Business, Economics and Jobs

Blackberry maker RIM abandons consumer market


Visitors try out Blackberry smartphones at the Blackberry stand on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, Germany. Blackberry has fallen behind Apple's iPhone on the Canadian market.


Sean Gallup

LONDON, UK – Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is to abandon its efforts to compete with rival Apple’s iPhone and the Android mobile platform in consumer markets and focus instead on corporate customers, after posting another disastrous set of sales figures late Thursday.

The Canadian company reported losses of $125 million over the three months to March 3 compared with profits of $934 a year earlier, The Independent reports, with total revenue down by 25 percent on last year.

The shift in strategy was announced following a management shake-up that will see long-time co-chief executive Jim Balsillie resign from the firm he founded and chief technology officer David Yacht stand down.

Newly-appointed CEO Thorsten Heins indicated he was open to selling the company, but said that for the time being RIM would refocus on its traditional core market of corporate customers rather than on individual consumers in a bid to turn the business around:

“We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on our leading position in this segment,” he said, according to the BBC.

“We believe that Blackberry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.”

RIM has struggled to keep up with its rivals in the smartphone market as many users abandon their Blackberries for touch-screen phones like Apple’s iPhone and handset models that run Google’s Android operating system.

Apple sold 37 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2011, more smartphones than RIM managed to shift in the past nine months combined, according to Sky News.

Shares in RIM fell as much as 9 percent after the firm announced it would no longer issue financial forecasts and signalled the departure of senior executives like Balsillie.

RIM’s efforts to compete with Apple’s iPad in the growing tablet computer market have also bombed, with its PlayBook launching to poor reviews due to the lack of an email program or the ability to use popular messaging service Blackberry Messenger, according to the Associated Press.

In December tablets that had originally cost $500 were on sale for $200, below the cost of making them.