By Chris Velazco
Once perched atop the highest peaks of the smartphone market, Waterloo-based Research In Motion (RIMM) recently found themselves at a crossroads: should they push ahead on the hardware front, or give it up in favor of their more lucrative network service business?
TORONTO (Reuters) - Former Research In Motion co-chief executive Jim Balsillie sought to reinvent the BlackBerry smartphone maker with a radical shift in strategy before he stepped down, two sources with knowledge of his plans said.
The corporate reboot at Research in Motion Ltd. marks its first anniversary today. The tech giant’s beleaguered stock price has been on an absolute tear of late — up 14% since last week to burst the $18 range and a whopping 170% appreciation from its 52-week low of $6.10 last September.
Meanwhile, the much-anticipated and often-delayed BlackBerry10 operating system is finally set to be unveiled on Jan. 30 — a hard deadline that had eluded the troubled company for two years.
Just when they ought to be basking in the invaluable free exposure their getting from famously loyal customer moving into the White House, the co-CEOs of the company that makes BlackBerry wireless devices are instead bracing for a very expensive lesson.
BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) CEO, John Chen, feels that iMessage and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) should not be limited to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices, but should feature on all other platforms as well.
BlackBerry Messenger, the nifty and efficient personal-messaging service that’s become so important to bracing Research In Motion Ltd.’s fatigued appeal in these trying times, may just owe its existence to a local telecom outfit.
“There was a point there where RIM said they were thinking about getting out of BBM,” John Boynton, chief marketing officer at Rogers Communications Inc., recalls. “We said, ‘No, no! We think it’s great.’ ”
Larry Dignan (ZDNet) submits: Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie sounded as confident as ever on the company’s first quarter earnings conference call, but analysts aren’t quite buying it. Do you see what Balsillie sees when it comes to RIM’s prospects?