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As RIM continues to fall behind Apple, investors call for ouster of co-CEOs

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
With Apple's iPhone now significantly outperforming Research in Motion's BlackBerry line and the company struggling to respond, some investors have called for a change in leadership at the Canadian smartphone maker.

Shares of RIM stock have been sinking as its market share has dwindled, while Apple's iPhone and devices running Google Android have found tremendous success. Those struggles, according to Reuters, have put RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in the hot seat.

Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade has asked RIM to consider dropping Balsillie as a co-CEO, while Charter Equity analyst Ed Snyder characterized both Balsillie and Lazaridis as "stuck in the past." And Bing Gordon of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins said the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs are more likely to win a Stanley Cup for the first time in more than 40 years than RIM is to build a "number one phone."

An anonymous investor at a top-30 fund also reportedly said they would "likely support" the influence of an activist like billionaire Carl Icahn, who could invest in the company while its value is low and institute big changes.

Icahn is labeled as a "prime candidate" because of previous work at Motorola, in which the company's mobile phone business was spun off and found success.

In April, RIM made its first attempt to counter Apple's iPad with the release of the BlackBerry PlayBook, though consumer interest in the launch of the device was categorized as tepid. Soon after, the company opted to pre-announce sales that came in lower than expected, and to warn investors of delays for new BlackBerry product launches.



Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs predicted RIM's struggles last October in a surprise appearance on his company's quarterly earnings conference call. In that quarter, Apple's 14.1 million iPhones sold easily bested the 12.1 million BlackBerries sold by RIM.

"We've now passed RIM," Jobs said. "I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future. It will be a challenge for them to create a mobile software platform and convince developers to support a third platform."

Questions about RIM's leadership come soon after another major player in the mobile space, and rival of Apple's -- Microsoft -- has been the subject of public debate over its own chief executive. Last week, influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn made waves when he called on Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to step down.

Einhorn, president of the $7.9 billion Greenlight Capital Hedge fund, characterized Ballmer as "the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock." He also called for Ballmer to "give someone else a chance" to lead.
post #2 of 65
I never understood why there were co-CEOs. That tells me true lack of direction and management. RIM isn't going to disappear of course, but they are in some trouble.
post #3 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

With Apple's iPhone now significantly outperforming Research in Motion's BlackBerry line and the company struggling to respond, some investors have called for a change in leadership at the Canadian smartphone maker. ...

The irony here is that RIM is basically a great company with a lot of great ideas and a lot of good people working for them. They make a simple mistake about predicting where the market will go, and sat on their laurels for a single season and now they are basically done.

Microsoft on the other hand is a big crap hole full of idiots that seem to know very little about the market and have no good ideas other than copying the next guy. They have been blundering around and sitting on their laurels for over ten years now. They have also failed at almost every project they attempted in that same time period.

Yet somehow Balmer is golden and Microsoft is rarely talked about as a company in any kind of trouble even as RIM is taking the bullet for a few short term mistakes.

The Co-CEO thing is a bit ridiculous but even despite that, RIM has better management and smarter, more capable people running it than Microsoft does in almost every way.
post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I never understood why there were co-CEOs. That tells me true lack of direction and management. RIM isn't going to disappear of course, but they are in some trouble.

They founded the company together, so if one had more power than the other he'd cry 'no fair' just like the Google boys did before
post #5 of 65
"primate candidate"
post #6 of 65
There's always been the saying that "Two heads are better than one." I guess that also applies to the guillotine chopping block. It's a really sad thing when you've started a company, ran it successfully for years and then after hitting some rough patches the board of directors say that you're no longer wanted. That must really hurt to the core. I can imagine that Steve Jobs felt the same way when he was ousted.

The BlackBerry line really seems to be somewhat outdated when compared to those slick Android smartphones with huge displays and fast processors. I'm certainly no fan of those button-laden BlackBerries and at a casual glance, they all look about the same to me. However, I still see a lot of people texting with them and I'm sure they're still in demand. I think it will be tough for any one company to tackle the Android onslaught except for Apple which has such a huge ecosystem and retail marketing strategy.

I hope that RIM can make some changes with the QNX OS and some new touch-display hardware. Perhaps the texting heydays are over and RIM needs to move on. Wall Street is giving RIM a very bad image in comparison to Android smartphones, so RIM is seriously getting stepped on. I feel certain the company is sound, but it's days of top smartphone market share is gone and it's high share price will never return, in my opinion.

Too bad for a decent company such as RIM. Wall Street only seems to reward the top market share holder and anything less than that is considered valueless. That's a poor way to keep an economy running smoothly.
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I never understood why there were co-CEOs. That tells me true lack of direction and management. RIM isn't going to disappear of course, but they are in some trouble.

