Trendspotting: Buy, Cell or Trade?

Posted on February 9, 2012 by Angie Argabrite

Since last fall, when millions of BlackBerry owners were unable to send or receive emails or messages for several days, the drone of negative buzz surrounding Research in Motion (RIM) has grown to a roar. The cries of detractors reached such a fevered pitch that co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis recently stepped down, in part to demonstrate to shareholders that they heard the noise and were taking action. The widespread outage was just the latest blow to the reputation of the company, which has seen its market share slip in a long-running battle with Apple and Google Android devices. But here’s the thing: Amid cries that RIM is losing the race (and with stock prices slipping), there are multiple signs that point, actually, to the company’s strength and survival. The U.S. market is currently where things seem most dire for RIM, but look at global markets and you’ll see a different picture: In Saudi Arabia, RIM had the top-selling smartphone for 12 consecutive months in 2010-11, and the number of BlackBerrys in Nigeria has risen to 2.4 million—more than double the number of 925,000 from a year earlier. In other words, the brand has global legs. Additionally, in a recent poll BlackBerry came out on top as the most-trusted smartphone in terms of data security. In fact, some are advising RIM to refocus on its core corporate constituents and shore up its standings based on its rock-solid rep. Now that’s a rebranding campaign that could get some trackballs rolling.

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