Tag: Jim-Balsillie

Rumor: Balsillie Wanted to Offer BlackBerry Network to Carriers for Low Cost Instant Messaging and Social Media

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Rumor has it that before Balsillie left RIM, he tried to convince the board of a plan to offer the BlackBerry network’s services to carriers, so they could route data and offload costs associated with small bandwidth data from instant messaging and social media. This plan, without knowing the exact details of it, makes a lot of sense and it’s too bad the board vetoed it. Imagine all the smartphones the carriers could sell if they could offer it with a free data plan that only extends to IM and social media. We’ve heard of plans like this in India, and North America and Europe could really benefit.
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Tip from RIM: Battery Pull Can Help to Recover Some Backlogged Messages

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During the conference call about the most recent BlackBerry service outage, Mike Lazaridis mentioned that the company is working hard to restore services. After the cascading network failure, RIM is dealing with an enormous pool of data and messages in the system that they’re flushing out. During the call, Lazaridis mentioned that a battery pull could help to recover some of the backlogged messages still in the queue. So try it out now if you’re still looking for messages.
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RIM Co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, Talk About Outage

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Today at 10AM EST, RIM’s Co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, as well as David Yach, the CTO of RIM, were on a call to talk about the recent BlackBerry outage and what happened. It’s important to note that RIM has had great track record with uptime and while this particular outage has been much more serious than any other we can remember, the real problem was the timing. After all the punishment RIM has taken in the media, this outage couldn’t have come at a worse time. More about the conference call after the jump.
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BlackBerry Bridge Now Available for AT&T But Users Must Buy Tethering Plan

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blackberry bridge

This was sort of sketchy wasn’t it? RIM made the announcement that BlackBerry Bridge is available to AT&T customers but put a note about the requirement of a tethering plan in tiny letters at the bottom of their post. The note says:

**Note: AT&T users must have a tethering plan included with their wireless service plan to take advantage of the Bridge Browser. To enable tethering on your BlackBerry smartphone, go to att.com/mywireless or dial 611.

It’s this kind of behavior that makes your customers think you’re trying to pull a fast one on them. Sure, customers will figure it out anyways, but to write it in a note at the bottom in your post in tiny print is misleading and it insults your customers’ intelligence. The tethering plan costs an additional $20 per month and it would have been nice for RIM to come clean about this fairly huge issue and not try and treat it like it’s unimportant or try and hide it. Many are commenting on the announcement post, angry about the addition of a tethering plan, and RIM could have avoided this by simply addressing the issue and perhaps offering some form of compensation. It also speaks to the fact that perhaps RIM having its own blog isn’t such a good idea. RIM should also be more upfront about the tether issue because it apparently conflicts with what the CEO told cNET which is that the PlayBook will offer tethering for free.

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.

Analysts Are Pressuring RIM and Investors to Change Executive Management

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Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade, recently wrote an open letter to RIM, asking the company to consider dropping Balsillie as a co-CEO, among other recommendations. There are other analysts who seem to be echoing this sentiment such as Charter Equity analyst Ed Snyder, who said “Jim and Mike brought the company to where it is … which is part of the biggest problem they’re facing.” He added, “They’re stuck in the past. They know what worked and keep playing that card and it’s not working any more, and they don’t seem to have any ideas.”

To remove Jim or Mike would be really difficult. At a capitalization of $23 billion, investors would have to fork over more than $1 billion to gain enough control to have any influence. Some analysts are suggesting it may happen with an activist, a person who invests in the company and attracts other like-minded investors to help gain control. One way to defend against an activist is to raise the stock value and make it more expensive to gain control of the company. In the past year, RIM has lost a quarter of its stock price, which now is very undervalued. It’s not clear if anything will satisfy the naysayers, or if they’re just out to slam RIM regardless of what it does.