The grim reaper

Monday morning I’m on CBC’s national affairs show The Current in debate with blogger and investor Eric Jackson about the future of Research In Motion. Jackson describes RIM as GRIM.

As far as he’s concerned, RIM’s best days are behind it and the company hasn’t kept up with the competition. The announcement by RIM and AT&T expected in New York on Tuesday does not impress this gloomster. If the “slider” that’s expected is anything like the photos that have leaked, then the device will be a dud, he says.

Oh, BTW, Jackson is shorting the stock. I don’t much like investors who play the market that way, by betting a stock’s share price will fall and then make money all the way down.

To be sure, RIM share price has slid 20 per cent this year while Apple is up 20 per cent. I will argue on the show that RIM’s finances are sound, sales and revenue are rising, they’ve just become one of the top five smartphone sellers in the world and they continue to make the best-selling smartphone in North America by shipping twice as many units as iPhone.

I think Mr. Jackson is looking at a normal corporate cycle and declaring it to be a death spiral. He says RIM will be gone in ten years; I say they’ll still be flying high. He’s not the first to predict RIM’s demise. That was a recurrent theme that I saw while doing my four years of research on this book. There’s even a list in the book of more than a dozen “giant killers” that were supposed to finish off the BlackBerry but didn’t do the job.

Listen on Monday to your local CBC Radio One at 8:37 a.m. (9:07 in Newfoundland) and decide who’s right.

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