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Mike Lazaridis Addresses Delays of new BlackBerry Smartphones on Earnings Call

By Bla1ze on 16 Jun 2011 05:34 pm EDT
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Research In Motion

As we sat in the the Research In Motion First Quarter Fiscal 2012 earnings call today, Mike Lazaridis took the time today to address the concerns surrounding delays with new BlackBerry smartphones. Some of the highlights from that call can be found below:

RIM realized through their product development that consumer demand had shifted, and as such -- required new hardware and new chip sets to be adapted to the BlackBerry platform in order to stay competitive.

With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM put resources forward to that launch and working on the QNX OS -- given the time frames needed, if QNX was to be ported to BlackBerry Smartphones it would have left RIM with no smartphone lineup for all of 2011.

Technical carrier acceptance was an issue at the time, and things have moved slowly in that area. Once one device meets carrier requirements -- all devices running the same OS (BlackBerry 7) should see rapid acceptance and ultimately release.

Looking at the information provided on the call, RIM was deep into their development cycle but then realized the shift in the smartphone market and as such, needed to adjust their upcoming line-up. This took time, which in turn also took more time to due the need of meeting carrier demands as well. But, the devices are coming and once they start rolling out, they will all be rolled out together rather then a staggered release.

Reader comments

Mike Lazaridis Addresses Delays of new BlackBerry Smartphones on Earnings Call

80 Comments

i bet its block ways to give free service like bb bridge or let them find ways to charge the user for built in features

Like I have said before, carriers like AT&T need to get off of their a$$es and get these phones approved. As someone pointed out in a previous post, I'm sure they(the carriers) are trying to find ways to squeeze every last cent out of us.

It just kind of annoys me how "late" RIM is on everything. Once again, i must point out my love for Blackberry, i'm just tired of them being so late and far behind on all the competition. by the time they make the first dual-core processor Blackberry phone, every other cell phone company (apple, motorolla, nokia....etc.) will have a quad-core processor models coming out, and RIM doesn't advertise much, i mainly see commercials online but not many. When the playbook came out they should have started working on QNX based phones before the playbook was even released. it's frustrating but i strongly believe in RIM i really feel like they're going to blow us away with future Blackberry's

Carriers do not like bridging. I had a feeling they'd rake RIM over the coals over it. Somehow. It explains why RIM was reluctant to explain the details of bridging before the PB was released. That would have affected negotiations of schedules for the new handsets, etc.

Smoke and mirrors, blaming it on the carriers. And RIM should have anticipated the need for standalone email/contacts/calendar apps anyway. These would have given a much better alternative to the iPad--and a buffer against the mess of owning a Playbook and owning a BB running on a carrier that's disabled bridging.

And regarding this paragraph:

"RIM realized through their product development that consumer demand had shifted, and as such -- required new hardware and new chip sets to be adapted to the BlackBerry platform in order to stay competitive."

Isn't that pretty obvious? Or did they just plan to flood the market with more Torch-like products with 2 year old processors?

You are right, but I don't think the carriers help. And the fact that they have to approve is a joke, when was the last time you got any useful support from AT&T?

at&t is a joke. Think about their handling of the 9780 (the fact that the didn't even offer it as an option to people), the bridge app being blocked, charging more for BIS/data on BlackBerry than any of their other smart phones.....and that is to just name a few.

HTC gets a device a week onto carriers. Both android and wp7. Maybe the carriers like their CEOs better.

Like mike or jim said, once the OS is certified the carrier can't/wont block the same os on a different device. Meaning if OS7 was certified, it has a green light, so any phone maker only has to meet hardware certification.
If WP7 and android are certified, htc etc can drop all the WP7/android phones as they can handle

As the post said once an OS is approved the approvals come quicker. Who knows how long it took for the first Android device to be approved. I'm just sayin it isn't quite the same thing.

It's easy to approve 12 new devices a day when they are all on the same OS, just named 12 different ways, lol. HTC Desire HD, HTC Inspire 4G..etc..etc

I think the real thing that caught RIM by surprise was that they suddenly lost their cozy relationship with the carriers. AT&T is sitting there saying we make tons off the iPhone we don't need to bow down to RIM. We want no Bridge, we want all the money made off of NFC etc. etc.

The surprise was how much people went for the iPhone, which changed RIM's bargaining position.

