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

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From: Eric L1/23/2012 8:55:27 AM
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Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis Out; Thorsten Heins In ...

>> RIM Replaces CEOs as It Seeks Answer to Apple

Scott Moritz and Hugo Miller
January 23, 2012

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) shook up its top management, replacing co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who guided the BlackBerry maker for two decades and struggled to compete against Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Thorsten Heins, a chief operating officer who joined RIM four years ago from Siemens AG, will replace the pair in the CEO post effective immediately, RIM said in a statement. Director Barbara Stymiest will take over as chairman, as the two also cede their co-chairmen positions. Lazaridis, who founded RIM in 1984, will become vice chairman; Balsillie will remain a board member without any operational role.

The shakeup comes after Balsillie and Lazaridis showed little sign of being able to stop Apple and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s gains as the Silicon Valley companies remade the mobile-computing market with devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM’s stock tumbled 75 percent last year as sales slumped, and the two men, both 50, drew investor criticism for releasing products without the features necessary to compete.

“Heins is a product execution guy, he’s not a visionary,” said Ehud Gelblum, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley. “Heins has to give people a reason why they need a BlackBerry. It’s going to be very difficult for him.”

Plunging Sales

RIM, once the most valuable company in Canada, fell 3.2 percent to $17 at the close in New York Jan. 20, giving it a market capitalization of $8.9 billion. In German composite trading today, the stock climbed 4.2 percent to the equivalent of $17.90 as of 12:52 p.m. in Frankfurt.

RIM has lost 88 percent since its peak in 2008, when soaring BlackBerry sales pushed its market value to more than $80 billion. Last quarter, sales fell about 6 percent to $5.17 billion.

Lazaridis, Balsillie and Stymiest all said the decision to step down was the men’s own and not a response to outside pressure. The shift is a result of the company’s evolution and the introduction of new technologies that will give RIM more competitive products, Lazaridis said.

“This marks the beginning of a new era for RIM,” he said in an interview. “It was a bit of bumpy ride. We’ve done it as best we could. Thorsten is the ideal choice. He has the right skills at the right time.”

RIM’s share of the global smartphone market sank to 11 percent in the third quarter from 15 percent a year earlier, according to research firm Gartner Inc., stung by customer defections to the iPhone, and handsets that use Google Inc.’s Android software, including Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy.

‘Leaderless Company’

The company faced a Jan. 31 deadline to report the findings of a review of its management structure. RIM agreed to the review to fend off an effort to overhaul management by investor Northwest & Ethical Investments LP, which had proposed the company split the chairman and CEO roles.

“RIM had its era, but now it seems very hard to gain back market share in the smartphone market even if the top managers are changed,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million in Tokyo at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “The iPhone and Android are well established in the market.”

Still, other investors led by Jaguar Financial Corp. (JFC) kept pushing for leadership changes and called for RIM to divide into separate companies, seek a merger or sell itself. Investors owning 8 percent of RIM supported the effort, Jaguar has said.
Takeover Approaches

RIM is hurt by “management dominance and a lack of board oversight, which leads to a leaderless company,” Jaguar CEO Vic Alboini said in October. “The timing is very ripe now for a new CEO to step in.”

Speculation that the drop in RIM’s value will lead to takeover approaches drove the company’s stock to one-day gains of at least 5 percent more than 10 times since the beginning of August. RIM didn’t put itself up for sale or consider a sale, according to a person familiar with the matter, who couldn’t comment for attribution because the information isn’t public. Tenille Kennedy, a spokeswoman for RIM, said the company’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation.

RIM’s market-share slump in the past two years was driven by the U.S., where consumers were quick to adopt Apple and Android devices. RIM, which dominated the U.S. smartphone market before Apple and Google entered it, had its share of sales drop to 16.6 percent in the three months ending in November, according to ComScore Inc. Google’s Android boosted its share to 46.9 percent and Apple increased to 28.7 percent.

‘Secular Loser’

The BlackBerry, which gained popularity among bankers, lawyers, executives and politicians for its reliability, has also began losing its hold of the corporate market as more companies allow workers to use iPhones and Android handsets.

The BlackBerry is “a secular loser to Apple and Android devices,” Ittai Kidron, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, told investors in a note last month. There are few signs RIM can recover as “execution issues remain a drag,” he said.

As the U.S. market evolved, RIM decided to place more emphasis on growing international sales, Balsillie said in an interview. While sales in Asia and Latin America rose, they weren’t enough to offset the slump in North America, resulting in RIM’s first revenue drop years in nine years in September.

