updated 05:10 pm EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
RIM posts fiscal Q4 2012 loss as co-founder exits
RIM recorded poor fiscal fourth quarter results that saw a major upheaval at the company. In the wake of a 25 percent year-to-year drop in revenue to $4.2 billion and a $125 million loss, former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has resigned from the company's board of directors. No explanation was given for the departure apart from completion of "retirement," although Mike Lazaridis was staying on the board.
The company's CTO, David Yach, was also exiting. Global Operations COO Jim Rowan was also opting to "pursue other interests," or look for work at other companies, following an "open dialogue" about the future of the role that hinted at forced departures. Heins' influence was apparent as the company looked to consolidate to one single COO instead of the unusual structure that Balsillie and Lazaridis had maintained, where they shared CEO roles and had as many as three COOs.
The company reached the low end of its guidance for BlackBerrys, at 11.1 million, and saw a rare recovery in its BlackBerry PlayBook shipments to hit the 500,000 it had shipped at the spring launch. However, it declared that it would no longer provide specific numeric guidance like most companies. The company directly acknowledged that "ongoing weakness" in the US, "competitive pressure" worldwide, a higher emphasis on low-end phones, and plans for some new lower-priced service efforts were all playing a role.
The quarter was the first with Heins in the CEO position, although his occupation of the spot in late January makes suggests that most of the results are inherited from the earlier CEOs' decisions. During the fiscal results call, he described the upheaval as a "reality check" where the company would focus on strong points like its corporate lead, rather than focusing on home-oriented services.