RIM death-march? Stock tanks 15%, layoffs; COO "quits"

RIM PlayBook
By Richi Jennings (@richi) - June 17, 2011.

Updated with co-CEO criticism: Is this the beginning of the end for Research in Motion? (RIM) (RIMM) After disappointing Q1 results and worrying Q2 guidance, its share price took a 15% nose-dive; the company's already talking redundancies. As if that wasn't bad enough, BlackBerrys and the PlayBook tablet aren't selling well, the next PlayBook has been delayed, and the COO is taking a leave of absence "on medical grounds." But in IT Blogwatch, bloggers think he may have been fired.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: The latest compelling weirdness from the mad mind of Weebl...

Marc Ferranti and Stephen Lawson report the financial carnage:

Revenue for the first quarter ... was $4.9 billion, below the consensus forecast of $5.1 billion. ... The analysts' forecasts reflected a cut in RIM's own forecast ... announced in late April. ... RIM's net income for the first quarter was $695 million ... down from $769 million ... in the same quarter last year.


Investors are fleeing. ... RIM's shares ... are at about half their price just four months ago. ... RIM's shares dropped a further ... 15%, in after-hours trading. ... RIM's PlayBook tablet, on sale since April, faces an uphill battle. ... RIM blamed the second-quarter weakness on delays in ... the company's next BlackBerry operating system, called BlackBerry 7 ... a totally new software platform that ran into ... problems getting carrier approval.  

  Tiernan Ray runs the numbers:

The company will pursue cost reductions, including laying off workers, and will buy back shares. ... The Q1 results were consistent with RIM’s updated forecast ... of revenue slightly below $5.2 billion, and EPS in a range of $1.30 to $1.37. ... Unit sales of 13.2 million were below even the company’s reduced forecast.


For [Q2] the company sees $4.2 billion to $4.8 billion, and EPS of 75 cents to $1.05. Analysts [expected] $5.46 billion and $1.40. ... RIM cut its outlook for $7.50 per share in [annual] earnings to just $5.25 to $6 per share.  

  Do my eyes deceive me, or does Jay Yarow sound slightly suspicious?

Research In Motion's COO Don Morrison is leaving the company for medical reasons ... expected to return in the fall. ... We heard from a source that Morrison was going to be leaving ... but not for medical reasons. ... It's possible our source was misreading the situation and Morrison really is leaving for medical reasons.


It will be played up as RIM being in turmoil, but it's not ... according to our source. The real problem ... is that it doesn't have a deep executive bench to replace [him]. ... That's why RIM ... is bringing in Larry Conlee, a former RIM exec, to fill in.  

  Chris Ziegler talks tablets:

The top question on everyone’s mind is the PlayBook’s retail performance ... and it’s nothing to write home about: RIM is claiming 500,000 units shipped in ... the model’s first quarter of retail availability. ... Not a lot to celebrate. ... Meanwhile, WiMAX, LTE, and HSPA+ versions of the PlayBook are now slated for fall ... [not] summer, so it looks like ... another slip.


Here’s the kicker: RIM has revised its full-year 2012 outlook way down ... indicating a lower level of confidence than ... Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are accustomed to exuding. ... .  

But Nick Farrell reads that slightly differently:

500,000 BlackBerry Playbooks ... is a drop in the bucket ... [but] it does make RIM's Playbook second only to the iPad in terms of tablet sales.  

Meanwhile, John Paczkowski lays into RIM's co-CEOs:

There’s no question ... Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis ... are responsible for turning RIM into an industry juggernaut. But ... these are very different times ... as a quick glance at the company’s ... moldering handset portfolio will tell you.


Balsillie’s implication that he and Lazaridis are the only two executives ... capable of continuing RIM’s legacy ... seems questionable. ... It’s RIM’s strategic missteps that brought the company to this sorry state in the first place. ... Yet Balsillie and Lazaridis seem entirely oblivious to this.


Simply astonishing.  

And Finally...
The latest compelling weirdness from the mad mind of Weebl

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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