Shares of RIM stock have taken a beating since the company announced devastating first-quarter earnings last Thursday. The Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker missed Wall Street’s first-quarter consensus, it lowered its full-year guidance, it announced workforce reductions, it confirmed product delays and investors went running for the door as did a top executive. Since the earnings release last week, RIM’s stock has fallen more than 25%. This is bad news for every RIM investor, but two in particular must be especially upset. RIM Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie collectively own more than 10% of the company, a stake that helped each man achieve billionaire status. Last year, Lazaridis was ranked the world’s 651st richest man by Forbes with a net worth of $1.9 billion, and Balsillie was No. 692 on the list with a net worth of $1.8 billion. Fast forward to today, and neither man can call himself a billionaire any longer. The cheifs’ stake in the company is still worth more than $1 billion combined, but separately, their net worths are now just roughly $800 million a piece. We doubt the employees set to be laid off in the coming weeks and months will shed any tears for the Co-CEOs’ loss, but it’s just another piece of a puzzle that continues to fall apart. Some analysts believe RIM is hardly out for the count, however, and we agree that the company has a bit of fight left in it. If Balsillie and Lazaridis hope to rejoin the billionaire club, it’s time to put those gloves on and start swinging. More →
Reuters reported on Friday that Northern and Ethical Investments, an investor in Research In Motion, has called for a shareholder vote to decide if co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie should remain both co-chief executives and co-chairmen of the company’s board. Northern and Ethical Investments reportedly wants the Waterloo based company to have an independent board member. However, Reuters said RIM has already asked its shareholders to shoot down the vote, arguing that John Richardson is an independent member that “already acts as the de facto leader” of RIM’s board. If you’ll excuse us, we’re about to grab lunch with a co-sandwich, and co-french fries. More →
Bloomberg is reporting that RIM’s Co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, indicated his company’s Playbook tablet would be available in North American markets in Q1 of 2011 for under $500. The $500 price point is notable for the industry as it is where Apple’s 16GB Wi-Fi iPad currently sits. The report also noted that “RIM may sell the Playbook through retail stores of Target Corp. and Best Buy Co.” and that the device would be available globally in Q2 of 2011. There you have it, a sub-$500, BlackBerry tablet waiting in the wings. Who’s excited? More →
RIM's Balsillie responds to Jobs, 'customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple'
For those of you not following the Apple earnings-call soap opera, let us give you a brief recap. Yesterday, during the Cupertino company’s Q4 conference call, CEO Steve Jobs joined the broadcast to speak with investors — an uncommon but not unprecedented move. Jobs then began to take questions and throw verbal jabs at several industry players including Google, application maker TweetDeck, HTC, Motorola, and Research In Motion.
Google’s Andy Rubin responded to Jobs’ claim that Android’s “openness” was slang for “fragmented” with a comical tweet, as did TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth; Jobs insinuated that developing TweetDeck for Android was a “nightmare” due to the platform’s fragmentation. Motorola and HTC, who Jobs called out for “skinning” Android, have — up to this point — kept quiet. Who’s left? Research In Motion.
Mr. Jobs noted that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in its Q4 which was far more than RIM’s latest quarterly blowout of 12 million handsets. Having a flare for the dramatic, and — especially lately — not wanting to take any slack from Apple, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie released a statement in response to Jobs’ innuendoes. Some key takeaways from Mr. Balsillie’s publishing: there are people who live both inside and outside of “Apple’s distortion field,” people care about Adobe’s Flash, and 7-inch tablets are cool. Hit the jump to see the full rant-rebuttal from RIM’s Jim Balsillie. More →