Research in Motion Ltd. named a new CEO Friday replacing Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis at the helm of the troubled Blackberry Maker. As Thorsten Heins steps up to take the reins at RIM, the question is can he still do anything to revitalize the stumbling Research in Motion?
Heins, who served as the company's chief operating officer, is tasked with performing nothing short of a miracle. Research in Motion is a shadow of the company that once led the smartphone market. Last year was absolutely horrendous for RIM with stocks falling 89 percent and its U.S. market share of smartphones dropping to just 10 percent in 2011. The company's foray into tablets with its PlayBook was a failure with consumers. Its new line of Blackberry phones with its updated Blackberry 10 OS isn't scheduled for release until later in the year. Analysts and investors are looking closely at what Heins plans to do in the next 12 months to turn RIM's fortunes around.
Heins said in a statement that he will focus on getting Blackberry 10 smartphones out on time this year and he will continue Balsillie and Lazaridis' agenda.
"Mike and Jim took a bold step 18 months ago when RIM purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade," Heins said. "We are more confident than ever that was the right path. It is Mike and Jim's continued unwillingness to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain which has made RIM the great company that it is today. I share that philosophy and am very excited about the company's future."
This strategy couldn't be enough to halt RIM's downfall. Analysts note that RIM needs a brash new approach to get some headway in the tablet market it had been trying to break into for the past two years.
"The challenges for RIM remain as they were before the management change," Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner said. "They have missed the touchscreen market both in smartphones and tablets. They must make some aggressive moves to change their fortunes."
RIM needs to court app developers to the Blackberry 10 software to improve its chances with consumers. RIM may need to adopt Android as its software so developers can be enticed to make apps for RIM devices.
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