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From: techbc10/22/2011 9:23:03 PM
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Interesting article:

Is it time for RIM to ditch its secretive Blackberry Network?

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To: engineer who wrote (975)12/21/2011 9:21:11 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 989
Lazaridis and Balsillie should have put RIMM up for sale one minute after Apple announced the iPhone.

Exclusive: Amazon weighed buying RIM but interest cooled

By Nadia Damouni

NEW YORK | Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:43pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd has turned down takeover overtures from Inc and other potential buyers because the BlackBerry maker prefers to fix its problems on its own, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Amazon hired an investment bank this summer to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources. It is not clear whether informal discussions between Amazon and RIM ever led to specific price talk, or who else had approached RIM about a takeover.

RIM's board wants co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to focus on trying to turn around the business through the launch of new phones, better use of assets such as BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring, two sources said. They did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. RIM and Amazon declined to comment.

While RIM could strike technology licensing deals and other kinds of commercial partnerships to boost revenue, an outright sale or joint venture is not on the cards for now, they said.

"They have had approaches from folks who have wanted to have discussions," said one head of technology investment banking at a Wall Street bank. "The issue is it is hard to find a value that makes sense with a falling knife."

RIM's market value has plunged 77 percent in the last 12 months to about $6.8 billion following a series of disappointing quarterly reports, delayed phone launches, weak sales of the PlayBook tablet and other missteps. The shares tumbled last week on weaker-than-expected quarterly results and the announcement of a delay in the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 phones.

Activist shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp has called for a sale of RIM - as a whole or in separate parts, such as the handset business or the patent portfolio.

But RIM's management has told interested parties they do not want to sell or break up the company at this juncture, the sources told Reuters. After last week's news, the board instructed the co-CEOs to set aside any options for a sale, one person briefed on the situation said.

"Selling the company or an economic joint venture is probably not in the cards right now," said the source. "Until you stabilize the platform, people are going to be very nervous about spending $10 billion or more."

Some potential corporate and private equity suitors are holding out for RIM's valuation to fall further, people familiar with the matter said.


Amazon and RIM are still discussing ways to expand their commercial ties, which currently include a service launched last year to make Amazon's music catalog available to some BlackBerry users, according to the sources.

Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet in November, which, along with the content the company can package with it, is seen as a potentially formidable contender to Apple Inc's iPad and iTunes store. Amazon does not make smartphones.

As for RIM, it feels it could better "leverage" its assets, such as the BBM instant messaging and the network operation centers that allow for messages to be processed, the sources said.

RIM could also look at licensing out its QNX operating system after the late 2012 launch of BlackBerry 10, which will be the first smartphones using that software, to give handset makers an alternative to Google's Android operating system.


RIM's co-CEOs have spent months listening to ideas from a investment bankers, strategic parties and private equity firms. These discussions are now viewed as distracting for management, sources briefed on the situation said.

One of them said the board has backed both Lazaridis and Balsillie, but is of the view RIM needs to develop a "deeper bench" of executives.

Spurred by RIM's share drop and Google Inc's $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc in August, Wall Street bankers have tried to pitch RIM to other mobile phone makers, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and HTC Corp, in recent months.

But HTC and Samsung already have licensing agreements with Google's Android and did not see the value in tying up with BlackBerry, people familiar with the companies said. Samsung and HTC declined to comment.

(Additional reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York and Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Tiffany Wu, Paritosh Bansal and Andre Grenon)

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (978)12/21/2011 8:13:25 PM
From: engineer
   of 989
not really, but they should have figured out that their pathetic attempt at Storm was a mess and that they needed to find new business models way back then.

What they should have done is 3 fold.

first, license their server technology to anyone and open it up to apples, androids, and such, thus keeping the one thing that makes them great alive and vital. their servers and security. Not about the phones guys, about hte SERVICE.

but they got hung up in their PHONES as being gods gift.....

then take about 10x more money when they are making money, tell hte board to go pack it or hold them responsible for going out of businessin 2011...and put it back into handset creation, innovation, and design. the storm was a mess, but it was a good departure from where they had gotten stuck. but they got burned once and then dropped the entire thing.

