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Posts Tagged ‘RIM’

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...

If the January 2012 departure of RIM’s founder, Mike Lazaridis, wasn’t enough of an indication that RIM was dead, RIM’s first quarter 2012 results announcement sealed it by yet again missing expectations, reporting a huge loss, and most importantly, announcing that Blackberry 10 would be delayed yet again — this time to Q1 of 2013.

The comments on thestar.com and theglobeandmail.com were overwhelmingly negative, saying that it’s over for RIM.

Once RIM revised their forecast just weeks after their rapid and massive decline began in March 2011, I reflected on what was a fatal flaw with their business model. Being smaller than Apple and Google, their whole advantage was that they were theoretically capable of being more nimble in innovating and getting new products to market. They are also highly centralized, with around half of their employees in Waterloo, which also served to their unused advantage.

Once it was announced that their PlayBook tablet — originally scheduled to be released before the iPad 2 — would be released a month after the iPad 2, that sealed its fate in that they had absolutely no hope of being a serious challenger in the tablet market. Apple already had a dominating position in the marketplace, and to be beaten to market by a second version of Apple’s highly successful tablet put the nail in the coffin of RIM’s PlayBook.

There was word in May that RIM would be laying off between 2000 to 6000 employees, when they were already in mortal danger. The fact that it took until June 28 for them to officially announce 5000 layoffs is a further indication of how out-of-touch RIM’s upper management is as to the gravity of the situation.

Previously, on September 18, 2011, I wrote the article, RIM as a metaphor for U.S. decline.

I find it a fitting parallel that on the day RIM made their catastrophic announcement, the U.S. Supreme Court found Obamacare constitutional, further strengthening my metaphor.

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Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007)

On May 25, 2012 the federal government agency, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, announced $5.8 million in federal funding for video game research at the University of Waterloo over the next seven years.

I personally know a resident of Kitchener-Waterloo who is a former employee of the BF Goodrich plant in Kitchener and made over $25 an hour until he was laid off around 2006 and is now only making $11 an hour as a security guard. His wife was unemployed the last time I heard earlier this year despite being a registered nurse and able to work if only union rules and government regulations weren’t so tight.

Another person I know is a former employee of Piller’s, who used to make $18 an hour and has been unemployed this year after being laid off when Arnold Meat Packers went bankrupt and cheated him out of over $2000 in pay for work already rendered.

Given RIM’s troubles, there is word they plan to lay off more well paid employees locally.

It’s about priorities.

While the government announced the closure of several visa case processing centres on April 30 with the reason of cost savings, it prioritizes video games over uniting overseas spouses from many countries with their Canadian spouses, including those whose applications were being processed by the former embassy in Damascus, Syria, where the 80% waiting time rose from 9 months to 14-17 months from 2011 to 2012, despite the four months of available processing time at other embassies since the Embassy closed at the end of January 2012.

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Research in Motion

On September 16, 2011, it was announced that RIM, also known as Research in Motion, had missed analyst expectations for a third consecutive quarter.

For full disclosure, I own less than a hundred shares of RIM.

I see RIM’s decline as a metaphor for the decline of the United States.

Despite RIM being a Canadian-based company, most of its North American business comes from the U.S.

The similarities I see for the decline of the U.S. can be simply summed up as this: Turning their back on the principles that made them great.

Despite the United States being founded as a constitutional republic based on limited government, it has now become less economically free and more socialistic at the federal level than Canada.

What made RIM go from a company with a few employees at inception in 1984 to become a global wireless behemoth at its share price height in 2008? It didn’t get that way from its two co-CEOs blaming reporters for unfair coverage. Nor did it become great by blaming analysts and stock speculators for allegedly low-balling its stock.

It got there by vision, dedication, long hours, persistence, and serving their customer’s needs.

In my view, the principles that made America great were: limited constitutional government, a healthy distrust of government, the Protestant work ethic, rugged individualism, and personal responsibility.

