Research In Motion's stock surges as the company prepares to reveal BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30.
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By midday Friday, RIM's stock price had climbed about 8.5% to $17.20 per share. It closed at $15.84 per share. Since Jan. 15, when it was trading at $14.50 per share, RIM's stock jumped a total of 17.49%. Why such a surge in a stock that has been a total dog for the last two years? Enthusiasm -- whether real or imagined -- for BlackBerry 10.
RIM will fully reveal its next-generation smartphone platform on Jan. 30. Leading up to that event, it has been making a number of smaller announcements. It's fanning the flames, if you will, in hopes of generating genuine excitement for its future. The strategy has affected RIM's stock price, although how long it can sustain these increases is anyone's guess.
One thing RIM did was to relaunch its application store. What was once called BlackBerry App World is now simply BlackBerry World. We knew this change was going to take place at some point. It hit the Web version of BlackBerry World first, and will follow on RIM's PlayBook tablet and, eventually, BlackBerry smartphones.
In addition to the new name, the store has been redesigned. The big change is the pending availability of music and video content. RIM needs an ecosystem to fully compete with Apple, Google and Microsoft, each of which offers a rich array of apps, games, music and video content. Adding music and movies to BlackBerry World will help RIM, although the extent of RIM's distribution details with various studios aren't clear.
Further, RIM seems to be gaining developer support for BlackBerry 10. Developers have submitted or ported tens of thousands of applications in recent weeks to BlackBerry World. RIM has long been stated that BB10 will launch with about 70,000 apps, and it appears those predictions are well on their way to becoming true. The platform will need all the apps it can get out of the gate if it wants to have a chance against Android, iOS or Windows Phone, which have close to 1.5 million apps among them.
Last, recent comments made by RIM CEO Thorsten Heins have investors in a tizzy about the company's restructuring efforts. RIM has been conducting an internal review to see what tactics and strategies make the most sense moving forward. It has long contended that licensing BB10 is an option, as is selling off its hardware business. Heins recently indicated that those possibilities will be on the table once BlackBerry 10 launches.
RIM's current stock performance will surely change -- for better or worse -- on Jan. 30 once the world has gotten a good look at BlackBerry 10.
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