My school PTO has co-Presidents, three VPs, two secretary and a treasurer or two. Just made me think of that.

On topic, I could buy tickets to watch companies buckle under the pressure Apple is putting on them. With each passing quarter, we hear about the next "iPhone killer" or "real competition to the iPad." Many don't even have products that come close, much less the iTunes ecosystem and brand recognition.
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post #8 of 65
Steve Jobs was dead on when he said convincing developers to support a third platform would be difficult. And this goes for the rumored new, from-the-ground-up Windows mobile OS too.
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

My school PTO has co-Presidents, three VPs, two secretary and a treasurer or two. Just made me think of that.

On topic, I could buy tickets to watch companies buckle under the pressure Apple is putting on them. With each passing quarter, we hear about the next "iPhone killer" or "real competition to the iPad." Many don't even have products that come close, much less the iTunes ecosystem and brand recognition.

I keep hearing what a great company RIM is but what I'm seeing is a one-trick pony that got out ahead with it's great idea 15-20 years ago and made no proactive move to diversify or look ahead. They've been reacting to Apple and that's a losing game in all aspects.

Until they get somebody with vision and some great R&D talent, they're fucked.
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I never understood why there were co-CEOs. That tells me true lack of direction and management. RIM isn't going to disappear of course, but they are in some trouble.

Well I've already stated here at AI over a year ago, that RIM won't be around at the beginning of 2012... certainly not as a stand-alone company. And I'm still looking at Microsoft taking over, or investing in them so heavily, that they'll surely be considered a "unit" of Microsoft Mobile Strategies.

I guess that means i disagree with you
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post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Wall Street only seems to reward the top market share holder and anything less than that is considered valueless.

If that were the case, Nokia would be the most valuable handset company.

Wall Street rewards expected future cash flows. As it should.
post #12 of 65
Quote:

Yet somehow Balmer is golden and Microsoft is rarely talked about as a company in any kind of trouble even as RIM is taking the bullet for a few short term mistakes.

Ballmer is golden? Should check their stock over the last few years, not to mention recent news calling for Ballmer's head.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

Well I've already stated here at AI over a year ago, that RIM won't be around at the beginning of 2012... certainly not as a stand-alone company. And I'm still looking at Microsoft taking over, or investing in them so heavily, that they'll surely be considered a "unit" of Microsoft Mobile Strategies.

I can't see Microsoft investing in RIM now that they're in bed with Nokia. What would they gain?

Having said that, they were stupid enough to buy Skype for $8.5bil...
post #14 of 65
Wait, isn't this just another example of shareholder meddling?
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post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Wait, isn't this just another example of shareholder meddling?

And the problem with that would be...... ? (Unless you were being tongue-in-cheek).
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I can't see Microsoft investing in RIM now that they're in bed with Nokia. What would they gain?

Having said that, they were stupid enough to buy Skype for $8.5bil...

To get a "secure" back-end, and to wrap up the enterprise for themselves... or so they (Ballmer) would think. Also as you said, they're pretty "lose" with their cash, and looking at anything that they think "might" be interesting to give their mobile a push in the right direction. Keyword: might.

If not MS... then anyone else have any ideas who would take it on? In the article they mention Carl Icahn.. and yes, he would spin it, flip it, whatever, to pull as much profit and bucks out as possible. Maybe a rich Arab or Sheik? They seem to like RIM's "secure" products... \
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post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Ballmer is golden? Should check their stock over the last few years, not to mention recent news calling for Ballmer's head.

One serious person has suggested this in the last week. But for the last ten years of ineptitude, he is still "golden" in most circles. He should really have been replaced years and years ago.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

And the problem with that would be...... ? (Unless you were being tongue-in-cheek).

Sort of. I don't think shareholders expressing their concerns about how a company is run is any kind of problem, but whenever I've suggested this where Apple is concerned, I'm branded as an apostate.
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post #19 of 65
Why should I care about RIM? I buy what I like. I don't care about RIM. I care about Apple and Apple stuff.
post #20 of 65
QNX for 25 years also had the two co-founders alternating the top CEO position. Odd number years, one co-founder would be CEO (the number 1 position) and the other co-founder is the President (the number 2 position). Then even number years, they switched places.

This arrangement only stopped when one of the QNX co-founders retired after the company was sold to Harman International.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

They make a simple mistake about predicting where the market will go, and sat on their laurels for a single season and now they are basically done.

Simple mistake? Single season? Really? When I first saw the iPhone unveiled, I declared that the world of communications had forever changed. Any company not recognizing that fact would die the bad death they deserved. RIM completely dismissed the iPhone and its significance. Heck, they didn't even think it was possible. They didn't just miss a single season either. By the time they realized the iPhone was the new definition of phone, they were already dead.
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post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I never understood why there were co-CEOs. That tells me true lack of direction and management. RIM isn't going to disappear of course, but they are in some trouble.