“The biggest dilemma was the U.S. market went down the path of mobile high-end computing on a 4G platform, and our products were suited for a global marketplace,” Balsillie said. “The greatest dilemma was resources and capacities, where do you put them. We couldn’t do both.”

Former Siemens Manager

“They’re going to have to run fast,” Rene Schuster, CEO of Telefonica SA’s German unit, said in an interview in Munich. “They have a good brand. The question is: are they now able to bring new innovation to the market so that when a consumer looks at the choice they’re going to pick RIM? It’s going to be a challenge for them.”

With Heins, 54, RIM is banking on an executive who has remained largely in Balsillie’s and Lazaridis’s shadow. In July, he was named to the enlarged position of chief operating officer for product and sales, overseeing engineering, hardware and software.

In an interview, Heins cited RIM’s 75 million subscribers, “strong balance sheet” and negligible debt as advantages. He said the company’s focus on its own software will yield results in the long term. About 18 months ago, the company considered and decided against adopting another operating system, he said.

“Jim and Mike’s strategy of not sacrificing long-term value for short-term gain is the right one,” said Heins, who worked at Siemens for more than 20 years before joining RIM. “I share that value.”

Product Delays

RIM’s strategy of relying on its own software mimics that of Apple. Other handset makers, such as Samsung, HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI), have boosted sales by using the Android software Google gives away for free.

Last year’s promotion of Heins, a German national originally from Munich, was part of a plan to accelerate product development. Still, the company’s missteps since have included delays with a new operating system the company is betting on to challenge Apple and Google. In December, RIM said the first BlackBerrys based on the new system, called BB10, won’t be available until the latter part of this year.

The company also suffered a nine-month delay in getting e- mail onto the PlayBook tablet. The technical difficulties and marketing missteps have left PlayBook shipments at a little more than 1 percent of those for Apple’s market-leading iPad

Tablets Fight

Heins’s challenge isn’t just fighting Apple and the Android-camp led by Google, which dominate the smartphone and tablet markets. He will also need to fend off competition from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which is working with carriers such as AT&T Inc. and device manufacturers including Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) to gain ground in the smartphone market.

RIM’s PlayBook meanwhile is now just one of dozens of tablets seeking to gain share from Apple’s iPad. Inc. (AMZN)’s newest such device hit store shelves on Nov. 14 and quickly surpassed more-established tablets from Samsung Electronics Co. and Barnes & Noble Inc.

Lazaridis founded RIM when he was a senior at the University of Waterloo in Canada. The company began working on wireless products three years later, developing a pager that evolved into what is known as the BlackBerry. Balsillie, a 1989 graduate of Harvard Business School, joined RIM in 1992.

‘Here to Fight’

In addition to his vice-chairman role, Lazaridis will run the board’s innovation committee. He said he will work closely with Heins and provide strategic counsel.

Lazaridis also said he plans to boost his RIM stake by $50 million. Balsillie said he will remain a significant shareholder. They each own about 5 percent of the company now.

Stymiest, a former Royal Bank of Canada executive, became a RIM director in 2007. She previously was a partner at Ernst & Young LLP and chief financial officer of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. RIM will also name Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. CEO Prem Watsa a director, bringing the number of board members to 11.

As part of the overhaul, Heins said he will also seek a new marketing chief for the company. Balsillie had taken over the those duties after RIM’s first marketing chief, Keith Pardy, left in March, less than two years after joining the company.

“We are in a competitive world, but we believe in our own strength,” Heins said. “I’m here to fight.” ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L3/30/2012 10:10:13 AM
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RIM Q4 F&2012 & FY2012 Earnings ...

>> Research In Motion Reports Year-End and Fourth Quarter Results for Fiscal 2012

Research In Motion Limited Earnings Release
March 29, 2012
Waterloo, ON

Research In Motion Limited (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today reported fourth quarter results for the three months and fiscal year ended March 3, 2012 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated).


