Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, is to renew its focus on the corporate sector and people who buy handsets for work. The strategic shift may see it concentrate less on the consumer market, where phones using Android currently dominate at a range of price points, and the Apple iPhone is king at the top end.
Disastrous financial results have meant the loss of several senior management personnel at RIM, including board director and long-term executive Jim Balsillie, chief technology officer for software David Yach and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations.
The Canadian company made a net loss of $125m in the three months up to 3 March 2012. In the same period a year earlier it made a profit of $934m. Its share price has also collapsed by 80% over the last year – and a further 9% down after these latest financial results.
Shipments of phones have shown a drop in demand for the BlackBerry, down 21% in the last quarter compared to the one before. The brand’s PlayBook tablet was also a huge disappointment for RIM. Only half a million of these shipped during the last quarter, and they were so heavily discounted by retailers that many were sold at a loss.
New chief executive Thorsten Heins said, “We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment. 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.”
However, it is by no means clear that RIM can regain its foothold in the professional market, as that too is increasingly moving over to the likes of the iPhone, with employees often simply using their own handset for work purposes. All eyes will be on the next generation of its platform, BlackBerry 10, due later in 2012.