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Bad news keeps piling up on RIM, but it wasn’t always that way
There have been lots of ominous sounds from Blackberry maker Research in Motion of late. Reports indicate the struggling company may lay of yet another bunch of employees, Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa is said to be resigning – joining an executive exodus that began last year – and by all indications sales of the company’s phones and tablets aren’t doing very well. These things happened after a terrible 2011 for the company. Here we take a look at some recent news and key RIM moments.
This week Research In Motion warned that it expects an operating loss for the current quarter and has hired two investment banks J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help it study alternative company strategies that might include licensing its OS. RIM said the bankers will help RIM "evaluate the relative merits and feasibility of various financial strategies, including opportunities to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives."
Reports this week say RIM is planning to cut at least 2,000 staff as part of a global restructuring plan in the next few weeks.
Also this week RIM said chief legal officer Karima Bawa was leaving the firm. Bawa has been with RIM for 12 years, has led the company through a number of patent battles and put pen to paper on behalf of the company on a number of major commercial deals. Her departure comes after head of global sales Patrick Spence stepped down last week.
The Blackberry timeline:
Research in Motion Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins holds up a prototype of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone at the BlackBerry World event in Orlando May 1, 2012. Heins revealed little of RIM's specific plans for the future but confirmed his determination to rebuild RIM as a "mobile computing" powerhouse, going beyond smartphones and tablets. Research in Motion is set to launch a new generation of BlackBerry 10 smartphones later this year while continuing to lose market share to Apple's iPhone and Android devices.
RIM started 2011 still having the second-most used smartphone operating system in the United States, as Nielsen reported that the iPhone OS accounted for 28.6% of the U.S. smartphone market share, followed closely by BlackBerry OS (26.1%) and Google's Android (25.8%). This lead over Android was not to last, however. By September Nielsen reported that Android's market share had surged to 43% of the smartphone market in the U.S., while RIM's had declined to a mere 18%. Yet another survey released by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that 30% of BlackBerry users in enterprises of 10,000 employees or more planned to switch to a different platform over the 2012.
RIM's data services suffered a massive worldwide outage that lasted for four days. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said the outage occurred on Oct. 10, 2011 when a dual-redundant, dual-capacity core switch failed and its backup switch failed to activate. This then caused an enormous backlog of unsent data and thus caused a "cascade failure" of RIM data systems throughout the world.
Here a woman shows off her new BlackBerry Torch 9800 outside an AT&T store in New York in 2010. At the time RIM touted the phone as the new "iPhone Killer."
Looking to cash in on the hot tablet wars is RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook. The PlayBook's browser supports Flash for optimized surfing. Tech Specs: Dual-core, 1GHz processor; 7-inch (1024x600) display; BlackBerry Tablet OS from RIM; 3 megapixel front-facing camera and 5.0 megapixel rear camera; 10 hours of battery; mini HDMI port; free Internet tethering via BlackBerry Bridge app (wireless carrier dependent); and stereo speakers and microphones.
Blackberry devices are displayed at a release party to promote the BlackBerry OS 7 devices in Toronto in 2011. RIM at the time took the wraps off two more powerful versions of its touchscreen BlackBerry Torch, aiming to buy time until it could introduce radically new software package in its smartphones.
The RIM CrackBerry Addict: CIO magazine wrote: “Like a cautious mother wildebeest watching over her young calves, the RIM devotee never takes his sights off his BlackBerry. (iPhones, Droids and the like are the pack of hyenas circling about.) In a business environment, CrackBerry addicts can typically be found heads down, persistently tapping in their laps, with no concern about how that might look.
Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie explains how bringing SAP's CRM application in in 2008, the Blackberry will transform CRM for the mobile salesforce in the same way BlackBerry's push e-mail changed mobile messaging.
In 2006 RIM signed a definitive settlement ending a patent dispute that threatened to shut down its e-mail service in the United States. RIM said it paid U.S. patent holding firm NTP Inc. $612.5 million to settle the dispute.
Former co-Ceo of Research in Motion, Mike Lazaridis, poses for a portrait at the RIM headquarters in Waterloo, in 2009. Lazardis and the other Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie have been on the receiving end of criticism for how things have gone at RIM. CIO magazine wrote: “When things are going great, people will praise even a committee of so-called leaders. It really doesn't matter who's in charge. But when challenges arise, there can be only one who steps up and carries the company on his or her shoulders. This is where RIM's Co-CEO structure has failed. Risk-taking. Accountability. Consequence. You can't divvy them up.” Both gave up their postions to current CEO Heins in January.
Balsillie is first and foremost the leading business-mind behind RIM and BlackBerry, but he's also an avid sports fan and athlete. The Canadian's favorite sport? You guessed it, hockey. And Balsillie's not just a player or a fan—he's attempted multiple times, albeit unsuccessfully, to buy and move another major NHL franchise, including the popular Pittsburgh Penguins, onto Canadian soil. Balsillie is also known to be a competitive golfer, according to a CIO magazine post.
One of the most widely sold Blackberries. Initially released in November 2008, the BlackBerry Bold 9000's launch was hindered by various software glitches and issues with AT&T's 3G network. Once it was widely available, the smartphone built a faithful fan base thanks to its 480 X 320 display, blazing 624-Mhz processor and inimitable, full BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. Aimed specifically at businesspeople, or power users, the Bold also packs 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS.
From 2004, the BlackBerry 7100t keyboard had two letters on each button.
The BlackBerry PDA circa 2002.
A bad omen? A discarded BlackBerry Curve smartphone lies at the bottom of a small stream in North Vancouver.
Trashed Blackberry phones sit in a bucket during the NBC Today Show in New York April 21, 2008. The phones were to be used by students in an art piece and then recycled for Green Week.