$2.1 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments at the end of the quarter, which increased by approximately $610 million in the quarter Cash flow from operations of approximately $1.1 billion, up from approximately $900 million in Q3 Revenue of $4.2 billion, down 19% from the third quarter GAAP net loss in Q4 of $125 million or $0.24 per share diluted; adjusted net income of $418 million or $0.80 per share diluted BlackBerry smartphone shipments of 11.1 million in Q4, down 21% from Q3 RIM to discontinue providing specific quantitative guidance RIM provides update on organizational changes. ... <snip>.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.2 billion, down 19% from $5.2 billion in the previous quarter and down 25% from $5.6 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2011. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 68% for hardware, 27% for service and 5% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and over 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

“I have assessed many aspects of RIM’s business during my first 10 weeks as CEO. 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. I’m very excited about the prospects for the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is on track for the latter part of calendar 2012. Notwithstanding these strengths and opportunities, the business challenges we face over the next several quarters are significant and I am taking the necessary steps to address them,” said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO of Research In Motion. “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. In parallel, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of strategic opportunities including partnerships and joint ventures, licensing, and other ways to leverage RIM’s assets and maximize value for our stakeholders.”

The Company’s GAAP net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 was $125 million, or $0.24 per share diluted, compared with GAAP net income of $265 million, or $0.51 per share diluted, in the prior quarter and GAAP net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share diluted, in the same quarter of fiscal 2011. Adjusted net income for the fourth quarter was $418 million, or $0.80 per share diluted. Adjusted net income and adjusted. diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter exclude the impact of pre-tax charges of $355 million which are predominantly non-cash ($346 million after tax) for the impairment of goodwill and $267 million ($197 million after-tax) for an inventory provision taken primarily on certain BlackBerry7 products. ... <snip>.

Fiscal 2012 Results

Revenue for the fiscal year ended March 3, 2012 was $18.4 billion, down 7% from $19.9 billion in fiscal 2011. The Company’s GAAP net income for fiscal 2012 was $1.2 billion, or $2.22 per share diluted, compared with GAAP net income of $3.4 billion, or $6.34 per share diluted in fiscal 2011. Adjusted net income for fiscal 2012 was $2.2 billion, or $4.20 per share diluted. Adjusted net income and adjusted diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2012 exclude the adjustments described above as well as the impact of pre-tax charges of $54 million ($40 million after tax) to revenue related to the service interruption experienced in the third quarter, $485 million ($356 million after tax) for the PlayBook inventory provision taken in the third quarter and $125 million ($96 million after tax) for the Company’s cost optimization program that was implemented in the second quarter of fiscal 2012. ... <snip>.

Change to Guidance Practices and Outlook:

The company expects continued pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013. Due to a desire to focus on long term value creation and the current business environment, RIM will no longer provide specific quantitative guidance. Some of the factors contributing to this include, ongoing weakness in the Company’s U.S. smartphone business, an increased focus on selling BlackBerry 7 smartphones to grow the subscriber base in advance of the BlackBerry 10 launch, increasing competitive pressure in the Company’s international markets and the introduction of certain new lower tier service pricing initiatives and a higher mix of sales coming from entry level products.

Organizational and Board of Directors Update:

Jim Balsillie, former Co-CEO of the Company, has resigned as a Director on the Company’s Board.

“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 Jim Balsillie.

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at RIM, I would like to thank Jim for his 20 years of service to RIM,” said Barb Stymiest, Chair of RIM’s Board of Directors. “His energy, drive and enthusiasm helped build one of the most successful technology companies of our time.”

In addition, David Yach will be retiring from his role as CTO, Software after 13 years with the Company and after 4 years with the company and following an open dialogue on the future of global operations, Jim Rowan, COO, Global Operations, has decided to pursue other interests. The Company is currently undertaking a search to hire a single COO with responsibilities to run the Company’s operations.

“RIM would like to thank David Yach and Jim Rowan for their years of service and many contributions to RIM,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. “We wish them well in their future pursuits.” ... <snip rest> ###

- Eric -

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From: Lahcim Leinad3/31/2012 8:02:45 AM
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Nokia, Microsoft talk of RIM bid had Windows on BlackBerrys | Electronista

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From: TimF3/31/2012 11:32:11 AM
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RIM CEO announces purges, wants to recapture love of enterprise IT

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From: Eric L4/2/2012 2:36:07 PM
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Tero Kuittinen on RIMs Miss ...

>> The Gruesome Context of RIM's Miss

Tero Kuittinen
Forbes | Tech

RIMM’s revenue crashed from November quarter’s $5.2B to February quarter’s $4.2B. That is the key figure from tonight’s report. It misses the consensus by $300M – a shortfall that is actually substantial considering analysts tried their best to come in low enough.

The company shipped just 11.1 M phones, and is now staring at sub-10 M level during the summer quarters.

