Tag: CEO

Billionaire and Sixth Largest Investor Stephen Jarislowsky Gives Scathing Criticism of RIM

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Stephen Jarislowsky

Once called the Warren Buffet of Canada, Stephen Jarislowsky, the sixth largest investor in RIM, has began to divest in the company and he’s leaving some very scathing criticism. First, he’s insisting that the roles of CEO and chairman of the board need to be separated. “You should not have these two people at both positions because they have worked together all their lives and they are basically the same person, from point of view of policy,” Jarislowsky, chairman of Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd..

Jarislowsky also criticized Jim Balsillie, saying he’s lost focus. “I believe he is taking his eye off the ball,” Jarislowsky said. “He’s gotten involved in all sorts of things outside the business.” Jarislowsky is probably talking about Balsillie’s attempts to bring an NHL franchise to Canada as well as his involvements in non-profit initiatives around Waterloo.

It’s a difficult time for RIM these days but things look good in the near future. The next year is going to be very trying but if they can make it out and really impress the market with a new generation of BlackBerrys, it’s possible that the share price will rise to its old glory days.

RIM CEOs Officially Respond to Apple’s Antenna Propaganda

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During the Apple iPhone 4 Antenna press conference, Steve Jobs claimed that Apple’s antenna issues were not specific to the iPhone, and other smartphones such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 experience similar issues. It seems BlackBerryCool readers don’t experience these issues and RIM’s CEOs took aim at Steve Jobs and defended their antennas. Here is their official statement from Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis:

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

- Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

RIM is a pretty quiet company and this is not the norm for their CEOs. Generally, RIM doesn’t talk about other smartphones or comment directly on another company but it’s great to see them respond to a blatant attack on the company.

AT&T CEO Data on iPhone in Enterprise Misleading

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Recently, Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T, said that 4 out of 10 iPhone sales are to enterprise. This has led to some confusion about what those numbers actually mean, and many repeating the comments but saying that 40% of iPhones are bought by large business. The wording is a little off, and Spears seems to have a very broad definition of the word ‘enterprise’. In Spears’ definition of enterprise, he seems to be accounting for users that buy an iPhone and use it for personal as well and work. If 40% of iPhone sales were truly to enterprise, that would mean that over 4 million iPhones have been bought by large companies, which is highly dubious. What is more likely, is that 40% of iPhone users also work in enterprise.

Much of the confusion likely stems from the employee liable vs corporate liable smartphone scenario, where many employees in enterprise are choosing to bring their own devices on the network. To say that a user has brought their iPhone in to work and chose to use it for business, isn’t the same as a company purchasing the iPhone and asking their employee to use it. The iPhone brought in by the employee may not have access to corporate applications, and therefore is not an enterprise device by definition. It’s hard to imagine the top tier of enterprise and government adopting the iPhone as it doesn’t have the same security and doesn’t meet the standards necessary to be a true corporate device.

Verizon CEO says Tour and Storm 2 coming soon

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The CEO of Verizon, Lowell McAdam, loves to tease us with news of upcoming devices. A couple weeks ago, he said that “over the next six months or so you will see devices like Palm Pre and a second generation Storm.”

Well he’s recently elaborated on that statement at the Barclays Capital conference in New York.

“Over the next six months or so,” he said, “you will see devices like the Palm Pre and the Cousin on our network from Palm. You will see a second-generation [BlackBerry] Storm. You will see a new device we call the Tour from BlackBerry as well. That is an upscale of any other QWERTY-based devices that we have from BlackBerry today.”

It’s hard to extract anything tangible from his comments which have clearly been well-rehearsed. In general, you can expect a CEO to use a longer release schedule to avoid concerns that the company cannot make a deadline. The under-promise-over-deliver factor here could put the Tour release this August and the Storm 2 around September/October.

[Via]

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam confirms BlackBerry Storm 2

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Lowell McAdam

In an recent webcast, Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, said that “over the next six months or so you will see devices like Palm Pre and a second generation Storm,”

Although this is great news for Verizon, Sprint was not happy about the comments. Shares in Sprint Nextel Corp fell 2 percent after the comments from Lowell McAdam, as the highly anticipated Pre is seen as key to helping No. 3-ranked Sprint stem subscriber losses.

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Mike Lazaridis on RIM strategy and BlackBerry technology

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Walt Mossberg sat down with RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis to talk BlackBerry. The interview was presented on D7 by All Thing Digital.

The interview started off with a fundamental question about RIM’s shift to the consumer space. According to Mike, RIM was pushed into the space from demand. Consumers were asking for the functionality of BlackBerry and it just made sense for them to enter the consumer market.

One of the issues Mike Lazaridis touches on, the “big white elephant in the room,” is network capacity. Mike believes we need to overcome some issues of network capacity in order for the full potential of these devices to be reached. “Voice usage doesn’t scale exponentially,” Lazaridis says. “But data usage does….If we don’t get ahead of this problem and make things scalable and ensure that applications aren’t so data intensive,” we’re in trouble apparently. The industry needs to come together to resolve these issues before we’ve gone too far. Remember, voice and data often share the same bandwidth, and they’ll both suffer as data usage increases. He says RIM works very closely with AT&T (T) to optimize its radio code and its network so that everyone benefits. That said, “it may be a mistake to assume that you’re going to get the wired broadband experience in a wireless environment.

Something I’ve been discussing with companies in the BlackBerry space that Walt touched on is security from a developers standpoint. The fact that RIM started as a company for enterprise and is shifting to consumer, provides them with a competitive advantage. The robust security features of BlackBerry came from an enterprise need and they’re only beneficial to the consumer. “We believe that over time, consumers will start to value the BlackBerry’s security accreditations.” RIM’s devices apparently have the largest number of these in the industry. And that should make consumers confident in the company’s devices. RIM has done its best to make it platform secure and scalable and that has served the company well as it caters to its core base in enterprise. Lazaridis seems to be saying that RIM’s position in the enterprise is so strong that he’s not worried about Apple (AAPL) or Microsoft (MSFT).

Walt uses the interview with Mike as an opportunity to take a jab at the BlackBerry Storm. Yes, the Storm could have been better in that it was a first build and there are several improvements that could have been made. On the other hand, RIM knows the smartphone space better than Apple and you can be assured that the Storm 2 will be a better typing and user experience. When Walt asks if the Storm’s SurePress screen is here to stay, Lazaridis says it is. He didn’t comment on rumors that it will figure prominently in RIM’s next device

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