Things are looking ever grimmer at the sinking ship that is RIM. During its quarterly shareholders report, the company announced that its profits had plummeted 19 percent from Q3 to Q4, or 25 percent for the year.
The news follows long-time co-CEO Jim Balsillie stepping down from his position on RIM’s board earlier today. In addition to Balsillie, RIM’s Software CTO David Yach and COO of Global Operations, Jim Rowan, also announced they will be leaving the company.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins painted a dour picture of RIM’s future during the call saying, “It is very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs.” Heins said the company needs to refocus its efforts in the enterprise and address the growing bring your own device to work movement. The key to turning RIM around, Heins said, relied on four steps, the launch of BlackBerry 10, leveraging the BlackBerry platform, improving operational efficiency and performing an organizational re-alignment.
According to Heins, BlackBerry moved 11 million smartphones during the last quarter, a drop of 3 million units compared to Q3. U.S. sales alone fell three percent. Heins also indicated that RIM managed to move 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks during Q4, a drastic improvement of the previous quarter’s 150,000 shipments.
Heins blamed much of the company’s losses on its inability to move its BlackBerry 7 smartphones, and suggested that the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, and accompanying devices, will have to go a long way in righting RIM’s ship.
In light of RIM’s current situation, Heins said the company will perform a strategic review of all operations and would consider entering into partnerships or joint venture licensing opportunities to better leverage RIM’s assets.
Much of RIM’s difficulties can be traced to the strength of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating system, which now dominate the smartphone market. Further compounding the company’s problems is the lack of interest in its PlayBook tablet. Despite improved sales over the last quarter, the company still only managed to ship 1.3 million PlayBooks in the past year.