Wallstreet Believes RIM Should Drop Hardware; License BB10 Only
Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek, who has followed RIM and BlackBerry very closely for the last couple of years, has downgraded his rating on Research in Motion to "Underperform" from "Hold" with a target stock price of $15 (from $17 previously).
No deal to license BlackBerry 10 in any way in the near future. After meeting with new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and finding him "engaging, articulate, and thoughtful," Misek believes it's a mistake to not bring BlackBerry's secure email, their strongest point according to him, to iOS and Android. While they believe this will eventually happen (they estimate it'll take another year), for now not moving towards that is a bad strategy. The proposed plan to license BB10 to Samsung and "to launch a new BBM, email, and social networking app for iOS/Android for a monthly fee" will also end as just that they believe, a plan.
No positive headlines or news any time soon. Even though BB10 is coming, it's not coming soon enough. They firmly believe BB10 to be "an excellent OS" but it seems they have simply lost faith in RIM's capability to put a complete product out there and be popular once again (software, hardware and marketing). The licensing argument is something that's been around for the past weeks and before Heins was appointed as the new CEO, many believed that would be the only way out for RIM.
Jefferies & Co isn't completely counting RIM out though. After their initial meeting with Heins, they mentioned they see "no evidence that he is under the influence of the former management in any way." This could signal a definite new era and beginning for RIM ushered in with BlackBerry 10.
For investors, it's definitely hard to put faith in RIM with BB10 though. Especially after the last two years with OS 6, and OS 7 devices being promised as revolutionary in the mobile industry. It is a little different in this case though because we do have a pretty clear picture of what BlackBerry 10 will offer; we have the PlayBook's OS for reference. The questions will lie with the hardware and marketing though and that's only natural. After years of lag, millions of battery pulls through out the world, and terrible advertising campaigns it's rightfully questioned. The months leading up to the first BB10 device launch will be crucial for RIM.