And then spin out a skunk works group whose goal it was is to make the next generation of handset independently from any and all of the marketing clones who were pushing the same old handset for years.

You do this when your the winner and on top and have cash, not when your back is to the wall, yoru losing market share, and your out of business.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (978)12/21/2011 8:14:15 PM
From: engineer
   of 989
and on buyout rumors....

Message 27838864

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To: engineer who wrote (980)12/23/2011 12:35:00 AM
From: nicmar
   of 989
Nice little run today. Suppose info on rim is elsewhere. .. nic

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To: nicmar who wrote (981)12/23/2011 3:07:06 AM
From: engineer
   of 989
yea like this...

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From: Brasco One12/23/2011 2:45:21 PM
   of 989
rimm cannot have a decent bounce??

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From: Glenn Petersen1/22/2012 10:11:27 PM
2 Recommendations   of 989
Bowing to Critics and Market Forces, RIM’s Co-Chiefs Step Aside

New York Times
January 22, 2012

OTTAWA — Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who made the BlackBerry a leading business tool but then presided over its precipitous decline, said they would step down on Monday as co-chairmen and co-chief executives of Research in Motion.

The two men, in developing the innovative device that was the first to reliably deliver e-mail over airwaves, turned a tiny Canadian company into a global electronics giant. But they are stepping aside after disappointing investors and leaving customers wondering whether RIM still has the ability to compete, and perhaps even survive, in the rapidly changing markets for smartphones and tablet computers.

Stiff competition from the Apple iPhone and phones using Google’s Android software drastically eroded RIM’s share of the American smartphone market to about 9 percent in the third quarter of 2011 from nearly half the market two years earlier, according to Canalys, a market research firm based near London. The company’s stock price reflected that by dropping about 75 percent in the last year.

But while Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis, who have become the targets of some disgruntled shareholders, are stepping aside, investors and others looking for changes in the company’s strategy may be disappointed.

The company named Thorsten Heins, currently one of RIM’s two chief operating officers, as chief executive. He pledged during an interview on Sunday to follow the strategy Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis set in place.

Mr. Heins said he was staking the company’s revival on a new line of phones and a new operating system known as BlackBerry 10. Over the last year, that project has run into a series of delays. The new phones are not expected until the end of 2012, almost five years after the appearance of the first iPhone.

RIM has many other problems, including its PlayBook tablet computer, which lacked crucial features like e-mail when it was introduced; it is now being sold at prices below RIM’s manufacturing cost. But Mr. Heins echoed his predecessors when he said that RIM was, in fact, still a success story.

“We are still very, very convinced that this was the right path to go,” Mr. Heins said. “Now, were there bumps in the road? Sure, but with the kind of growth we had it is not uncommon to hit bumps in the road.”

Barbara Stymiest, a former chief operating officer of the Royal Bank of Canada, will become chairwoman of the company. RIM’s share price rose this month after a report that Ms. Stymiest, who has no background in electronics or consumer products, would become chairwoman.

Mr. Lazaridis, who co-founded RIM with a childhood friend in 1985, will become vice chairman and head a new “innovation committee” of the board. He said in an interview on Sunday that despite his changed status, he intended to remain active in company affairs.

Mr. Balsillie will remain a director. He joined RIM in 1992 and invested $250,000 in the then-struggling company, which was producing a variety of electronic devices including a machine for reading bar codes on motion picture film. While his future role will be more limited, he said on Sunday that he would maintain his stake in the company.

Mr. Heins, who joined RIM about four years ago from Siemens of Germany, needs to prevent additional development missteps in the BlackBerry 10 software project. He will also need to convince investors that the new smartphones will find a receptive audience among buyers in a world increasingly dominated by iPhones and Android-based handsets.

The decision by Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis to step aside comes after an agreement RIM reached last year with Northwest and Ethical Investments, a mutual fund company controlled by several Canadian credit unions, to study the relationship between RIM’s directors and its two senior managers.

While a report and recommendations about the company’s governance from a committee of directors, including Ms. Stymiest, was expected to be released shortly, both she and the two former chief executives said the management changes were unrelated.

Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis, whose combined holdings rank them among RIM’s largest shareholders, said the pending release of the BlackBerry 10 smartphones, as well as the introduction of an updated version of the company’s aging operating system, made it an ideal time for them to step aside.

“In every successful company that’s developed by founders,” Mr. Lazaridis said, “there comes a time when it enters a new phase of growth and it’s time for the founders to pass the baton to new management.”

The two men have acted as a team for 20 years. After the first BlackBerry appeared in 1998, Mr. Lazaridis supervised RIM’s technology, while Mr. Balsillie was effectively the company’s financial head and chief salesman. At a time when conventional e-mail was still seen as novel, Mr. Balsillie had to convince carriers like Verizon that a wireless e-mail service from an unknown Canadian company was a viable business proposition. He also had to persuade corporations that confidential communications could be safely and reliably sent over the air.

As the BlackBerry brought RIM the highest market capitalization among Canadian companies, Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis became business folk heroes. A 2002 poll of Globe and Mail readers named Mr. Lazaridis Canada’s “nation builder of the year.” He edged out the hockey hero Wayne Gretzky.

Despite their fame, both men continued to live relatively modestly. Their only major extravagances involved financing new educational institutions in Waterloo, Ontario, the midsize city where RIM is headquartered and where they continue to live.

At the time the first iPhone appeared in 2008, RIM had successfully moved the BlackBerry into the broad consumer market from its base of government and corporate customers. But the company was totally unprepared for the popularity of a phone that lacked a physical keyboard and ran thousands of applications — in effect a versatile Web-connected handheld computer.

RIM’s co-chief executives were initially dismissive of the challenge from Apple, and Mr. Balsillie boasted that the iPhone would enhance RIM’s fortunes by increasing awareness of smartphones.

But the iPhone introduced two broad changes to the smartphone market that had severe consequences for RIM and other phone makers, including Nokia.

The iPhone and its apps shifted the emphasis from hardware to software. Then, the iPhone’s popularity led corporate information technology departments, which once allowed only BlackBerrys to connect to their e-mail networks, to support employees’ iPhones. The arrival of Android-based phones from a variety of manufacturers only compounded RIM’s woes.

While it has struggled to respond to competition from Apple and Android, RIM has continued to grow by expanding into overseas markets. Because BlackBerrys are more efficient on wireless systems than iPhones and Android handsets, RIM’s smartphones have been most successful in parts of the world where networks are less developed. That, many financial analysts say, is likely to be a temporary advantage that will disappear as overseas carriers upgrade their networks.

At first, RIM sought to adapt its aging operating system to create touch-screen models. Then 18 months ago RIM acknowledged the need for a major change. To create what has recently been named the BlackBerry 10 operating system, it purchased QNX Software Systems of Ottawa, a company with a long history of making operating systems used to run everything from navigation and entertainment systems in automobiles to the control systems at nuclear power stations.

The initial shortcomings of the PlayBook tablet and the delays in delivering BlackBerry 10 smartphones have led many analysts to speculate that RIM has serious development problems in the new operating system and the software required to integrate it with RIM’s global network, which gives BlackBerrys their security advantages.

On Sunday, Mr. Heins acknowledged that the BlackBerry 10 software was still incomplete, but he said it would be ready before the year’s end.

“Would we have loved BlackBerry 10 to be out earlier?” he asked. “Yes, sure. But we had to manage a very, very challenging situation where we need to continue our growth based on the existing BlackBerry platform and we had to transition the company.

“I can’t tell you how much effort, hard work it is to architecture a new platform, build it and bring it to market within 18 months’ time.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced contributed reporting from New York.

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From: Glenn Petersen2/10/2012 10:52:08 PM
3 Recommendations   of 989
Blackberry Season

by James Surowiecki
The New Yorker
February 13, 2012

Five years ago, Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, was one of the most acclaimed technology companies in the world. The BlackBerry dominated the smartphone market, was a staple of the business world, and had helped make texting a mainstream practice. Terrifically profitable, the phone became a cultural touchstone—in 2006, a Webster’s dictionary made “CrackBerry” its word of the year.

