May 31 - Research In Motion is moving forward with a plan to seek partnerships as the BlackBerry-maker warns it is likely to report a shock fiscal first-quarter operating loss. Matt Cowan reports.
SOUNDBITE: Jim Balsillie, former Research In Motion co-CEO speaking in February 2011 saying: "We feel very good about what we're doing and where it could go." In early 2011, the then Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie was still sounding defiantly confident. That was before the BlackBerry Playbook tablet met with lukewarm response, before the outages that hit the company's reputation for reliability. Before the executive shuffles and plummeting shares. Now the once high-flying maker of the BlackBerry has signalled its asking for outside help to determine its options. Its warning of an operating loss and planning for significant job cuts. So, what happened? Brand strategist Manlio Minale: SOUNDBITE: Manlio Minale, Senior Strategist, Wolff Olins saying (English): "I think it's a classic case of a leader taking their eye of the ball and growing complacent and some of the their competitors have come in and stolen their share by creating a better user experience." In truth, the company did acknowledge the need to make devices that appealed to the person behind the professional in the wake of the iPhone. This is Balsillie speaking to Reuters TV at Mobile World Congress in early 2008. SOUNDBITE: Jim Balsillie, former Research In Motion co-CEO speaking in February 2011 saying: "More styling is important to people, more consumer friendly. More branding. It becomes a personal statement.We're getting into tailoring it more to your look both in the application, the packaging and style. I'd say that's more of a cross over to the B2C, sure." But while BlackBerry looked to enhance its offering through choice, Google's Android mobile operating system proved to be yet another formidable competitor. So what next? SOUNDBITE: Manlio Minale, Senior Strategist, Wolff Olins saying (English): "I think they've got a great opportunity to become the smartphone for business people. They're already demonstrating this by launching a new enterprise hub initiative in India. Also, releasing better apps and also releasing their operating system as a prototype for developers so they're showing that their much more open and they have to listen to the market." The key, he says, will be to focus on the steps that need to be taken rather than dwelling on how the company arrived at this point. Matt Cowan, Reuters.