For months, shareholders have been clamoring for something to change in the stop-slot at the company. Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie built the company, but in recent years, it has taken a beating from Apple, the Android platform, and its own missteps. Thorsten Heins took the reins Monday and spoke for 30 minutes to analysts about the transition. The market was not impressed.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, RIM fell 9.11% to $15.60 in Canadian dollars. The story was similar on the Nasdaq, where RIM fell $1.44 to $15.56, or an 8.47% drop. The concern may be that although there have been some name changes, it looks like the strategy will remain the same. This is a strategy that hasn't served the company well in the last few years.
Heins said, "I don't think that there is some drastic change needed. We are evolving ... but this is not a seismic change." He seemed to focus on the need for better execution, but not a change in strategy. Spoken like a true COO, which was Heins' former position.
Heins committed to the BlackBerry 10 platform and silenced any rumors that the company would look at Android. Eric Zeman said that focusing on the new platform should be the number one priority, followed by reaching out to developers to create a sustainable ecosystem.
The first problem is that it isn't a given BlackBerry 10 is the right way to go. Focusing on the wrong direction doesn't earn you an A for effort in the business world, especially one as cutthroat as mobile phones.
Secondly, I believe RIM has pulled the rug out from under prospective BlackBerry 10 buyers by supporting Android apps. If you are a software developer and you can support three platforms by writing for two, why in the world would you spend the time and effort to learn a third platform and develop a native app for it? Sure, RIM will make sure that some native apps are written, but I'd be surprised if a significant number would be.
That means future BlackBerry 10 handset owners will largely be running Android apps. How does that differentiate BlackBerry from Android? Where is the competitive advantage?
These and other questions are likely being asked by shareholders today, as enough of them dumped their shares to drive the price to within $3 of the 52-week low.