Big misses are not rare in the handset industry. But they are exceptionally rare coming basically 6 months after a major new product launch wave. This is the sweet spot of modern mobile handset product cycle. New phones ramp up in 3 months and they start facing substantial price cuts after 8 months in the market. But at the magical 6-month mark, new models should be hitting an optimal combination of substantial volumes at fat ASP levels.

It has been obvious that something has gone horribly wrong with the latest wave of RIM’s Bold and Torch model launches. The Torch just faced a 27% price cut in India. Now we know just how hard they flopped out of the gate. The relatively robust November quarter sales numbers were apparently achieved through stuffing distributors – the February sales data reveals the grim truth about the follow-through.

The new Blackberry generation looms somewhere in the hazy horizon of 2012. It may be too late – AT&T and Verizon are very likely contemplating pulling the plug on their old ally. That may explain AT&T’s apparently strong marketing commitment to the Lumia launch and a new wave of Windows models. Even with its dubious prospects, Windows may now be a safer bet than Blackberry. ###

- Eric -

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From: Lahcim Leinad4/6/2012 8:32:02 AM
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BlackBerry 4G PlayBook prototype slips out | Electronista

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From: Lahcim Leinad4/9/2012 10:32:35 AM
   of 1349 - RIM (RIMM) 'Patent Play' Scenario Getting Action After AOL/MSFT Deal

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From: TimF4/9/2012 2:41:52 PM
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Surprise! RIM's Not Dead Yet
| Larry Seltzer, BYTE | April 02, 2012 12:25 PM

Category: Tablets, Smartphones

It's easy to write off RIM these days, to look on them as doomed, especially if you have no experience with enterprise IT. Thursday's atrocious financial results are indicative of the company's enormous problems.

But is it really that bad?

After attending the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando, I had a change of heart about RIM's future. Nearly every organization represented at the show had at least one BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).

RIM representatives, who spoke on several panels, said it has more smartphones under management than any other company.

How did RIM get to be so dominant? It got the enterprise angle right. To this day, the iPhone isn't as secure, at least not by default, as the BlackBerry, nor does it allow the same kind of management control. The Blackberry's adoption happened long before the devices were seen as "uncool" and not "edgy". After all, BlackBerry is your father's smartphone.

Right now, RIM's plan is to follow through with BlackBerry 10, the next version of the software. We ran some leaked photos of it recently. It's a substantial rewrite of the OS, based on QNX, an old and very stable real-time OS, which is now owned by RIM.

It's not that crazy to think that RIM might make a good product. It has the security and messaging part down. If only it could nail down a good Web browser and encourage app developers to built for its platform, too. The old BlackBerry Web browser is just plain awful and most of the apps that people love for iOS and Android are unavailable on BlackBerry.

Once you get out of the United States bubble, you'll see that BlackBerry is number one and is often the only choice in many parts of the world. These countries don't have 4G. They probably don't even have 3G. And maybe not 2G. So what makes the people in these countries love their BlackBerries? They love BlackBerry Messenger, an instant messenger app. Just like in the U.S., phone companies around the world rip people off on SMS texting. BlackBerry Messenger is a cheap way for people to text and send richer media communications on basic cellular networks. The BlackBerry's hard keyboard makes it easy to type. In the future, even in developing countries, mobile networks will be able to do more and people there will expect more from them.

Clearly, RIM understands these challenges and has a plan to address them.

There's no reason to believe that people have any special brand loyalty to their smartphone vendor and that adds to the atmosphere of creative destruction in the market: two years ago Android was a minor player in the smartphone market; once-mighty Symbian has been Osborned; this time next year Windows Phone could be the next hot item. Just about anything's possible.

Don't count out RIM. It still has a few bullets left in its gun.

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From: hdl4/19/2012 1:40:35 PM
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RIM shares up on report of strategic options
11:44a ET April 19, 2012 (MarketWatch)

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. rose more than 3% to $13.63 on Thursday morning after a report by Bloomberg News reported that the company was considering the selection of J.P. Morgan as its adviser to evaluate its strategic options. According to the article, unnamed sources close to the company said its first wish is to explore the possibility of licensing the BlackBerry operating system, with its second choice being to seek out a strategic investor.

there are only so many possible licensees or strategic partners. can't rimm find them without hiring jpm? is anyone interested? does rimm need jpm to tell it what is better - license or strategic partner/ does rimm need jpm to negotiate or structure a deal or value various deals?

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From: dan.rosengold4/20/2012 2:54:48 AM
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