The BlackBerry and PlayBook maker will return its focus to the enterprise after reporting sizeable losses and seeing its former CEO leave the board. Will the new boss's brutal honesty help the company turn things around?
By the Numbers
RIM's stock is heading upwards today (currently up around 5%) after last night's financials underwhelmed a hardly enthusiastic market. The company reported a US$ 125 million loss in the latest quarter and revealed the cost of its massive consumer-side October outage was some US$ 54 million — less than some estimates but still a major hit.
The company will now refocus on its core enterprise users, where it still has a huge market share and busy users are less likely to clamor for its next BlackBerry 10 operating system or swanky smartphone upgrade. When new CEO Thorsten Hiens took over from founders Jim Balsillie (who is now leaving the company) and Mike Lazaridis in January, RIM followers expected some changes, and now they seem to be coming through.
Perhaps when the company finally has its next generation of phones and operating system together, it will be able to start making another push into the market. But, until then, all it can really do is look to maintain market share, by deals or partnerships.
Playing by the Book
RIM has now sold over one million PlayBooks and shipped 500,000 last quarter. The company also confirmed that BlackBerry 10 will ship this year, and with 77 million subscribers still has a healthy business. Heins mentioned that the company may partner with other handset makers (which seems to hint at licensing the operating system).
That could lead to a scaling back on hardware production, but the company is still looking at new markets with a new set of entry-level BlackBerry 7 devices aimed at the developing world market. The next news from the company will probably come at the BlackBerry World event in May.
The company has already hinted at giving up to 2,000 developers an alpha-level prototype BlackBerry 10 device and by then, the CEO will have had more time to decide what needs to happen at the company to make it succeed, from root-and-branch reform to an all-out sale.
There's been a generally good reaction to Heins' first major call, and his brutal honesty about the company's problems. In that, there is reason to be positive if you're a BlackBerry fan, and while the company looks at the low end in the short term, there is still hope that its high-end products can spark a rebound later in the year.