Discontent growing among RIM shareholders

According to the CEO of the merchant bank calling for the removal of co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis at Waterloo, Ont.-based mobile giant Research in Motion Ltd., more shareholders are coming around to his point of view.
Vic Alboini told  Reuters news service that 13 shareholders, representing about eight per cent of RIM shares, have voiced support for his call for the replacement of the CEOs and the sale, in whole or in parts, of beleaguered RIM, whose share in the U.S. smart phone market has fallen to nine per cent. He said the shareholders, whom he wouldn't identify, don't know who the others are, and there's no collaboration among them. They just all agree that Jaguar's plan is best for the company.
There's two flaws in this plan: A) Balsillie and Lazaridis are the biggest shareholders in the company, and 2) shares are at a six-year low, at under $19. Sell now, and you've lost considerable money on a stock that was still in the $70 range earlier this year.
As I've said before, and I'll say again: RIM's lust for the consumer market has been its undoing, and its focus on the enterprise market has drifted too far. You can argue that with the increasing consumerization of IT, the consumer market is valuable. I can argue that it's a reason to even more heavily pitch RIM's superiority as a complete and secure enterprise platform to the IT department.
The baying for blood won't stop any time soon, and Balsillie and Lazaridis are running out of time. With the new QNX-based operating system pushed back to February, RIM won't have a compelling offering for the holiday season, when smart phone share of the consumer market is won or lost. An enterprise focus is looking even more important to the company.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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