Toronto, April 11 - With some analysts writing Research In Motion (RIM) off as "a broken brand" and its stock slipping almost 20 percent since last month, the top boss of the BlackBerry maker has hit out at critics predicting fall of the global wireless giant.
As the top Canadian tech company gets set for the launch of its PlayBook tablet April 19, Mike Lazaridis, RIM co-CEO, has told the New York Times that "I don't fully understand why there's this negative sentiment, and I just don't have the time to battle it. Because in the end, what I have learned is you have just got to prove it over and over and over."
RIM shares have slumped to almost $52 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the Canadian wireless company last month forecast disappointing earnings for the current quarter.
Pierre Ferragu, a research analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, has termed BlackBerry a 'broken brand' because of its declining sales in the booming smart phone market which posted 50 percent growth year over year.
"BlackBerry is a broken brand. In North America, sales are now well established on a declining trend, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem: growth shifting from mature to newer markets makes sense. But the reality is that North America isn't a mature market at all for smart phones,'' he said in his note towards the end of March.
Responding to negative forecasts, the RIM boss asked, "Why is it that people don't appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don't appreciate our growth? Why is it that people don't appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global? Why is it that people don't appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages?"
These negative forecasts have come even though RIM shipped a record 52.3 million phones - up 43 percent from the previous year - during the last fiscal year, and posted fourth-quarter income of $924 million exceeding forecasts.
"Some analysts suggest that RIM has lost its momentum and may now be heading downward, much like Palm, which in better days was expected to rub out the then-fledgling RIM. Current BlackBerrys are hobbled with an aging operating system, and the company's market growth last year seems less impressive when contrasted with Apple's 93 percent rise in iPhone shipments,'' according to the newspaper report.
But the major reason why analysts and investors have downgraded RIM is the number of apps it offers on its devices.
"In a world where applications have become a major selling point for mobile devices, the number of apps available for BlackBerry phones is in the tens of thousands, compared with the hundreds of thousands for Android and Apple devices.
"BlackBerrys are still prized for their e-mail capabilities, particularly among government and corporate customers who rely on the devices' tight security. But it is increasingly common to find people who carry a BlackBerry for e-mail and an iPhone for everything else,'' according to the report. (IANS)