Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Boosting developer confidence through BlackBerry 10 Jam

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour rolled into town today as more than 300 developers from Singapore and surrounding countries packed the Grand Ballroom at Hilton Hotel to be briefed on why they should develop apps on BlackBerry 10.

Wvygen Wong (right), local developer, talk about the BlackBerry 10 experience. To his right is Justin Lee, Application Development Consultant, Developer Relations, APAC, RIM.

Wvygen Wong (right), local developer, talk about the BlackBerry 10 experience. To his right is Justin Lee, Application Development Consultant, Developer Relations, APAC, RIM.

“We are fully committed to BlackBerry 10,” says Charles Dufourcq, Director for Singapore at Research In Motion (RIM).

And that is the message that RIM wants to get through to developers.

The rollout of BlackBerry 10 has been further pushed back to the first quarter of next year.

Developers need to be convinced that BlackBerry 10 will come into being if they are to be persuaded to invest time and effort into developing on the new platform.

I believe Dufourcq when he says RIM is committed to BlackBerry 10.

But it is not a secret that RIM may not even be in its current form after it considers the findings of an evaluation study of its strategic options by JP Morgan and RBC, which includes – as a least favoured option – a sale of the company.

It is anybody’s guess how a re-structured/acquired RIM positions BlackBerry 10.

But let’s not speculate too much.

The full-day BlackBerry 10 Jam today aims to provide the developer community with insights on the BlackBerry 10 platform.

“We are fully committed to BlackBerry 10,” says Charles Dufourcq, Director for Singapore at RIM.To help developers get started on the BlackBerry 10 platform, attendees were provided with a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device in order to test their apps and to help ensure their apps are ready and available for customers.

Applications created with any of the BlackBerry 10 tools will run on BlackBerry 10 smartphones as well as BlackBerry PlayBook tablets when the new platform becomes available for the PlayBook.

Management shakeup at RIM

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

BlackBerry maker – Research In Motion (RIM) – has named Thorsten Heins as President and CEO of the company.

Mike Lazaridis remains Vice Chair of the Board while Jim Balsillie takes on a Director role at the company. This is effective immediately.

Outgoing Co-chairs and Co-CEOs Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaridis

Outgoing Co-chairs and Co-CEOs Jim Basillie and Mike Lazaridis

Heins was also appointed to RIM’s Board. He joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering and became Chief Operating Officer for Product and Sales in August 2011.

I believe Heins does not have time on his side, given BlackBerry’s rapid loss of market share to rival Android devices and Apple iOS products.

“We have a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. We reported revenue of $5.2 billion in our last quarter, up 24% from the prior quarter, and a 35% year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million.” – Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO of RIM.RIM’s market share of smartphones in the US declined from a market leading 44% in 2009 to 10% in 2011, according to market researcher NPD Group.

BlackBerry has been growing outside of America but it is facing similar challenges from its competitors in those markets as well.

Coming from within RIM instead of outside, the natural question will be whether Heins will be doling out “more of the same” at RIM.

I’m not sure having been in RIM since 2007 is necessarily something that will be seen as positive for Heins.

Investors will be keen to know if he had his own ideas but could not act on them because he was not the CEO.

Heins will have a very short time to show how different he is from his predecessors, that he has his own vision and roadmap to bring RIM back to its previous success.

Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO at RIM

Thorsten Heins, new President and CEO at RIM

I’m hoping his “I don’t think that there is a drastic change needed” spiel during his first press conference as CEO is merely paying due respect to his predecessors.

The succession plan was submitted by the two Co-Chairs and co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. RIM’s Board of Directors acted on their recommendations after conducting its own own due diligence.

Investors had forced RIM to consider a change in company leadership in 2011 and was stalled with the company’s promise to study the matter.

RIM promised a resolution in January 2012 and I’ve been wondering if they were going to make the move, after their closed-door meeting in mid December.

Mike Lazaridis, who co-founded RIM with Doug Fregin in 1984, has become Vice Chair of RIM’s Board and Chair of the Board’s new Innovation Committee.

As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.

Barbara Stymiest, who formerly served as a member of Royal Bank of Canada’s Group Executive and has been a member of RIM’s Board since 2007, has been named the independent Board Chair.

John Richardson, formerly Lead Director, will remain on the Board.

Prem Watsa, Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings, also was named to the Board, expanding it to 11 members.

Jerry Yang quits Yahoo! for good

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Looks like Jerry Yang has quit Yahoo! for good.

Jerry Yang. Photo from www.bloomberg.com. Photographer: Matthew Staver

Jerry Yang. Photo from www.bloomberg.com.

Bloomberg has just reported that:

Yahoo! Inc said co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the board and all other positions, two weeks after the company announced new leadership under Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson. The shares rose in extended trading.

I guess the time has come for new blood to lead the company forward.

Don’t think investors will ever forgive Yang for rejecting Microsoft’s acquisition offer for US$47.5 billion in January 2009.

It’s now worth US$19 billion.