Comparing to today’s America, its federal government is now more centralized and expansive than Canada’s, too many Americans don’t effectively have enough of a distrust of government, or they’d question something like 9/11 more. The Protestant work ethic, rugged individualism and personal responsibility is also out the window, with Americans repeatedly bailing out Wall Street bankster gamblers.

Once, last year, I chatted with a taxi driver with whom I conversed with frequently, and he told me he about his conversation with one of co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s attorneys.

He recounted how she was on her way to meet with NHL officials to discuss Balsillie acquiring an NHL team. She apparently seemed completely oblivious to the likely outcome. It was his third attempt, after being rebuffed twice. All denials were foreseen, in my view, due to the lack of finesse Balsillie exercised in going over the heads of the NHL team owners, and expecting that he could acquire a team because he thought it was justified in his own mind, and even on an objective basis, such as offering the highest price.

What came to my mind was: doesn’t he, and even his lawyer, GET IT? You annoyed the owners — they don’t want you in, and maybe never will — now get over it!

To me, that third failed attempt is instructive to all that has happened to RIM in 2011, and the time preceding that, which ultimately led to its current fate.

Can RIM come back? Can America come back? The answer in both cases, I believe, is an emphatic, YES, IF. If they turn their back on their current path and once again embrace the principles that made them great.

So, please, Mike Lazaridis — embrace the principles that made your company great, made you a billion, and enabled you the opportunity to donate over $100 million of your own personal wealth to establish the world’s largest private theoretical physics institute in Waterloo, Canada, where you wanted, and not where others told you it may be more economically feasible to do so.

And please, Jim Balsillie — forget about ever owning an NHL team, unless you don’t mind bending over backwards for the current owners on the mere hope that you will get back into their good graces, and stop blaming bad reviews for your products, and start delivering what the market wants, and then — and only then, will RIM make a comeback over the next few years.

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Jim Cramer, former hedge fund manager and TV personality, blithely explains how the market is manipulated, including illegal activities, by telling us what he did and would do as a hedge fund manager.

Here are some of his most revealing statements (emphasis mine):

“You know, a lot of times when I was short at my hedge fund and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures. It doesn’t take much money. Or if I were long and I would want to make things a little bit rosy, I would go in and take a bunch of stocks and make sure they’re higher and maybe commit $5 million in capital to do it and I could affect it. What you’re seeing now is probably a bigger market now. Maybe you need $10 million in capital to knock the stuff down, but it’s a fun game and it’s a lucrative game.

“I’m gonna boost the futures and then when the real sellers come in, the real market comes in, they’re going to knock it down, it’s going to create a negative view. That’s a strategy very worth doing when you’re valuing on a day-to-day basis. I would encourage anyone in the hedge fund game to do it, because it’s legal, it’s a very quick way to make money, and very satisfying. By the way, no one else in the world would ever admit that, but I couldn’t care. I’m not gonna say it on TV.

“When you get a Research In Motion, it’s really important to use a lot of your firepower to knock that down, because it’s the folcrum of the market today. So I mean, let’s say I were short. What I’d do is I’d hit a lot of guys with RIM. You can’t foment, you can’t create yourself, an impression that a stock’s down. But you do it anyway, because the SEC doesn’t understand it. That’s the only sense I would say it’s illegal.”

“When your company’s in a survival mode, it’s really important to defeat Research in Motion and get the Pisanis of the world and the people talking about it as if there’s something wrong with RIM. Then you would call The Journal and you get the bozo reporter on Research in Motion and you would feed that Palm’s got a killer that it’s going to give away. These are all the things you must do on a day like today, and if you’re not doing it, maybe you shouldn’t be in the game.”

“Apple’s very important to spread the rumor that both Verizon and AT&T have decided they don’t like the phone. That’s a very easy one to do. You also want to spread the rumor that it’s not going to be ready for Macworld. And this is very easy, because the people who write about Apple want that story. And you can claim that it’s credible because you spoke to someone at Apple, because Apple’s not going to issue a statement. It’s really an ideal short.”

“What’s important when you’re in that hedge fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view, and it’s important to create a new truth to develop a fiction.

“The great thing about the market is it has absolutely nothing to do with the actual stocks.”

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