22 June 2011

BlackBerry continues to bleed

After its 21 percent plunge Friday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) continued to bleed Monday, with its stock further diving almost seven percent.

At $25.41 now, RIM stock is at its lowest since 2006.

Even as its fortunes plunged on the market, the top Canadian company suffered another major setback as its digital marketing head Brian Wallace left for Samsung Monday.

This is the third high-level exit from RIM since February, making its loyal investors even more jittery.

In yet another major blow to RIM, third-party Twitter client Seesmic - which builds applications to help users build and manage their brands online - abandoned the BlackBerry maker Monday in order to focus on Apple's iOS, Google Android system and Microsoft Windows Phone 7.

Discontinuing its support for BlackBerry smart phones, Seesmic said it only wants to "focus development efforts on our most popular mobile platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Phone."

With its two co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis - who own 10 percent stake in the company - under increasing pressure for changes in management, RIM shareholders are voting next month on the shared role of the two bosses.

Scaling back the outlook for the iconic company, RBC Dominion Securities of the top Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) described the BlackBerry maker as "bloody, but not broken" yet.

RBC analyst Mike Abramsky said, "Although it's possible RIM fails to turn itself around, that outcome may be premature, given sustained positives like 68 million subscribers, service growth, enterprise leadership, #1 share in several markets, healthy margins, cash flow. Our estimates become $21.4-billion revenue and $5.60 (earnings per share)."

At less than $14 billion today, the BlackBerry company is not even one-fifth of its market value of $80 billion in 2008.

RIM is fast losing smart phone market share to Apple's iPhone and Google Android devices. Poor future prospects and its failure to replace aging handsets have cast doubts about its future.