Las Vegas losers
I’m saddened to read reports from attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Announcements from Research In Motion are not causing any buzz. While the updated PlayBook will have fully integrated email, calendar and social media feeds, T. Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a report yesterday that sales “could continue to struggle versus improving Android and iOS tablet offerings.” As for RIM’s next batch of smartphones, not expected to be available for months, they “will launch into an even more competitive smartphone market” against Android LTE, Windows offerings from Nokia, and a refreshed LTE iPhone 5, said Walkley.
National Bank analyst Kris Thompson is equally pessimistic in a report issued today. “RIM is in deep trouble; we don’t see how the company can compete against all of these fantastic handsets after years of product delays and a declining developer community,” said Thompson.
None of this is going to be cured if all RIM does is strip co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie of their co-Chairman titles. Recent news reports have predicted that Barb Stymiest, a director since 2007, will be appointed non-executive chair. If this is the best the board can come up with after six months of study, that’s slim pickings indeed. Such a move may satisfy corporate governance gurus, but it doesn’t do anything to improve management or shake up the place.
When my book on RIM came out eighteen months ago, the company could do no wrong. Now RIM can do no right. I liked it better the old way and I’m not even a shareholder who has seen value plummet by 75 per cent.