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Friday, March 30, 2012
RIM Posts Loss, Considers New Business Plan


Research In Motion posted a net loss and its first slump in BlackBerry shipments for its holiday quarter. The company said Thursday that it is ready for a turnaround after failing to compete with flashier touch-screen phones such as Apple's iPhone and models that run Google's Android software.

RIM said it will return to its roots and focus on business customers, many of whom prefer BlackBerrys for their security. RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, and RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said a turnaround required "substantial change."

"We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on our leading position in this segment," Heins said. "We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."

Also Thursday, RIM said former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has resigned from its board. David Yach, chief technology officer for software, and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, also are leaving in a management shakeup.

The company said it would no longer issue financial forecasts and was reviewing "strategic opportunities" such as partnerships and joint-venture licensing, and other ways to leverage its assets. The company expects continued pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013. "Due to a desire to focus on long term value creation and the current business environment, RIM will no longer provide specific quantitative guidance. Some of the factors contributing to this include, ongoing weakness in the company's U.S. smartphone business, an increased focus on selling BlackBerry 7 smartphones to grow the subscriber base in advance of the BlackBerry 10 launch, increasing competitive pressure in the company's international markets and the introduction of certain new lower tier service pricing initiatives and a higher mix of sales coming from entry level products," RIM said in a press statement.

RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 3, down 21 percent from the third quarter. The Canadian company also sold more than 500,000 PlayBooks in the fourth quarter, a number inflated by deep discounts offered to boost sales of the product.


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