RIM mulls sale or platform licensing deal after poor Q4 results

RIM mulls sale or platform licensing deal after poor Q4 results

Research in Motion (RIM) is to refocus on its core business customers, whilst raising the possibility of a sale or a platform licensing deal, after delivering disappointing Q4 results which saw co- founder Jim Balsillie announce his resignation from the company's board of directors.

RIM reported a fourth-quarter loss of US$125 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with a profit of $934 million or $1.78 per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue was down 19% from $5.2 billion for the same period a year earlier to $4.2 billion. The most recent quarter included a $355-million writedown on goodwill. The company shipped approximately 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and more than 500,000 PlayBook tablets during the latest quarter.

RIM's CEO and president, Thorsten Heins, told analysts that RIM would consider a sale if an offer came forward. However, he added it is ‘not the main direction we are pursuing right now’. RIM will now focus the attention on its core business users and core strengths such as security and BBM the BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging platform, Heins said.

This lead to early reports that Blackberry would solely focus on its business customers. However, Patrick Spence, RIM's MD for global sales and marketing, denied this on Twitter this morning. He said: 'We remain committed to all of our Customers (consumer & enterprise) and are enhancing our support/solutions for enterprise.'

The company will also focus on 'what makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry,'  refocusing on enterprise market to counter the growing challenge from rivals Apple and Samsung in the enterprise space as corporate clients increasingly adopt a BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – policy.

Heins accepted RIM needs a new approach to compete with Apple and Android devices. He added: ‘I did my own reality check on where the entire company really is. It's now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs.’

The company said it will instigate a ‘comprehensive review’ of opportunities for the company which could include partnerships, joint ventures and licensing deals.

Heins also signalled a major restructuring which could see further departures. He said RIM's current current corporate structure was 'not conducive to the efficient operation of our business.'

The company said future challenges include continuing declining sales in the US, increasing competition in international markets and a higher mix of sales coming from entry level products.

These latest results follow poor performance in 2011 compounded by a series of major outages which the company was slow to respond to, garnering major criticism from users. More bad news followed with RIM’s announcement that its next generation of smartphones -- the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 -- would not be launched until late 2012.

In January Balsillie and co-founder Mike Lazaridis stepped down as co-chief executive officers of the firm and chairmen. Heins, who was recruited by RIM five years ago, was named president and CEO. Last night, Balsillie announced he was resigning as a director. He said: ‘As I complete my retirement from RIM, I'm grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success.’

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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