Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RIM needs a New Strategy

The industry lost an icon in Steve Jobs, but as we mourn and celebrate the life of the late chairman and former CEO of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), we also must face the other realities confronting everyone in the electronics industry. Even Apple itself cannot afford to be so deeply immersed in mourning that the company's product offering, technology strategy, and growth trajectory begin to suffer. That's why I suggested in a recent blog that the entire industry needs to turn the page on Jobs's "greatness" and his achievements and legacy. It's time to build something new. (See: Steve Jobs Is Gone; Turn the Page.)
Will the industry remain on Apple-watch or begin innovating beyond Apple, the bellwether? Will a new, dynamic, and groundbreaking product come from a company other than Apple, or will companies like Research in Motion, Motorola Mobility, Samsung, and Sony-Ericsson continue to wait for the next market-leading offering from Cupertino, Calif.? It's time to stop chasing Apple's skirt. In order to do this, however, RIM must first ask tough questions about its current strategy. (See: RIM Needs to Dump the PlayBook.)
Another report says an investor has repeated its request for RIM to explore options that would improve its market value. It's not clear what the options would be, but I expect these could include a sale of assets or a merger with another company. Do you agree?
There are other issues facing the industry and the wider economy. As Michael Wood insists in his blog, the unemployment situation in the United States and financial pressures elsewhere point to a double-dip recession. Is he correct? Personally, I think Wood is onto something here. You don't have to be a genius to know chip sales are slowing, for instance. Manufacturers are already announcing that sales might be lower in the third quarter. (See: It's a Double-Dip Recession.)

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