These days, it seems more like the SlackBerry. Thanks to the iPhone and Android devices, R.I.M.’s smartphone market share has plummeted; in the U.S., according to one estimate, it fell from forty-four per cent in 2009 to just ten per cent last year. The BlackBerry’s reputed addictiveness now looks like a myth; a recent study found that only a third of users planned to stick with it the next time they upgraded. R.I.M.’s stock price is down seventy-five per cent in the past year, and two weeks ago the company was forced to bring in a new C.E.O. The Times wondered recently whether the BlackBerry will go the way of technological dodoes like the pager.

The easy explanation for what happened to R.I.M. is that, like so many other companies, it got run over by Apple. But the real problem is that the technology world changed, and R.I.M. didn’t. The BlackBerry was designed for businesses. Its true customers weren’t its users but the people who run corporate information-technology departments. The BlackBerry gave them what they wanted most: reliability and security. It was a closed system, running on its own network. The phone’s settings couldn’t easily be tinkered with by ordinary users. So businesses loved it, and R.I.M.’s assumption was that, once companies embraced the technology, consumers would, too.

This pattern—of winning over business and government markets and then reaching consumers—is a time-honored one. The telegraph was initially taken up mainly by railroads, financial institutions, and big companies. The telephone, though it became popular with consumers relatively quickly, was first used principally as a business tool. The typewriter’s biggest users were offices. The Internet originated in the military-industrial complex, and first found an audience among academics and scientists. The personal computer, though popular with hobbyists early on, came to market dominance only once I.B.M. introduced models targeted squarely at businesses. Historically, new technologies have been very expensive—when phone service was introduced in New York, it cost the equivalent of two thousand dollars a month—and so early adopters have generally been companies that could make (or save) money by using them. (It’s telling that the biggest exception to the business-first pattern was television, where the business applications were less obvious.) In 2006, it looked to R.I.M. as if the story of the smartphone market would echo the story of the telegraph.

It didn’t. In fact, even as the BlackBerry was at the height of its popularity, we were entering the age of what’s inelegantly called the consumerization of I.T., or simply Bring Your Own Device. In this new era, technological diffusion started to flow the other way—from consumers to businesses. Social media went from being an annoying fad to an unavoidable part of the way many businesses work. Tablets, which many initially thought were just underpowered laptops, soon became common among salesmen, hospital staffs, and retailers. So, too, with the iPhone and Androids. They’ve always been targeted at consumers, and tend to come with stuff that I.T. departments hate, like all those extraneous apps. Yet, because employees love them, businesses have adapted (and the iPhone and Androids have upgraded security to make themselves more business-friendly). As a result, the iPhone and Androids now control more than half the corporate mobile market.

Consumerization has been disastrous for R.I.M., because the company has seemed clueless about what consumers want. R.I.M. didn’t bring out a touch-screen phone until long after Apple, and the device that it eventually launched was a pale imitation of the iPhone. Although the BlackBerry brand name was once seen as a revolutionary success, over time R.I.M.’s product line became bewilderingly large, with inscrutable model names. If you’re a consumer, do you want the 8300 or the seemingly identical 8330? And the BlackBerry’s closed system has left R.I.M. ill equipped for a world in which phones and tablets are platforms for the whole app ecosystem.

The consumerization of I.T. has deep economic and social roots and is unlikely to go away. Technological innovation has dramatically lowered the cost of computing, making it possible for large numbers of consumers to own powerful new technologies at reasonably low prices. (Apple’s products seem pricey, but despite the weak economy it has sold more than a hundred million iPhones and more than forty million iPads.) The workplace is changing, too. The barrier between work and home has been eroded, and if people are going to have to be constantly connected they want at least to use their own phones. Companies have quickly come to love consumerization, too: a recent study by the consulting firm Avanade found that executives like the way it keeps workers plugged in all day long. And since workers often end up paying for their own devices, it can also help businesses cut costs. One way or another, consumers are going to have more and more say over what technologies businesses adopt. It’s a brave new world. It’s just not the one that the BlackBerry was built for.

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From: Mark30003/30/2012 11:16:37 PM
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3/30/2012 Options Action trade

dan gave the following trade on the show plus my comments:

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