adapt OSX into it is not going to cut it. by the time they do this, they will have lost user base.

And these CNBC clowns are recoomending buying RIMM on the DIP. IMHO the DIP is far from over yet.

If Sanjay wanted to shake the industry up, he should buy RIMM AND NOK and combine into the largest phone company out there with a force....

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