Late last month Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, announced the departure of several of their top executives following a dismal earnings report. Former co-CEO Jim Balsillie left his position on RIM’s board, while CTO David Yach retired and COO Jim Roan “has decided to pursue other interests.”
Now it seems that Balsillie, Yach, and Rowan were not the only heads to roll in RIM’s shakeup. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that several other top executives have departed as well. Citing “people close to the firm,” the Journal says that Vice President for BlackBerry Messenger Alistair Mitchell and Senior Vice President for the BlackBerry platform Alan Brenner were leaving the company as well.
The news in RIM’s earning report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011 was, to put it mildly, pretty bad. RIM’s revenue for the year was down 7%, while its revenue for the fourth quarter was down 19% from the previous quarter, and 25% from the fourth quarter of last year. What’s more, they shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry phones in the fourth quarter, down 21% from the third quarter.
In addition to the departure of the executives, RIM announced some other changes they would be making. Most notably, they stated their intention to refocus their business strategy on the enterprise market and those sections of the consumer market most closely associated with it. While this was believed by many to signal RIM’s exit from the consumer market, they later released a statement saying they were not doing so.
It’s hard to deny at this point that RIM is in pretty dire straights. Their last two major products – BlackBerry 7 and the BlackBerry PlayBook – performed well below expectations. To say that the company’s hopes rest entirely on the upcoming BlackBerry 10, set to release later this year, may be an overstatement, but not much of one.
What do you think? Are the shakeups at RIM too little, too late, or can they turn things around? Let us know in the comments.