RIM, makers of BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook tablet has just announced their quarterly results, and it doesn’t look good. RIM report a $125m loss for the quarter compared with $934m profit for the same period last year, combined with $1b wiped off revenues. Along with this, they have announced some departures from senior management along with what we believe is a significant change in strategy.
Former Co-CEO, Jim Balsillie is to quit the Board of Directors, along with CTO David Yach. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as recently appointed CEO Thorsten Heins has a mammoth task ahead of him in trying to turn around the ailing fortunes of what was once a status symbol of the aspiring business executive. In fact, maybe it is with this in mind that RIM has signified a change in direction with Heins stating, “We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment”.
This could be seen as a smart move or a weakness. The BlackBerry device still has a number of USPs when it comes to the business market, and an attempt to return to its strengths, rather than chase the youth market could be seen as a sensible. Cynics though could be forgiven for seeing it as a last gasp attempt to save an organisation on its way down, and maybe a hint that the next generation of devices – the anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform – will not be able to compete in the same market as its rivals.
Times they are a worrying at RIM. Not only do they appear to be struggling in winning new business, but they must surely be feeling the affects of their week long outage last year as mobile users’ contracts come to an end and they vote with their feet. With many contracts running in excess of 12 months, RIM could be feeling the pain of this outage for at least the remainder of this calendar year. They desperately need their next generation of devices to deliver where the previous range has struggled, and I for one hope they are able to do this.
I’ve already made my decision to move from Blackberry, as we covered in this article of December 2011, but if they return with something very special, they will start to win back market share. However, RIM are starting from a long way behind and have much to prove. Let’s hope they have not left it too late.
Let us know your thoughts on the announcement from RIM? Have you moved from BlackBerry? Would you consider moving back?