The board of directors couldn't make up their minds

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #23 of 65
I used to think that an Apple buyout of RIM for their patents would make sense. I thought it was a perfect fit. For Apple to take Blackberry back to the business of building the best business smartphone around. With just one model ala the iPhone. Just one topnotch all purpose Blackberry business phone instead of wasting their resources building so many of the various variations on the same phone.

It's probably not worth it for Apple anymore as a new notification system is rumored to be on the way and as enterprise is quickly adopting the iPhone over the Blackberry. They had the ball and dropped it.
I still say they should scale back to just one phone and a business-centric specific tablet.
post #24 of 65
It would be wonderful for RIM to drop these guys. Then they could step in for Balmer when the MS board dumps him.
post #25 of 65
An Apple buyout of RIM made sense ten years ago.

Not so much now.

Just talk with any developer who tried to get APIs from RIM before the iPhone showed up.
RIM was just plain arrogant and didn't care.

Now they are begging people to develop. Good luck with that.

And I say this as a RIM shareholder (albeit, with only 100 shares), but the hell with them!
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

Simple mistake? Single season? Really? When I first saw the iPhone unveiled, I declared that the world of communications had forever changed. Any company not recognizing that fact would die the bad death they deserved. RIM completely dismissed the iPhone and its significance. Heck, they didn't even think it was possible. They didn't just miss a single season either. By the time they realized the iPhone was the new definition of phone, they were already dead.

Was there a comment from RiM saying the interface couldnt possibly be that smooth and fast?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

The board of directors couldn't make up their minds

Everything was so peachy, even the iPhones release making smartphones something the average person should consider pushed a lot of record breaking sales their way. The board likely didnt know how bad of a storm was coming.

I dont think RiMs problems are with the co-CEOs so much as other key aspects of the company but I do think the Co-CEO thing has to stop.
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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Steve Jobs was dead on when he said convincing developers to support a third platform would be difficult. And this goes for the rumored new, from-the-ground-up Windows mobile OS too.

There's some history here too. When the NeXT was being released he fretted about this exact problem, as the development market quickly stratified. He noted that "this will be the last platform to succeed, or the first to fail".
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by rp2011 View Post

I used to think that an Apple buyout of RIM for their patents would make sense. I thought it was a perfect fit. For Apple to take Blackberry back to the business of building the best business smartphone around. With just one model ala the iPhone. Just one topnotch all purpose Blackberry business phone instead of wasting their resources building so many of the various variations on the same phone.

It's probably not worth it for Apple anymore as a new notification system is rumored to be on the way and as enterprise is quickly adopting the iPhone over the Blackberry. They had the ball and dropped it.
I still say they should scale back to just one phone and a business-centric specific tablet.

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.


I know what you mean. I just meant the Iphone is jack of all trades than can whip circles around Blackberies (other than email and messaging) but a dedicated business phone geared specific from the ground up for business professionals, with none of the trade-offs that a general purpose consumer product would offer. Such as a physical keyboard and only business specific apps. It would certainly be a niche market. I would get one. I already own two phones, an Iphone and a Blackberry.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.

I beg to differ as I prefer one for business and one for personal. I am a strong believer that Tiger Woods got into trouble because he mixes business (Elin) with pleasure (All his mistresses) by using the same phone. If he had two devices dedicated for different purposes, Elin might not have seen the unabridged history of his sextexting.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.

One phone for business and personal would be great, but in many places I don't think that will happen any time soon. The business security requirements mean that the platform is locked down much tighter than we would tolerate for personal phone use.

My business Blackberry is almost completely dysfunctional; it does corporate email and browses the web (badly), and everything else is locked to prevent security breaches. Can't install any apps and most of the settings are disabled. On the plus side, we are actually allowed to carry a device that makes phone calls where personal phones are excluded.

I'm not sure how the somewhat conflicting needs of personal and business will be reconciled.
post #32 of 65
While the current CEOs appear a bit clueless it does not follow that RIM will be more successful if they are replaced. All phone hardware companies are getting clobbered in terms of market share and/or profits with the exception of HTC and Apple. RIM has actually done pretty well at least treading water. The smart phones remain a very small share of the cell market so lots of opportunity to turn around.

Note while android had been a bigger share of each vendor's products the total vendor share of market and certainly profit has not improved. Basically android is displacing a static or decreasing share of Symbian and Windows CE. Apple is increasing real share in OS (ESP if you include all mobile elements) and gobbling all the profit.

