As RIM flounders, investors talk of replacing half-CEOs

“The two men who made BlackBerry a household name may not have the luxury of time to fix Research In Motion’s flagging fortunes,”Alastair Sharp reports for Reuters.

“Investors are clamoring for RIM to come up with a credible response to Apple’s iPhone,” Sharp reports. “As its market share erodes, RIM’s shares are sinking, setting the stage for a deep-pocketed activist like Carl Icahn to step in, buy on the cheap and press for big changes.”

Sharp reports, “Meanwhile, the co-chief executives — Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie — could start feeling the heat. ‘These guys are very emotionally invested, taxed for time, and feel the pressure of being left behind and seeing your market fade away,’ said an investor at a top-30 fund that would likely support but not instigate an activist play. In an open letter ahead of the BlackBerry conference, Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade asked RIM to consider dropping Balsillie as a co-CEO, among other recommendations.”

“RIM’s chief executive pairing — Lazaridis founded the company and Balsillie joined soon after — are by far the largest investors. They also share the role of chairman of the board, making them difficult to dislodge,” Sharp reports. “RIM’s BlackBerry, once the most desirable brand in mobile communication, was blindsided by the success of Apple’s iPhone… ‘I expect to see the Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup before RIM builds a number one phone,’ said Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture firm that helped launch Google. Toronto’s hockey team has not won a National Hockey League championship in more than 40 years.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Some other viable players in the game would be nice. These guys need to pull their tiny heads out of eachothers outdated asses. Or they will go the way of poor Skype.

  2. “I expect to see the Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup before RIM builds a number one phone.”

    In other words: they’ll build a number one phone when hell freezes over

  3. Apple didn’t sneak up on anybody…if anything, they foretold everybody what they were up to and did exactly what they foretold. RIMM has absolutely no excuse for resting on their laurels. I invested in them, but had to sell because they had nothing but talk. “Potential” is only something you haven’t done yet.

  4. Palm CEO Ed Colligan laughed off the idea that any company — including the wildly popular Apple Computer — could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector.

    “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys (Apple) are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

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