Today I attended Research in Motion's 2012 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in Waterloo, Ontario. Many shareholders in attendance were displeased at the current board of directors with the company posting their second consecutive GAAP loss and a rapidly decrease stock price. Throughout today’s meeting, it was evident that shareholders wanted to know more about how Research in Motion expected to successfully execute it’s rollout of the much anticipate BlackBerry 10 device. Among some of the information that was present at today’s meeting include updates regard the executive team at RIM, updates on RIM’s business operations and some new information regarding BlackBerry 10 device.
There were a few announcements today with regards to the executive team at RIM, most of them which have already been previously reported including the recent hiring of Steven Zipperstein as CLO of the company, and the promotion of Rick Costanzo as the EVP of Global Sales. In addition these two announcements, it was also announced that Robin Bienfait who is currently the CIO of RIM will take additional responsibilities of running the BlackBerry Enterprise Business Unit which includes products such as Mobile Fusion and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES). During the meeting, it was also mentioned that Kristian Tear (who was announced to be joining RIM in May of this year) will be starting his capacity as COO of the company in August of this year.
RIM’s Business Operations
Research in Motion’s business updated included an announcement that they will be expecting another GAAP loss in Q2 of fiscal 2013. This loss will mark the third consecutive quarter in which RIM has produced a GAAP loss. As mentioned earlier, RIM will also be cutting back the number of manufacturing facilities’ they use from 10 locations to 3 locations as they look to reduce their BlackBerry smartphone portfolio to a lower number of device. As part of the CORE (Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency) program announced during the quarterly conference calls, work force reductions of 5,000 employees world-wide are expected to be completed by the end of the fiscal year.
BlackBerry 10 Update
As we confirmed earlier, the first BlackBerry 10 device which will be launching in January of this year will be a full touch screen smartphone with the QWERTY version launching ‘shortly-thereafter’. Thorsten also mentioned that the delay was also in part to align the devices launch dates with when most carriers expect LTE services to be available for consumer usage.
BlackBerry Messenger will continue to be exclusive to BlackBerry Devices
As RIM’s financial situation worsens, many have suggested that RIM license out their popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messaging platform to users on non-BlackBerry devices. Today, Thorsten emphasized that one of the continued strengths of the BlackBerry brand was its BBM platform (which they will be incorporating video chat into) and therefore would be keeping this technology proprietary only to BlackBerry devices.
BlackBerry 7 Portfolio
With the much anticipated launch of the BlackBerry 10 portfolio, many have questioned what would come of the current BlackBerry 7 devices selling in the market. During today’s meeting, Mr. Heins mentioned that they will be continuing to sell BlackBerry 7 devices even after the launch of BlackBerry 10 as these devices will be used to target low and mid-range of smartphone markets around the world until the entire BlackBerry 10 portfolio is launched.
Overall, today’s meeting was a bit disappointing as the majority of information which was presented were reiterations of information and facts which were already known the public. Speaking with a few shareholders after the meeting, many continued to express uncertainty in the company’s future especially with the current board. Following the meeting, the stock price of RIM dropped by 5% eroding the gains from the various media interviews that Thorsten conducted last week regarding RIM’s current business situation.
As the rough transition from the currently BlackBerry portfolio to the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones continues, we at BlackBerryOS.com will continue our support for #TeamBlackBerry and we look forward to what BlackBerry 10 has to offer.