Kai Ryssdal: The Marketplace ticker symbol o’ the day this Wednesday trades on the Nasdaq as RIMM. The Canadian firm Research in Motion makes the once-mighty Blackberry, now a distant third to iPhone and Androids. RIM is now predicting layoffs, more losses. It’s brought in two big investment banks to help with a significant transformation, in the words of its CEO.
Clearly, the company is trying to figure out what’s next. It could be something that made the Blackberry a household name to begin with. Marketplace’s David Gura has the story.
David Gura: A couple of years ago, you might have had your heart set on an iPhone, but your company gave you a BlackBerry. Well, there is a reason why IT departments have been so fond of Research in Motion, or RIM. Even as other smart phones have gotten more secure, tech analyst Jeff Kagan says RIM still has them beat.
Jeff Kagan: It’s a more-secure network than anything else that is in the marketplace, including Apple iPhone and Google Android, and all the rest of them.
But one of Research in Motion’s biggest problems, Kagan says, is it hasn’t emphasized that enough. RIM tried to catch up to its competitors by going after consumers, and by doing that, it lost its base: business. Now, as Research in Motion tries to reinvent itself, to stay in business, Kagan says it has an opportunity to get that base back.
Kagan: The need for that security is more important than ever.
Especially as carriers move to 4G. That faster network means we will use wireless devices to send and receive more data. And more sensitive data. And companies will want that protected.
Kagan: It’s a great opportunity. Nobody has really captured it, though.
Matt Thornton agrees. He is with Avian Securities, and he says Research in Motion should recognize its future is not in smartphones. It should focus on software and security.
Matt Thornton: Then you’re licensing out the hardware to someone like a Samsung, who is good with scale, good at manufacturing, good at product design, and let RIM do what they’re good at.
What Thornton says it has always been good at: keeping data secure.
I’m David Gura, for Marketplace.
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