Right about now, Research In Motion must be looking for a silver lining in the dark cloud that seems to hang over its head. Headline after headline heralds the woes of the BlackBerry maker.
In recent news, RIM lost 5,000 PlayBook tablets to thieves who stole a truck that was transporting them. The tablets are worth about $1.7 million, according to a report in Forbes. Could a fire sale ala the HP Touchpad be next? PlayBooks have already been selling for as little as $200 as part of holiday shopping promotions and RIM reportedly let its employees buy the devices for just $100 each.
"The PlayBook should have been a standalone device like the iPad . They would have had a chance to sell it to consumers," said Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner . "RIM remains focused on business and they are missing the whole consumer play. By the time they figure that out and develop a device that's going to compete with all the Android and iOS devices it's going to be too late."
Time to Kill BlackBerry?
In even more bad news for RIM, the company's stock is down another 2 percent to $12.60 a share. That's the lowest the stock has dipped in eight years. The dip comes after a 13 percent drop with last week's third-quarter earnings announcement, and another 4.5 percent decline Monday. RIM's market value is now $6.7 billion, which represents a whopping 80 percent loss in 2011.
Some analysts suggest RIM may need to ditch the BlackBerry, while others argue that RIM has to die so that BlackBerry can survive. Meanwhile, co-CEO James Balsille is assuring the markets that he and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis are "leaving no stone unturned and are evaluating a number of areas...."
Balsille ticked off those areas, which include product management, the number of SKUs offered, supply chain and building material cost efficiency, marketing and advertising, partnership and licensing opportunities, and organizational and management structure opportunities to leverage the BlackBerry infrastructure.
Splitting in Two
In one of RIM's latest efforts, the company rolled out BlackBerry Fusion, an enterprise mobility solution that marked its entrance into the multi-platform mobile -device management space. RIM's aim is to win the business of companies and government agencies looking to manage the various mobile devices that workers tote.
But RIM is competing with a slew of established players in the segment, including MobileIron, Sybase and Symantec. And, RIM is reserving some of its most attractive features for BlackBerry users, like push technology, network and data usage efficiency, and behind-the-firewall access to enterprise applications and systems.
"I think RIM is going to split into two functions. One is going to be mobile-device management and the other is going to be handsets," Disabato said. "So RIM is not going to be the RIM you know in a year or two."