Co-CEO of Waterloo's Research in Motion, Mike Lazaridis, expressed some justified frustration in an interview published in The New York Times.
In the article, he raises some good points with blunt questions:
“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth? Why is it that people don’t appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global? Why is it that people don’t appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages?”
He wrapped up with “I don’t fully understand why there’s this negative sentiment, and I just don’t have the time to battle it. Because in the end, what I’ve learned is you’ve just got to prove it over and over and over.”
The company's numbers are strong: it shipped more than 50 million phones in its last fiscal year, a 43 percent increase over the previous year, and its fourth-quarter income of just under a billion dollars exceeded analyst forecasts. And yet, on the cusp of the North American launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook and the BlackBerry World Conference, RIM's stock seems crippled.
Apps may be of concern, as BlackBerry App World carries a mere fraction the amount that Droid Market and Apple's App Store does - yet, realistically, it has nearly every major app the typical consumer would ever need. Dramatic shifts in how technology is used, such as the shift to tablets occurring now, makes or breaks companies - something even co-CEO Jim Balsillie admits, while tossing kudos to Apple:
“No other technology company other than Apple has successfully transitioned their platform,” Mr. Balsillie said in an interview. “It’s almost never done, and it’s way harder than you realize. This transition is where tech companies go to die.”
A lot is riding on the PlayBook, which will run all-new, tablet-specific software developed by the acquired company QNX. It's tech-spec heavy, enterprise-savvy, and with any luck, a flotation device to keep RIM from drowning. Because numbers don't always change public sentiment, a lesson the company has learned the hard way. Still, the numbers are remarkable, and anyone looking to take a chance on a dark horse should see RIM as a golden opportunity right now. Of course, in the realm of high technology, you just never know what will happen next.