I mean look the money grubbing bastards at AT&T still have not announced they will even carry any of the new phones. I'm sure they are still holding out for blocking the bridge and taking the lions share off of NFC transactions.

The question is who will blink. I'm telling you the day the 9900 comes out on T-Mo I'm leaving AT&T and this will happen in droves among BB users. But many won't leave and will go to iPhone or Drois so it's kind of a stand-off.

AT&T is a bunch of money grubbing bastards. If they were smart, they would stop jacking RIM, approve OS7 and the hardware (without dicking us out of the bridge) so they can get them to market and lock those waiting for the new BBs into new 2 year agreements. And for those complaining about RIM not having dual core, go run a dual core android phone...but bring your battery charger. I'll take the new Bold 9900 as it will function just as fast and use less battery power.

Shares slipping, profits down and a "staff realignment" I'm reading all this on my 2 day old Playbook which is a superb product. But like many sectors, brand and brand awareness is now key and Blackberry is perhaps suffering now from its business bias history. its just not seen as a "sexy" brand and as the demographics using smart phones continues to move towards the younger population brand identity will continue to increase which means that however good Blackberry is as a smart phone it will struggle to be heard. I for one will continue to use blackberry as those who use (and love them) find them indispensible and a way of life.

Unacceptable! This is poor planning on RIM's part, You are in the technology biz. Its innovate or die. These are just excuses and not good to ostracize the people who sell your phones. It's not their fault for RIMS lack of planning and failing to keep up with technology.

The first symptom of death is denial. RIM is dead. It's over. Apple is the winner. Google is the runner up. Nokia and Rim are the corpses.

Blackberry fans may not like it but those are the facts.

Investors who have been shorting RIMM are getting rich. That's likely to continue. Get an iPhone.

Android is besting Apple in Market share, Android's app store is soon to overtake Apple's.... and Blackberries will soon run Android Apps. Thank God we don't need to buy Apple products :D

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utterly embarrassing. didnt see it coming is something you never want to hear from the president of a company. they get paid to see it coming. he should be fired.

Dang straight..presidents of companies better see it coming, or else someone else will. Shame they still get to keep heir jobs while the low level employees that probably need the job more than Jim or Mikey boy are the ones out on the street due to these two clowns.

I hold the execs running RIM accountable for lack of vision, planning and poor execution. RIM is still flush with cash and has acquired key assets such as QNX, TAT and others as well established agreements with groups like You-i that if placed in a proper perspective with proper execution can turn this around. But in the end the blame is on Lazaridis and Basile - we should be waiting for QNX on smartphones by 3rd quarter 2011, not the lackluster line up that has been announced running OS 7

The carriers are holding RIM hostage.they know that they have control over rim thru OS approval. The longer they drag their feet the worse a position it puts RIM in due to time constraints. At&t doesn't like the bridge, they drag they're feet a bit and RIM caves to they're demand to add data to playbook.

I dont like the fact that RIM is so far behind, but lets face it they are a large company, and have a deep foothold in the smart phone market. If they are able to learn from this and step up the inovation then they will not fail...

Did anyone really expect a different reaction? Cmon... the fix is in against RIMM. I would not be at all surprised to learn that their stock is being weighed down for a MS takeover. Has anyone read the articles with people claiming that there are 3 choices in the smartphone landscape and they are Apple, Droid, and Microsoft??? Wait, Microsoft??? Since when did their market share eclipse RIMMs? BTW Have you noticed those 3 companies have something in common? RIMM may really be on the blacklist with US carriers. In all fairness though, Apple has broken through some support levels and has been setting lower lows lately. The Apple bubble is showing signs of popping itself. Did anyone ever really think they were truly the second largest company by market cap in the S&P? Bubble people, bubble... Either way, the playbook is a great product. I do believe MS will end up taking over. I just hope they don't ruin a great tablet that just needs a few more apps.

With fantastic growth year over year, and a P/E of 15.5, it's a bit hard to peg Apple as a bubble.

The problem with Apple, as with all large companies, is that sooner or later, no matter how many great products they come out with, growth will begin to slow. When that happens, the stock will sell off.

This is what's happening with RIM right now. When the market opens, RIM's P/E will likely be 5 or slightly less.

The CEO's and upper management are to blame for the current mess. Yet they will lay off the workers and all the people who made the bad decisions will stay fat dumb and happy. Typical. Everyone on Crackberry has known for some time that the specs on the phones sucked and RIM just realized this last year?