The future for RIM will demand a deep change in core competencies (disruptive and destructive) to re-attack the new market environment. So the leadership, current or new, needs to take this on.
post #33 of 65
While Apple competition are trying to kill the iPhone and the iPad, Apple is silently killing their CEOs. Look at what happened to Acer's CEO, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, and now RIM's and Microsoft's are facing a growing clamor for them to step down.

It just proves that breaking new grounds and innovating or authoring a new product segment AND NOT copying Apple might be a better alternative for these CEOs to stay in their jobs.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

Simple mistake? Single season? Really? When I first saw the iPhone unveiled, I declared that the world of communications had forever changed. Any company not recognizing that fact would die the bad death they deserved. RIM completely dismissed the iPhone and its significance. Heck, they didn't even think it was possible. They didn't just miss a single season either. By the time they realized the iPhone was the new definition of phone, they were already dead.

Yeah, did the RIM engineers think Apple was lying about the iPhone capabilities when the iP1 was first introduced? I think I have that right.
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.

Me too! "Simplify" is my new motto! The latest iPhone, an iPad2 and old original intel iMac that I rarely use anymore, an AppleTV, TimeCapsule and I'm good to go! Sold my laptop and camera!

No laptop to keep updated, charged or remember to take with!

No stand alone GPS to charge, store and remember to take with! (TomTom App in iP4 is great)

No stand alone camera to charge, store and remember to take with!

No stand alone video camera to charge, store and remember to take with!

No iPod to charge, store and remember to take with!

Heck, even my Real Estate E-Key is in my iP4 now!

P.S. When my iMac gives up the ghost, probably will buy an MBA.

Best
post #36 of 65
Here's the reality and it ain't your armchair quarter back reality. When you're a public company you better make that money or you better haul a**.
I blogged a few months ago that the silver haired dude at RIM Lizardis or whatever should get ready to fly the coop.
post #37 of 65
Financial advisors are only interested in profits not if a product is good or not. The biggest mistake that companies do is to go public and let these parasites bankers take control of their companies.

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post #38 of 65
It is a case of mis-management for sure. The co-CEOs are under the impression that they invented the smartphone (and they kind of did), so they were ignorant to adapt their formula when Apple and Google invaded their space. Now they're losing something like 4% US marketshare per quarter.
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post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylove22 View Post

Financial advisors are only interested in profits not if a product is good or not. The biggest mistake that companies do is to go public and let these parasites bankers take control of their companies.

Hmm. So companies should make great products that lose money? That'll show those nasty old analysts a thing or two.
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post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Having one device for business and one for home is quickly becoming (or already is) obsolete. I don't want to have to carry one device around to do my corporate emailing, calendaring, and other various business things with another one in my pocket for all my personal stuff. I want to have one device that can handle both, has great battery life so I can actually do those things, and is secure and reliable. And that is why I have had an iPhone ever since it got released.

For what it's worth, in many markets (Canada for instance), Blackberry's are not just business machines and are sold to and used by a lot of very regular non-business people. They also have exceedingly high brand loyalty. Most of my non-technical friends use Blackberry's and most of them who are interested in tablets are deeply interested in the Playbook despite it being an extremely low-rated POS.

A lot of this comes down to the fact that if you don't read the tech press you don't have any idea what's going on beyond the advertisements and Blackberry pays a lot out for advertising (at least in Canada).

I had a conversation with a close family member just yesterday who is an extremely intelligent person, but who just happens to not care much about technology:

Person - "I like Blackberry's, I'm never giving mine up, ever."
Me - "Well, what about an iPad, do you like those?"
Person - "They look good, but If I bought a tablet I'd buy the Blackberry one. At least it has Flash!"
Me - "Flash is important to you?"
Person - "Not that much. But I heard that ancient guy that runs Apple *hates* Flash!"
Me - "Steve Jobs you mean?"
Person - "Yeah, the evil one. The old guy ... with the beard? I think that's his name anyway. Apparently the only reason the iPad doesn't run Flash is because he personally doesn't like it and he bans everyone from using it! He's supposed to be a real bastard or something."

It went on and on for quite a while but the gist of it is that this otherwise intelligent person, who's only knowledge of tech is from TV commercials (and what the guy at the cell phone store tells them), thought that Apple was a weird evil company headed by an ancient evil genius who has all kinds of mean rules and regulations that he likes to force people to obey. They believed that Apple's main purpose was to screw over "regular people" and make them use their technology even though "regular people" didn't want to!

They thought RIM on the other hand was a fantastic, innovative company that made leading edge products and was failing only because of some American plot to take over the cell phone market (or something).

Let's face it, the average person goes to the cell phone store and just buys whatever the shifty guy behind the counter says is the best thing to buy, and Apple doesn't pay those guys to promote their product like RIM and the rest of them do.
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