Jeremy Hobson: The struggling maker of BlackBerry smartphones holds its annual shareholders meeting today outside Toronto in the Canadian town of Waterloo. Believe it or not, that’s where Research in Motion is based. The company’s smart phone sales dropped 41 percent last quarter, and today, shareholders are hoping to hear some reassuring news.
Our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports.
Bob Moon: Ever since he took the helm of the foundering company in January, CEO Thorsten Heins has promised clear sailing as soon as the new BlackBerry 10 comes to market. Now, RIM is denying accusations by some disgruntled investors that Heins made misleading vows that the phone would be ready by the end of the year.
At a BlackBerry conference in May, for example:
Thorston Heins: I promise, I promise to you that the whole company is laser-focused on delivering on time and exceeding your expectation.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the company delayed the new phone into next year, and that has shareholders talking lawsuits.
Duke University law professor James Cox cautions that legal precedent allows for a certain amount of corporate boosterism.
James Cox: There’s a lot of history out there to think that this is just harmless puffery. It’s a little bit like when you go down to buy a used car, and somebody says, “This is one of the best cars on the lot.” You know, most of us don’t believe that.
The CEO has kept up his rosy talk. Last week he told an interviewer flatly “there’s nothing wrong with the company” right now. Still, Cox thinks lawyers have probably advised executives not to be too specific when they address shareholders today.
I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.
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