Anyway if carriers are holding things up then their is a simple solution. Unlocked phones, at least on the GSM front, and BIS systems ran and operated by RIM. You just pay your carrier for a data plan like iPhone and Android users do and do whatever you want to with your phone. Once they realize that they aren't locking people into contracts and aren't making money on the sale of the phones then they will cave. I don't think the carriers are holding up anything though. There has to be tons of BB users in the US not on contract because they have been waiting for phones and not using upgrades and you think the carriers are really blocking them?

Come on Mike and Jim, man up and take the blame for the problems you've created.

I am not sure it is that easy. I work in IT and have seen unlocked iPhones that would not go on the AT&T network. AT&T makes sure they get their cut. Like the $15 fee to connect to a BES server. They are basically charging to allow traffic through a few ports.

Very disappointing to read this news

Yes, RIM r very behind and this latest batch of handsets HAVE to be competative or they may as well pack up.

All rests on os7

i think a path to look into is where QNX shines, full integration of cell, car, home computer- dock your phone in the car, dock it at home and let it slip seemless into the background for all the needs

how far this is in the future... no one really knows, but im sure apple is working on the ihome, icar whatever

A real "portable" phone with radio chips that can work on any network in North America is needed so someone can go to any carrier they want.

I think RIM is loosing, with this Iphone and Android ecossystem, which is huge. I am not trying to compare technology, its just market growth. RIM is loosing even in corporate role, where corporations are no longer investing in BB server separately, whereas you can get exchange setup in phone as is.
I mean its 2011 and no video call, common RIM....
there are I would call virtually no apps, ones there are, so expensive...teather for example is very standard on all other platforms, you have to pay $40 for it...
no skype....I think there are more companies in world other than verizon.
no native sip client.
small companies have to go through the BB server thing, how much it costs in IT maintainance..

How fast RIM has dropped market share...

its not only software side even harware side as well, RIM is not upto mark with the phones in market.

Ok I think BIS is very good, but BES is and MVP is crap and old dated.

Rim should concentrate on OWA for corporate users using BIS.

with apple cloud and free acounts, RIM is laggin behind.

Exactly why would a software company like MS take over RIM?

Is it because they want to throw away their massive investment in Nokia? Or is it because secretly they hate HP, HTC, LG and Dell, and don't want to sell their OS family to anyone anymore because they've become a hardware company?

Seriously this is ludicrous. If MS or even Google were to acquire RIM they'd be shooting their existing market dead. It won't happen.

They might tear apart the remains of a dead RIM, but they won't acquire it unless they want to change their core business.

BES is out dated? Do you have the first idea what you're saying? I don't think so. Did you not hear RIM did a billion dollars in services last quarter? And sold $ millions in BES servers?

BES is why enterprise uses BlackBerry. Without BES BlackBerry would disappear overnight from companies. And anyone that wants to compete in the enterprise space better have a similar product because BES encrypts at source and send encrypted data to the device.

MS has about 3% of the global cellphone market. RIM and Apple around 8%. Android has much of the rest because the phones are cheap.

This is a dumping exercise by Samsung and LG in the main, who watched their market share plummet and need to regain their positions.

The carriers rule. RIM touched them in the eye and Verizon and AT&T are teaching Balsillie a lesson. They'll love them again in the fall.

I am not saying BES is not a nice technology to encrypt data. I read a research, companies are trying to move away from BES because they don't want to buy Blackberry for their employes and employes have choice now to buy whatever they want. Plus all that cost in IT in maintaining it.
BES is much more popular in US, they haven't even moved from imereial to meteric system. and US is not world.

"RIM realized through their product development that consumer demand had shifted, and as such -- required new hardware and new chip sets to be adapted to the BlackBerry platform in order to stay competitive."

What???!!! They just realized this recently?????? If they had paid attention,oh say 2 years ago, they would of had the phones consumers demand TODAY and not have been in this little predicament. Chrissake RIM. Really??!!

Hopefully this is the turn around point for RIM. They will get it together, learn from this mess and stay ahead of the power curve! If RIM does successfully straighten themselves out, they will be even more of a major player. Even while this is going on, many will still wait for the BlackBerrys to come out (like myself)! :)

Quote "With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM put resources forward to that launch and working on the QNX OS -- given the time frames needed, if QNX was to be ported to BlackBerry Smartphones it would have left RIM with no smartphone lineup for all of 2011."

