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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
BlackBerry Maker Evaluates Options


BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion has engaged J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets to assist the company in reviewing RIM?s business and financial performance.

RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins on Tuesday provided a business update saying it is losing money for the second-consecutive quarter and will lay off a "significant" number of employees.

"In terms of challenges, as I mentioned on the March financial results conference call, RIM is going through a significant transformation as we move towards the BlackBerry 10 launch, and our financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters. The on-going competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace, and we expect our Q1 results to reflect this, and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter," Thorsten said.

"We are continuing to be aggressive as we compete for our customers' business - both enterprise and consumer - around the world, and our teams are working hard to provide cost-competitive, feature-rich solutions to our global customer base. On the positive side, we expect to further increase our cash position in Q1 from the approximately $2.1 billion we had at the end of fiscal 2012," he added.

Despite the current challenges, RIM has made some progress on a number of fronts in the past few months. The company's annual BlackBerry World conference and BlackBerry 10 Jam took place earlier this month and both were successful. Thorsten said that RIM's developer partners have been enthusiastic with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha prototype unit the company distributed at BlackBerry World and many were underway in developing applications to be ready for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in the latter part of calendar 2012. He added that RIM's subscriber base continued to grow this quarter and that the brand internationally was enhanced with the launch of two new BlackBerry 7 phones in India and Latin America.

RIM is continuing to make strategic changes to RIM's senior management team with the hiring of two key new members to RIM's executive team. Kristian Tear, RIM's Chief Operating Officer, whose background also includes experience in international sales in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and Frank Boulben, RIM's Chief Marketing Officer, who will provide our team with experience in the mobile computing and communications industry. B

RIM aims at driving $1 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2013, based on its Q4 run rate.

"We will also continue to review RIM's organizational structure and clearly define accountabilities for all key businesses and business processes with a goal of eliminating fragmentation, duplication and inefficiencies," Thorsten said. "While there will be significant spending reductions and headcount reductions in some areas throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, we will continue to spend and hire in key areas such as those associated with the launch of BlackBerry 10, and those tied to the growth of our application developer community. We will share more details regarding our progress throughout the year as programs are implemented or changes are completed," he added.

RIM also engaged J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets to assist the company in reviewing RIM's business and financial performance.

RIM has tried to make phones with touchscreens but those offerings have largely flopped. And so has RIM's tablet, the PlayBook, which uses the very software that will be in the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.


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