RIM's shares dropped as much as 9% on Thursday after the company said it would no longer issue financial forecasts and was reviewing strategic opportunities such as partnerships and joint-venture licensing, and other ways to leverage its assets. A handful of senior executives, including former co-CEO and current director Jim Balsillie, will depart.
Chief executive Thorsten Heins, who took over from Balsillie and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in January, said he was still focusing on a turnaround of the company, which has been hammered by competition from Apple and Google's Android in recent years.
Even so, if the review pointed in the direction of a possible sale, he said, We would consider it, but it is not the main direction we are pursuing right now.
I did my own reality check on where the entire company really is, he said during a conference call with analysts. It is now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs.
After Heins spoke, RIM's shares settled about 2.4% lower, in part because he left open the option of partnerships that analysts said could allow the company to exit some aspects of its business, such as making hardware, while focusing on software and services.
If you look at this quarter alone ... things are certainly incrementally worse. But on the flip side, he's raised some possibilities of strategy change, which a lot of people think is called for, Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton said.
Investors may also have been encouraged by signs that Heins was putting his stamp on the company. RIM said Balsillie, who long served as RIM's public face, was stepping down as a board director a few weeks after he gave up his role as co-CEO.
Dan Dodge, former head of QNX Software, will replace David Yach as RIM's top software architect. RIM bought QNX in 2010 and is counting on the operating system to power its PlayBook tablet and redesigned BlackBerry 10 smartphones that will be launched later this year.