I'm not bashing RIM but the above quote seems troubling to me. It seems like they are just putting out new phones and a new OS just to put stuff out (instead of having something new to offer). In essence, throwing us a bone (2nd bone as OS6 was first)until QNX is ready.

My love for my PlayBook grows more and more everyday. It works well with my 9700. My 9700 is working great and so is my wife's 9550 (not afraid to admit that I love the 9550 more than my 9700). One more year of waiting for QNX phones won't kill us.

what i think people are looking at are numbers, but they dont really know what the numbers mean, before the iphone, there was basicly Rim and Palm making smart phones, they had the lion share of the "smartphone market" they were not the best selling cell phone, motorola and nokia had that locked down, cause people were not into smart phones

then comes the i phone... and then android... rim is still selling a lot of phones, but the phones that people are buying has shifted from just normal everyday cell phones to smart phones, and yes lots of people are buying droids, and i phones, cause they are the cool new toys, and yes rim is behind in that fashion... people are flaky these days so quick to hop on and off a bandwagon

before the i phone most of the people going on about how rim is outdated, didnt even know what a smart phone was

RIM should stop the blame game and just say we screwed up. I love RIM but they must have a gut check and a serious attitude adjustment. They are losing core fans, enterprise users,shareholders are impatient and yet they are pointing fingers. You are a tech company and this is business!!! Move these damn devices already!!!

I love when people say that RIM is going out of business, or that they should give up. For the people that say RIM is behind, they're right. But at least RIM knows it. And they don't waste time trying to arrogantly do things themselves, they snap up A-grade companies (The Astonishing Tribe, QNX, etc.) and implement them. Not making an excuse for RIM's playing catch-up, but I think for RIM to have even created the PlayBook using QNX and T.A.T. (though not to its full extent, yet..) in such a short time span considering the behind the scenes stuff of, you know, acquiring companies and running them, is pretty amazing.

I think the difference between a company that goes out of business and one that weathers the storm (no pun intended), is the company that recognizes its shortcomings and makes drastic changes to turn things around. Plus, you have to give Jim and Mike credit for both being on the phone. It would have been a lot easier for them to have flipped a coin to see who was going to be the bearer or what many would call bad news.

WOW, stock is down bye more than 15% after market now!!!!!! Shit... I own stocks...

Doesn't matter too much for me though, as I don't hold too much and I have hopes in RIM (which are getting smaller every day).

Question is, if they are back and running with new systems and devices, how many people have already switched? Once you switch, especially buy all kinds of accessories and apps, you're unlikely to go back to BB>... I mean, why should you??

RIM is not focusing on the fact that catching up is not the big deal, but innovating. Playbook may have a great hardware basis, but it lacks a true innovation that consumers talk about and make them buy it.

I give Jim & Mike credit for having their heads sooo far up their ass that all they can see is a brown haze. It should not have been that difficult to see what the world was wanting in a phone. It is one thing to keep the corporate world happy, but the real money is with the consumer. It is already happening that the consumers love their iphones and androids cause they are light years ahead of RIM, and are demanding that their corporate adapt them so they don't have to carry 2 phones. Guess what, corporate is giving in and adapting. I see government workers that are issued Blackberries and they handle whatever MUST be done on BB and everything else is done on their personal devise which is NOT BB. I really love the BB platform but management is so entrenched in the past that it is going to be very difficult for them to catch up as more and more loyal users leave. I'm trying to hang on. I'm using an ancient Bold 9000 cause BB can't come up with anything better for 2+ years. My Bold 9000 is a great device but I too am getting tempted to change! I also have a Torch that I thought would be great but it's useless so I went back to my Bold. I see lot of frustration on these threads and not much hope from RIM except we're working on it and it is coming. Well I don't think they are even breathing hard, let alone Cumming!!!!

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

Great excuse.

Now how about an excuse why the torch doesn't deserve OS7? Its only 9 months old!!

Or how about why the Storm 2 didn't desErve a lite version of OS6? It was pure strategy... To get consumers to buy their latest n keep those damn shares from plummeting so that they can keep their jobs.

They are self-first RIM-second. Jobs has always always ALWAYS been Applw-first self-second!

