Following Grim RIM Results, Speculation Mounts on BlackBerry Sale

By Josh Long Comments
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Following grim quarterly results, Research in Motion's increasingly dire predicament puts its future as an independent company in doubt.

"They either sell, break up the company or die," Matt Thornton, an analyst with Avian Securities LLC in Boston, told Bloomberg. "It is just a question of when."

The Canadian BlackBerry maker on Thursday disappointed investors yet again when it reported dismal financial results.

That raises the question: can RIM survive as an independent company? That's up for debate, but analysts seem to agree that RIM must make huge changes to its business.

"It is becoming clearer than ever that the company needs to wave goodbye to hardware and focus more on delivering services and licensing software. This quarter’s results have effectively confirmed that RIM can no longer afford to be a wholly vertical company with a fully integrated business model," said Malik Saadi, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, in a statement. "From now on, any underperformance by the devices part of the organization would mean a significant churn of current BlackBerry users, which could lead to the collapse of the whole business including services." 

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company last month revealed hiring J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets to assist with a strategic review of the company, "including opportunities to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives."

RIM has been hoping that smartphones based on its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform would revitalize its brand, but the company yesterday disclosed that BB10 would be delayed until the first quarter of calendar year 2013.

"The delay increases the likelihood of a sale," Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, was quoted as saying in the Bloomberg article. "Even if BB10 launched in the fall against the iPhone 5, it would be very, very tough to get consumers to try it out."

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