BlackBerry Maker's Stock Drops 15% in 3 Days

Dennis Faas's picture

The share price of Research in Motion (RIM), the Waterloo, Canada-based maker of the once-popular BlackBerry smartphone, continues its free-fall.

Shares of the faltering company dipped to an eight-year low late last week. Incredibly, that price took a 15 per cent tumble in just three days, following the unveiling of a new BlackBerry device.

It has been a wild and entirely unpleasant year for Research in Motion. Early in 2012, the company turned away from high-profile co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in favor of a new CEO: Thorsten Heins.

The shift in leadership evidently hasn't done enough to improve the confidence of either consumers of its products or investors in its shares.

New Touchscreen BlackBerry Underwhelms

In a recent presentation at RIM's annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Heins unveiled a brand-new and highly-anticipated BlackBerry handset featuring a touchscreen interface, similar to the screen in Apple's iPhone.

However, Heins failed to provide a firm timetable for the device's release. To some experts, that suggested RIM is still far from a product launch.

Peter Misek, an analyst for Jeffries & Company, a global securities and investment banking group, says he believes the lack of a timetable indicates the new device won't be available until late 2012, at the earliest. (Source:

Some experts suggest attitudes like Misek's are almost certainly behind the share price slump.

However, other experts feel investors may also fear that moving toward a touchscreen device mistakenly abandons the one feature that set RIM apart from its competition: its physical QWERTY keyboard.

Product Delays Bad for Business

At the end of the day, experts say RIM needs to change its prospects now. That puts the firm in a tough situation, since it needs a quality product as soon as possible but simply can't afford another failed product launch.

Although a lot rides on the release of new BlackBerry models, RIM's future is even more closely tied up with the expected launch of its BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system.

Already, some experts have said they're impressed with the software's new features, including a tool that helps messaging by recalling a user's previous typing behavior. (Source:

Unfortunately, BlackBerry 10's release schedule is as unclear as the new handset's. Some experts even speculate that it could be more than a year before the new operating system's impact on the consumer market will be known.

That's probably a scary thought for a company that has lost almost half its market share in the past twelve months.

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