RIM execs confident in face of 'difficult transition'
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:17AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:51PM EDT
Research in Motion executives are going on a public relations offensive, trying to counter the effects of their company’s declining stock market value, a high-profile product delay and the looming cuts that will see an estimated 5,000 employees lose their jobs.
In an interview on CTV's Canada AM Tuesday morning, RIM Managing Director for Canada Andrew Macleod acknowledged his company's image has been taking a drubbing.
"I think that the narrative out there has become a difficult one and we want to remind our Canadian supporters and followers that, while we're going through a difficult transition, this isn't unique," he said, explaining why the company had taken the unusual step of reaching out to the show to request being interviewed.
Among the messages he'd like Canadians to hear, Macleod said he and his colleagues at the Blackberry maker's offices are energized and committed to remaining a player in the field of mobile communications.
That means recognizing where the company's strengths are, and playing to them.
"For people who enjoy media consumption, application downloads, there are other OSes that offer a compelling value proposition,” Macleod said.
“We're all about messaging, we're all about communications, we're all about helping people get things done in real time," he added, noting RIM products continue to top markets around the world.
But the company's flagging fortunes and declining popularity in the United States, particularly, have fuelled speculation RIM is either headed for a takeover or worse.
In another interview broadcast on a local Toronto radio station Tuesday morning, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins acknowledged his company's image has taken a beating, even as he echoed Macleod's confidence.
"This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral," Heins said, stressing that his company is in the midst of a challenging transition.
Macleod focused on the notion of transition too, adding that he and his colleagues at RIM remain "very confident" in the future.
"There's some hard choices that we need to make, but we're making them," he said.
When pressed for details, Macleod said the company has the money and the attitude necessary to do what it must to survive.
"We're focused on the future, we're focused on innovating, we're focused on delivering value for our shareholders," he said. "Our focus right now is on building this new platform for the future and driving the efficiencies in our business to ensure that we'll get there."
That includes, he said, finding $1 billion savings in the company's current operating structure.
"But I want to let people know we're doing this from a position of significant financial strength," he said, noting RIM's lack of debt and $2 billion cash in the bank.
"We're very confident in our ability to execute and weather that storm."
RIM's stock closed 10 cents lower at $7.44 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Tuesday. That continues the punishment investors handed RIM on Friday, when its shares dropped more than 20 per cent in the wake of announcements its BlackBerry 10 operating system would be delayed until 2013, as well as a US$518 million loss in its latest quarter and the need to cut one-third of its workforce as a result.
The current problems are a hurdle to overcome in the company's 10-year vision of the future Macleod said, brushing aside suggestions it is a ripe takeover target.
"We can afford to wait," he said, noting Heins’ stated commitment to an independent RIM for the next ten years.
"We're very focused on delivering this platform as quickly and aggressively as we can, but it's more important for us at RIM to get it right, rather than to get it out quickly."