RIM suffers massive drop in mobile battle

By Allie Coyne on Mar 30, 2012 11:11 AM
Filed under Mobility

Jim Balsillie resigns from the board.

BlackBerry maker RIM has reported a massive $US2.2 billion ($A2.1 billion) drop in net profit for the 2012 financial year, a sign of its ongoing struggle to stay relevant in the consumer mobile market.

The company today reported net profit of $1.2 billion for its fiscal year, down from $3.4 billion in 2011. It lost $125 million in the fourth quarter, a result of writedowns of the value of its products.

Former co-CEO of the company, Jim Balsillie announced his resignation from the RIM board, after recently vacating the top job

RIM shipped more than 500,000 PlayBooks in the fourth quarter compared to 150,000 in Q3, after discounting the tablet from $599 to $299.

Its smartphone sales however took a hit in Q4, with shipments down 25 percent from the 14.1 million shipped in the third quarter to 11.1 million. 

Newly instated CEO Thorsten Heins blamed the smartphone decline on the BYO trend threatening RIM’s traditional enterprise user base.

He said the company planned to undertake a “substantial change” in focus, to strengthen RIM's position in the enterprise market.

"The impression I had after two days as CEO is very different from the impression - not the impression, the facts - I discovered after being here for 10 weeks as CEO," he said.

"I am convinced that substantial change is what we need."

RIM’s shift away from its struggling consumer business will begin with the upcoming release of its new mobile OS, BlackBerry 10, set for a late 2012 debut. 

"I have seen the first working [BlackBerry 10] software on actual devices and was intrigued by the stability, performance and beauty of the UI I was shown,"  he said.

Heins signalled plans to “play on RIM’s strengths” and popularity among business markets to boost the company’s appeal.

"We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment," he said.

"We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people.”

Kristen Bent contributed to this report

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