The Incredible Shrinking BlackBerry

Will the last remaining person at Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) please turn off the lights on the way out?

Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa has become the latest exec to resign from the BlackBerry parent.

Losing its top attorney may not seem like such a bad thing. It sounds like the punch line to a lawyer joke. However, it's just one more person who has decided that the grass is greener somewhere else.

Some RIM hires may not have a choice. Some reports hint at 2,000 layoffs coming later this week, and sources tell Reuters that RIM's goal is to trim its workforce of 16,500 employees down to 10,000 by early next year.

Execs bolting and pink slips looming aren't going to help morale at the company. Then again, the writing is on the wall.

We're living in a world of Androids and iPhones, and BlackBerry is fading fast.

According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 82% of the 152.3 million smartphones shipped during this year's first quarter were either Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) or based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) market-leading Android operating system.

It's easy to see why. Apple is the premium brand in mobile. Google makes Android free for any handset manufacturer to use.

The swift migration to one of two platforms is hurting RIM's proprietary operating system. The market share for BlackBerry devices shipped has fallen from 13.6% during last year's freshman quarter to a sad 6.4% this time around.

The trend is undeniable, and many argue that it's irreversible.

RIM will get smaller. It doesn't have the financial resources that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has to push a fledgling mobile platform on consumers and businesses. It can't just embrace a rival operating system the way Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) did when it threw its weight behind Microsoft's Windows Phone.

RIM will continue to shrink at every level, and you don't need to be a departing legal eagle to see that.

RIM shot
There no denying that the next trillion-dollar revolution will be in mobile (and that's not just lip service; it's the name of a new free special report that you can check it out now). However, no one seems to be inviting RIM to the revolution.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2012, at 1:32 PM, stanpowell wrote:

    It is hard to believe that smartphones will be a two person race. Smartphones can become toys at work and further our decline in the world economy. There is a place for a third company. Will it be Rimm or someone else. And what Apple should learn from Rimm is that success can be short lived. Samsung seems to have all bases covered.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2012, at 3:46 PM, infektu wrote:

    That's the difference exactly, M$ has to "push a fledgling mobile platform on consumers and businesses" (and burning money in the process), while RIM builds stuff that people want.

    Over these last few quarters, arguably the most difficult since 2001, RIM has still been moving 4-5x more units (while selling a mix of OS6 and now OS7 designs!) than all WM manufacturers combined, using the "newest" Windoze OS.

    Jamie boy, Info That's Useless, little funny dark spot of the day,

    Please bother to tell us why on earth "BB10 sales and market penetration should be much lower"...

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