Research In Motion on Monday announced that Co-CEO Jim Balsillie will take over the role of Chief Marketing Officer following the recent departure of CMO Keith Pardy. Balsillie will remain Co-CEO alongside Mike Lazaridis as well, and both chiefs will also be co-chairmen of RIM. RIM’s former marketing chief, Keith Pardy, left the company for personal reasons back in March, just over one month ahead of RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook launch. More →
Research In Motion’s co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, confirmed a rumor that has been circulating the Internet over the past several days: BlackBerry 6.1 will come to market as BlackBerry 7. We gave you a quick look at the operating system running on the Bold Touch, Touch and Torch 2, and, as you can see, the cosmetic changes are minor. During the company’s shipment warning issuance yesterday, Balsillie quipped that 6.1 was “such a big update” that they felt obliged to knight the software BlackBerry 7. It was rumored that the company’s seventh major operating system revision would be based on QNX’s code base, however it now looks like the BlackBerry faithful will have to wait for BlackBerry 8 for handsets running the high-test OS. More →
While we like where Research In Motion is going with its new BlackBerry Playbook, there’s little question at this point that it is a rushed product. RIM admits as much by constantly talking about future updates that will bring missing functionality to the platform, just as Microsoft has done with its Windows Phone platform. As has been beaten to death by reviewers, the PlayBook will lack core functionality at launch, such as an email client, calendar functionality and more, and it also won’t have an extensive selection of available third-party applications until it is updated to support Android apps in a future update. Bloomberg caught up with RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on Friday and confronted him with several questions surrounding these critiques. While the uncomfortable situation wasn’t enough to make him walk out of the interview as Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did earlier this week, Balsillie ultimately did little to convince teetering consumers to make a purchase when the PlayBook is released next week. Hit the break for a video of the interview. More →
Research In Motion Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on Wednesday confirmed that upcoming new BlackBerry smartphones will contain Near Field Communication chips in 2011. During a keynote shared with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and NTT DoCoMo CEO Riuji Yamada at Mobile World Congress, Balsillie said “many, if not most” of his company’s smartphones released this year would include NFC capabilities. This confirms details from BGR’s exclusive report last month, which revealed several BlackBerry devices slated for release in 2011 and outlined specs that often included NFC capabilities. NFC is being promoted aggressively by cell phone makers, carriers, banks and other companies looking to profit from the new mobile payment systems NFC will facilitate. Google has already begun to show off Android’s NFC capabilities with its Nexus S smartphone, and Apple will soon unveil its next-generation iPhone with NFC capabilities as well.
Yesterday, Nokia released a statement about antenna design in response to being called out by name in Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna press conference. Early this morning, RIM followed suit. In a statement signed by co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, RIM gave Apple a quick and concise corporate tongue lashing:
Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.
That ladies and gentlemen is how not to mince words. It is only fair. If you want to pitch, you have to catch. Right Apple?
Remember when we told you that the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) was looking to fine RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie up to $100 million CDN ($81.1 million USD) for their role in stock option backdating that went on from 1996 to 2006? Well, the gauntlet of justice has just smacked the co-CEOs in the head to tune of $77 million CDN ($62.5 million USD). 88% of the $77 million is to be paid back to RIM itself and the rest of the money to be handed over to the OSC itself. What’s more is that Balsillie will step down from the Board of Directors for one year but will be permitted to stay on as co-CEO. It’s rather strange that the OSC would ask Balsillie to step down from the Board but permit him to stay on as co-CEO – we suppose it goes to show that the OSC understands how integral Balsillie is to the health of the company. Apparently he also managed to convince the OSC that he learned his lesson and won’t be committing any more white collar shenanigans. So what does Balsillie have to say about this whole matter? “We’re very pleased to put this behind us.” No doubt.
Regulators could possibly fine RIM co-CEOs up to $100 million CDN for role in decade old stock controversy
Um, wow. Just wow. Remember how Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the co-CEOs of RIM, got in trouble all the way back in 2006 after being busted for stock options backdating? They had apparently been doing it since 1996 and it eventually led to Balsille steping down as Chairman. The Ontario Securities Commission apparently remembers the incident well, and boy does it ever seem like it’s out for blood now. A report today from Canada’s The Globe and Mail said that the OSC is seeking up to a $100 million CDN ($79.48 million USD) fine for the co-CEOs. Apparently Balsillie is the one that should be the most worried as he’s facing the bulk of the fine, but the OSC is also alleged to be pushing for him to step down from his role on the board of directors for an unspecified period of time. Lazaridis, who is of course the big brains behind the famous BlackBerry devices the company makes, would likely only have to pay a small portion of the fine. During the investigation into the matter, both Balsillie and Lazardis paid approximately $7.5 million CDN for legal costs so that RIM itself would not be financially burdened for their wrongdoings. By now you’re probably wondering, “Wow! How much did they make through backdating options?” About $2 million CDN each. [Insert crime doesn't pay remark here]
Oh sweet lord, is it ever going to get messy in the comments. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie was recently in Cannes at a music industry conference sponsored in part by RIM and decided that it was the perfect forum to shoot his mouth off about how the BlackBerry will go beyond the iPhone in terms of mobile music. “We’ve moved to [music] 2.0, where music is undergoing a radical transformation and it creates a remarkable new opportunity for content owners to monetize their content… [BlackBerry is] already very music centric, what were talking about now is our platform”, said Balisille referring to the BlackBerry Application Centre. “We’re ingesting apps now and it goes online in March… [It has] a billing engine and is a channel for developers – you’ll see dozens of music apps.” But it gets better. “We are the overwhelming market leaders and we’ve been in the smartphone business for years… The Storm is a BlackBerry with different packaging, not a competitor of iPhone.” Okay, for realz, Jim? You want to revolutionize mobile music but not compete with the iPhone? As Stephen Colbert would say, you’ve got a lot of “nut meat.” What say you, peanut gallery?