Monthly Archive: October 2010

Playing with PlayBook

Last month, when Research In Motion unveiled PlayBook at the BlackBerry Developers Conference in San Francisco, there was no demo. The co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, had done this sort of tapdance before. In the pre-BlackBerry days, when the then current model was called Bullfrog because it was so big, RIM came up with Leapfrog. It was much smaller, about the size of a deck of cards. In 1997 Mike and Jim flew to Atlanta to show Leapfrog to executives at BellSouth. But all they had were two wooden models, each with a plastic screen and a pasted-on paper...

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Eat my dust

Has Steve Jobs totally lost it? The cool guy in the black turtleneck who knows better than most how to market hardware seems to have gone a bit bonkers. On the release of excellent numbers today which showed Apple’s profit up 70 per cent on iPhone sales of 14.1 million in the quarter (compared with 12.1 million BlackBerrys) Apple’s CEO decided it wasn’t enough just to crow, he had to castigate. But first, the condescending warm-up lecture. “They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company,” said...

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Meeting our Waterloo

Everything you watch on TV these days seems to be sponsored by BlackBerry. Whether it’s Major League Baseball or Glee, Torch and BlackBerry Messenger are well and widely touted. The run-up to Christmas is, of course, a major time for retail sales, BlackBerry included, so promotional activity peaks. All this activity is just as well. BlackBerry is losing its ranking as top dog in North American smartphone sales. Although BlackBerry remains number one in sales by an individual brand, recent market share figures show it has been eclipsed by Android when you take into account all of Android’s iterations. To...

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An avid reader writes

I like the redesigned Globe and Mail. Somewhere there’s a black-and-white photo of me, aged about six, crouched on the kitchen floor reading the Globe, spread out before me, so I’ve seen a few designs come and go. This was not one of the usual rejigs, where sans serif type was switched to serif and a few column rules were dropped in where they didn’t exist before. No, this was the biggest upheaval I can recall. Even so, there were those who dismissed last Friday’s launch as being derivative of The Guardian. All those naysayers were blown out of their...

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Halfway home

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie this week announced they will both be donating some Research In Motion shares to their respective foundations and selling additional shares. For Balsillie, about 800,000 shares are involved with half going to a charitable foundation. At $50 a share, that’s about $40 million. The gift by Lazaridis is larger. He will be divesting 1,050,000 shares. Of that, 350,000 shares will go to the foundation with the remaining 700,000 shares sold over an 18-month period plus additional shares until the value reaches $200 million. Some of the shares to be divested by the co-CEOs come from...

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