2 Things RIM Needs to Do Right in 2012

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If you have been tracking Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , I think you should take note of an interesting trend. The stock made its investors poorer by an astounding 75% last year but began the new year in an upbeat manner.

Shares recently spiked 9% on the back of news of a possible management change that could see Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stripped of their co-CEO and co-Chairmen status.

And, if we go back to the not-so-distant past, whenever there was speculation about the company being taken over, or RIM bringing the popular Angry Birds to its Playbook tablet, RIM's stock jumped.

These events hint at two things that the BlackBerry maker needs to set right if it is to salvage its declining market share and value.

Fast-forward BBX
Late last month, RIM announced that the popular game had made its way into the Playbook, and it seemed like the company's now-boring operating system had finally reached somewhere close to the market-dominating platforms of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . But continued delays for the launch of RIM's now-mythical BBX platform gives the feeling that the company's expected lifesaving operating system isn't yet ready to go out.

And if we fast-forward to late 2012, the tentative new date when RIM will come out with its BBX phones, the Apple iPhone will have matured by one more generation and Google's Android will probably have added a few more features to its arsenal. These factors throw the viability of the new BlackBerry phones deeper into the doldrums. RIM needs to accelerate BBX's production and finally come out with a dynamic product that enables it to at least stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the other two platforms.

As I see it, the fate of the BBX phones will seal RIM's fate. The company's designers and engineers need to work really hard if they are to script a turnaround story.

Cure its management maladies
It seems that calls for the heads of Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are finally bearing some fruit now that the company's board may consider reshuffling its top management. However, the two will still have a big say in how the company is run. Don't forget that they were the ones who took RIM to its dizzying heights, and the duo still believe that they can pull the company out of the mire to compete with smartphone behemoths Google and Apple.

RIM should aim for creating value for their shareholders through this change rather than just engaging in a PR exercise to pacify growling investors. Management's roles need to be clearly defined and leadership needs to be utilized in a manner that will put the company's decision-making back on track so that we don't see further delays in product launches and service outages.

The Foolish takeaway
These are just a couple of points that RIM needs to set right if it is to bring itself back on track. The company's fate largely depends on the BBX phones, as they will define the direction in which RIM is heading. With the way things are, 2012 could well be a make-or-break year for RIM, and we at The Motley Fool will help you keep an eye on the company through our free Watchlist tool. Click here to add Research In Motion to your Watchlist.

Fool contributor Harsh Chauhan owns none of the stocks mentioned in the article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2012, at 11:33 AM, infektu wrote:

    You are right, "by late 2012 the Apple iPhone and Google's Android will (probably) will have matured by one generation"

    Hopefully the BB7 to BB10 will be not an incremental progress, but a complete new lineup; after all, it has been in the works for the last 18 months or so...

    If not, then RIM might become a boutique provider.

  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2012, at 12:10 PM, drfool21 wrote:

    InfoThatHelp, do you have anything better to do with your day or what? All I ever see is you on here taking shots at RIM. Are you a beleaguered investor in RIMM? Because that would make sense. Everything else you seem to post about does not. Come on, post some real "info that helps"

  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2012, at 1:08 PM, tander987 wrote:

    The deal with RIM is that the two guys running it have become complacent. They've been doing just enough to scrape by and keep most of their existing customers for ages now. They have not done anything halfway innovative since they came out with Blackberry in the first place. And their inbred corporate structure only compounds the problems. Even if they name a new chairperson, it's going to be the member that our two ceo's can control the most.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2012, at 8:55 AM, TechJunk13 wrote:

    @drfool21: What else do you say about a company which has robbed investors three-fourths of their wealth last year? What else do you say about a company that used to lead once but failed to change the times? All of RIM's cards are on the table. BBX will be the bottomline but as i see it, the playbook which gave us a hint of that platform has failed to take off. So i really do not see a point to feel optimistic.

    And as far as owning shares is concerned, refer to the disclaimer at the foot of the piece.



  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2012, at 12:12 PM, greatrat00 wrote:

    2012 is not the make or break year. 2011 was. And it broke.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2012, at 10:47 PM, maxmz01 wrote:

    Don't blame CEO, they want RIM win.

    RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.

    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.

    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM's management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members' contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

    So don't blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs' expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.

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