Co-CEOs of Research in Motion step down

DingdongResearch in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, is in a tail-spin. Facing continued erosion of sales from both the iPhone and Android, the stock price of good ol’ RIM has plummeted. At long last, the Co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, are stepping aside.

Ian Austen, NY Times:

Stiff competition from the Apple iPhone and phones using Google’s Android software drastically eroded RIM’s share of the American smartphone market to about 9 percent in the third quarter of 2011 from nearly half the market two years earlier, according to Canalys, a market research firm based near London. The company’s stock price reflected that by dropping about 75 percent in the last year. […] The decision by Mr. Balsillie and Mr. Lazaridis to step aside comes after an agreement RIM reached last year with Northwest and Ethical Investments, a mutual fund company controlled by several Canadian credit unions, to study the relationship between RIM’s directors and its two senior managers.

It’s been clear for quite some time that Research in Motion has lacked the leadership that it needs to compete in a post-iPhone world. Apple transformed the meaning of “smartphone” when it launched the iPhone in 2007, and RIM’s BlackBerry devices and software just couldn’t keep up the pace. They’re still stuck in the mind frame of Treos and Windows Mobile.

Hopefully, this shuffle of leadership marks a turning point for the Canadian company we’ve grown to dislike so much. If the company takes a mulligan this year, and starts making best-of-class hardware and/or software, RIM might still be salvageable. The iPhone and Android could certainly use some competition to drive innovation, and Windows Phone 7 and the ghost of WebOS aren’t really providing that.

Source: NY Times

Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.