“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.”
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