Bill Gates, 2004
(Being a gazillionaire doesn’t mean you can predict the future.)
Looks like RIM’s board is (finally) pushing out the co-founder co-CEOs, a move that is so overdue it is laughable. But the new chair is a Royal Bank of Canada exec, which makes it sound like a sale is planned, not a turnaround:
John Paczkowski via AllThingsD
Research In Motion’s 2011 was about as ugly as they come. And with few indications that 2012 will be much better, the company is preparing to make some significant management changes.
Sources close to the company say that co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie will soon relinquish their titles as co-chairmen of the board, officially ceding that position to board member and Royal Bank of Canada exec Barbara Stymiest.
“Stymiest is a lock for chairwoman,” one source told AllThingsD. “The only thing that’s unclear right now is the timeline for her appointment.”
But RIM’s gruesome downward spiral was caused by a string of foolish missteps and disappointments that will not be easily reversed, particularly not with a simple board chair swap. While Stymiest’s background is impressive — executive positions at the Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Stock Exchange parent TMX — it is largely financial. She seems to have little background in consumer electronics. Presumably, some experience in that area would be helpful.
I predict that some major IT player will a/ buy RIM for peanuts, b/ throw away (‘transition’) the hardware side, and c/ reposition the Blackberry Messenger service as a software service on several platforms, especially iOS and Android. It would be an obvious purchase for Apple, Microsoft, or Google.
Dana Milbank does the unimaginable: goes back and checks all prognostications.
Eric Randall, Five Best Wednesday Columns via The Atlantic Wire
Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on political punditry In 2011, while speaking on television, Dana Milbank predicted Rick Perry would perform well in debates, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was finished, and Michele Bachmann was a “formidable” candidate. “The luxury of being a prognosticator is never having to say you were wrong … This year, though, I decided to hold myself to account by going through every transcript of my TV appearances, and several recordings, to score my forecasts. It is not an exercise I’d recommend for pundits with fragile self-esteem.” Milbank says the exercise taught him that it’s easier to make accurate predictions about broader trends than to react to a single news event. (He also adds that he predicted many things correctly, and tended to be more accurate in his newspaper column than on television.) He still believes, for instance, that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination because the party has so often settled on the conventional front-runner after sorting through all its other options. “Probably the most useful bit of TV commentary I did in 2011 was to remind viewers how little I know.”
Independent of political pundits, all commentators should periodically review predictions, and see what their batting average is.
Just thought I’d do this before I go on vacation because, who knows.
The AOL hemorrhaging isn’t over, and a good housecleaning — shutting down Patch, selling off the web access business — could immediately follow his going.
It’s just a matter of time, since no one has figured out hyperlocal media — if there is such a thing to figure out — by Ariana certainly understands new media, and could scale that end up, I bet, especially with some other acquisitions.
The Canadian technology icon has bet a lot on its new device – the PlayBook tablet. Failure could make the company a historical footnote.
The PlayBook is a part of the blueprint for taking RIM deeper into the consumer market, as well as finding growth in its traditional base of government and corporate clients. It’s an audacious strategy. If it succeeds, RIM just might regain the ground it has lost in the smart phone market, while finding new sources of revenue. And one day the PlayBook may come to replace the universal remote control, as the tablet already has done in Mr. Lazaridis’s own living room.
But if the strategy fails, then arguably so does RIM. At the very least, it would relegate it to No. 3 status for a long time to come, a poor cousin to Apple and Google – two companies that five years ago were not even in RIM’s business of wireless communications. It would also damage Canada’s prospects for a more innovative economy.
I am betting that RIM’s PlayBook will be a huge bomb, and will crater the company’s future as an independent. I could see Microsoft buying them for a nickel afterward, and making RIM just some software that works on Microsoft — and Mokia — phones.
Closing down a lot of the comsumer products at Cisco, including Flip, as Leena Rao reports:
Cisco has just issued a release stating that in a strategic plan to “align its operations,” the company will exit parts of its consumer businesses and realign the remaining consumer business to support four of its five key company priorities: core routing, switching and services; collaboration; architectures; and video. One of the casualties of this realignment: Cisco’s video camera Flip business, which was part of its $590 million acquisition of Pure Digital.
As part of the plan, Cisco will close down its Flip business and “support current FlipShare customers and partners with a transition plan.” Cisco will also refocus its Home Networking business and will integrate Cisco umi into the company’s Business TelePresence product line. As part of the transition, Cisco plans to eliminate 550 jobs.
Flip didn’t really make sense in 2009, when video was available on cell phones and the writing was on the wall. This is Cisco retrenchment from throwing around a lot of ready cash, and trying to refocus on the business sector.
I bet Cisco will be acquired within the year. All of this cleaning up — and passing along the costs in the form of stock valuation falling — will make the company attractive to people like IBM, Oracle, or Microsoft.