Canadian technology company Research in Motion (RIM) announced on Tuesday that seven new Blackberry smartphones will hit the market over the course of the next year.
The new smartphones will use the new Blackberry 7 operating system and should help the company reach its yearly financial goals, according to RIM co-CEO Jim Basille.
RIM has struggled in recent years to combat Apple's iPhone and smartphones using Google's Android from taking over its once-dominant market share. It also has struggled to get its products out on time and hasn't been able to take any buzz away from iPhones, much to the dismay of shareholders.
It may have delayed us, but we are going to come out ahead, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said.
Ever since Apple announced its iPhone in 2006, RIM has been on a downward trend and hasn't found a solution to pull itself out of the dumps. Its entries into the touchscreen smartphone market haven't flourished, leaving some to question whether RIM will ever regain its spot at the top.
But RIM is hoping that its seven new phones will finally put Blackberry back to the front of the line and bring in more than just government contracts. Blackberrys are known for their security and easy-to-use messaging system, which government officials seem to prefer, but their mobile browsers have been categorized as clunky, slow and nowhere nearly as efficient as the iPhone's.
Break RIM into Two?
The stock price has dropped more than 50 percent since January causing some experts to suggest breaking the company into two.
RBC analyst Mike Abramsky told The Street that the company could benefit from splitting into separate companies, one for the devices and one for the networks.
Acting now may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value, Abramsky said. Splitting up is disruptive, but status quo could be higher risk, especially if QNX handsets fail to meet high expectations.
RIM could try to take its sterling reputation for security and email services and try to pitch it to the Google Android or other operating systems. This could bring in more revenue in a creative way to keep RIM relevant in a market that is quickly leaving it behind.
One other possible move for RIM to make is to break up its current CEO duo. The shared CEO role has drawn the ire from shareholders and analysts, which is not something a downward company needs. A shake-up at the top could draw in some renewed hope and interest in the company.
On Tuesday, the company voted to have an independent company, Northwest & Ethical Investments, determines whether the company needed a sole chairman.
We don't think it bodes well for the stock in the short to medium term, Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade told the Associated Press. It looks nice on paper, but it doesn't really solve the more pressing concerns of who is looking out for shareholder concerns on the board and who is looking out to make sure the CEO or the co-CEOs are taking the right and decisive actions.