RIM’s CEOs Oust Themselves But The Company’s Direction Probably Won’t Change
in a surprise move, RIM’s co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have ousted themselves from their jobs, promoting COO Thorsten Heins. What does that mean for the company? Not much, for the following reason:
- Heins is an insider who has said he believes in the company’s current strategy and platform, which is driving the company into the ground;
- Lazaridis and Balsillie will retain huge influence by being large shareholders, staying on the board (Lazaridis as vice-chairman) and generally having appointed the whole executive team.
The New CEO has said he’s open to licensing BNX software which would be a dramatic change in direction but, in our view, would not significantly change anything to the fundamental picture, which is that RIM’s products are stubbornly stuck a generation behind. Therefore, it’s unlikely that this change will really have any effect on the company. We therefore maintain our previous forecast: RIM gets sold for cheap this year.
In other news…
Blogging platform Tumblr now reaches over 100 million unique visitors and registers 15 billion pageviews a month, according to CEO David Karp. Tumblr is somewhere between Google-owned Blogger and Twitter– users create and share content, but can also follow each other and re-blog posts. ‘Social curation’ is central to Tumblr’s platform and popularity, similar to equally hot startup Pinterest. See our explainer on Pinterest’s business here→
More than 350k textbooks were downloaded from Apple’s new iBooks store in its first three days of existence. While those numbers are impressive, they may be the result of curiousity more than anything else. As we discussed in a recent note, we believe Apple will have a difficult time cracking the education market→
The number of Americans owning a tablet nearly doubled after the recent holiday season, according to a new study from the Pew Research centre. Sales were undoubtedly boosted by the release of the Kindle Fire and will only continue to accelerate if Google introduces its own $200 tablet as we predict. Regardless, this is a huge boon for the digital content providers that populate the tablet ecosystem.
Nokia sold over 1 million Windows phones in the fourth quarter of last year. Morgan Stanley recently predicted that they will sell 37 million Windows phones this year. We believe the smartphone market is wide open and the Microsoft-Nokia partnership stands a chance, as we argued here→
Zynga has confirmed it’s aiming to get into online gambling. Any such move would be a long way away, given the complicated laws and regulations it would be required to follow and the infrasturcture it would need to build. But the company has already been a leader in online gaming and this could be a huge opportunity for Zynga.