@nashstruck - I understand your frustration.. but I chuckle when people piss and moan about new technology. Do you go whining to HP or Dell when they release a newer, faster PC with more features.... or do you go crying to Microsoft when they issue Windows 8 and you are still running Windows 7. Frankly, at the rapid pace that technology evolves, you have to be stupid to expect your device (phone, computer, HD tv, etc.) to always be upgradeable to the newest features.

Perfect, text book example of arrogant, ego driven and misinformed upper management heading for the iceberg just like the Titanic. TOO LATE GUYS, buy the time you release new products you will be two years behind IOS and Andriod. Who is going to spend money on outdated crap? I have seen this happen in business over and over again so these ASSHOLES get exactly what they deserve.

I seriously doubt this will be a turnaround story like GM, Ford or Apple for that matter. (10 years ago they were in serious doo-doo!)

I loved BB, but no more. IT'S CALLED MOVING ON!!!

Wow....it only gets better with RIM, doesn't it?

No regrets on returning my PlayBook, and after 2 weeks in Europe, and seeing how difficult it was for me to get anything to work on my 9650 Bold other than straight voice, I will be most seriously thinking of turning in my Bold for something else when I get back stateside.

I've been with BlackBerry for a long time now, but I too feel it is definitely time to move on!

Dude, your 9650 is a CDMA device, there's no to very little CDMA in Europe.

Next time you go to Europe bring a GSM device. You would have the same problem with any CDMA device.

The 9650 is a world phone that supports CDMA and GSM bands. It has a SIM card for GSM support. That is how and why he is using it Europe.

It doesn't support all gsm bands and when you're roaming to Europe you will be jumping from one carrier to another, depending on signal strength.

It might be a world phone but it complicates things. How does it even work? Does your cdma carrier give you a sim for roaming or are you talking about putting a sim when in europe from a certain carrier?

You can get a SIM from Sprint or Verizon and use their international data and voice plans (where they have agreements with Vodaphone, etc.) or they will give you an unlock code for the phone and you can put another carrier's SIM in the phone.

Thank you sir for educating those that post in ignorance.

This is exactly what I did. Verizon SIM card AND got the phone unlocked by Verizon.

Due to prohibitive voice/data roaming cost with Verizon, I tried several recommended local SIM cards, but was limited to voice only.

Get moving RIM... put out a new thin full face screen phone with more apps and save yourself...these stupid outdated 2inch screen phones are obsolete.. and get it out by this year, or I too will move over to an Iphone/android line.

The company with 2 CEOs is laying off workers to cut the bloat. Awesome! Others innovate to increase profits, RIM has layoffs. They have not detailed any plans on how they are going to get devices to consumers quicker and how they are going to fix their inaccurate perception of consumer demands (which is basically admitting you are completely out of it btw). They will get new hardware out that still will be not be dual core when it is released. How long is RIM going to keep making the same mistakes? Until they are no longer profitable? Face it, the era of the curve and "I will buy this device even though it is inferior because it works for me and does what I need it to" is over. Those individuals are a dying breed.

To me the whole concern is that they research so badly that they are surprised by changing desires of consumers? They are not releasing on their promises - how many announcements have been made in the last year? How many have been delivered. Now they are laying off to "streamline" - didn't they say they were understaffed and that is why apps and refinements are not out yet. The mixed messages will kill a great company and product line. What they are short on is delivery, they have to deliver and keep new stuff coming or they will totally erode a quickly departing base.

Making it so hard to be a die hard fan......I mean I just want to spend my money on RIM products and they keep me waiting. I guess I should just enjoy my time with my 9780 and wait to be another step behind in September. So sad.

"But, the devices are coming and once they start rolling out, they will all be rolled out together rather then a staggered release. "

So does this mean we are going to be able to see all the new devices for 2011 this August??

RIM's business model is severly flawed... they are at the mercy (or claim to be) of the carriers... wtf?? Time to fire all upper management at RIM, not least Lardass and Ballsack... they NEED to GO NOW!!

When will you guys realize theres a world outside of BlackBerries. I mean don't get me wrong I've been using BB's for about 7+ years now but when you see what the competition has to offer it's no point staying on a sinking ship. It's hopeless, like thinking oil will go back to what it cost when your ancestor were alive.

Final Thoughts: Get an iPhone or Android, you'll thank me later ;)
Peace