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.
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.