Tom Sweeney

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Posts Tagged ‘RIM’

Don’t bet on RIM takeover: analysts

Posted by sweens on June 24, 2011

Published on June 24, 2011
The Canadian Press

Research In Motion, once the most valuable company on the Toronto Stock Exchange, may look like a bargain today for a potential buyer, but analysts say investors shouldn’t bet on a takeover.

The list of companies that might be willing and able to make a bid for the BlackBerry maker is short with Apple and Google – two of the largest players in the field – serious rivals to RIM with the iPhone and Android operating system.

Meanwhile, Cisco is looking to streamline its business and Microsoft is working with Nokia to develop its Windows Phone software.

“If Samsung were to acquire Nokia and abandon the Microsoft relationship, then perhaps Microsoft would turn to RIM,” National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson wrote in a recent report on the company.

Thompson noted that HP or Dell may be interested, but HP already has Palm and it was unlikely that Dell, with a market cap of $30 billion, could pull off a deal of this size.

“IBM should technically be able to raise enough money for this deal. IBM is an enterprise-centric IT services, software and hardware vendor. This deal could make sense but is likely a long shot,” Thompson wrote.

Cormark Securities analyst Richard Tse said rumours of a takeover bid for RIM are nothing new.

Tse noted that Microsoft has most often been mentioned as a possibility, but he discounted that notion because of the software company’s deal with Nokia.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but I think the chances of that are not that high,” he said.

Complicating matters is that none of the companies speculated about are Canadian, which makes it likely that any potential bid would come under review of the Investment Canada Act, which would require a deal to be a net benefit to Canada.

The Conservative government has killed two deals under the act including a proposed sale from MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.’s (TSX:MDA) of its space business in 2008 and BHP Billiton’s hostile takeover bid for PotashCorp (TSX:POT) last year.

Making matters even more difficult is that RIM co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis together hold a roughly 10 per cent stake in the company – not enough to block a hostile bid, but likely enough to cause headaches for an unwanted suitor.

RIM shares were worth more than $140 at their peak in 2008.

And even after the a precipitous drop during the turmoil of the financial crisis, to around $45, the stock had bounced back to more than $90. But since then shares have trended lower before hitting a downward slide earlier this year to trade for less than $30.

The stock was hammered last week after RIM reported its latest quarterly results, only to be given a boost after unsubstantiated rumours about the possibility of a takeover bid.

That’s not to say that RIM stock is not without value, and a potential recovery in further value if the market favours its next wave of products.

The company is pushing ahead with plans for new BlackBerrys including a touchscreen version of its popular Bold model and a transition for its new phones to the same powerful operating system that runs its PlayBook tablet.

The company also has roughly $3 billion in cash and billions worth of patents and intellectual property.

Thompson raised the possibility of a private equity investor looking at RIM, but suggested the appetite for such a deal may be low because of RIM’s declining fortunes in recent months.

“We’ve recently had discussions with private equity participants that suggest there may be an appetite for high-yield debt tied to a private equity transaction,” Thompson wrote.

“The difficulty with this type of deal is determining sustainable cash flow in a market that is fiercely competitive and probably undergoing a transition to lower gross margins across the sector.”

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2011-06-24/article-2611098/Dont-bet-on-RIM-takeover%3A-analysts/1

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RIM faces tough challenge to impress at annual symposium

Posted by sweens on April 29, 2010

The heat is on BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion as the company heads into its annual industry showcase of new products and services in what will perhaps be the most competitive year yet for smartphones.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company opens a three-day annual showcase on Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., and it’s expected to update some devices, add new products and partnerships, and perhaps offer a few surprises.

There are rumours that RIM will announce an updated web browser, designed to compete with Apple’s popular iPhone, and perhaps even a new operating system.

“In the evolution of the company, this is going to be a very important year, for sure,” said Neeraj Monga, an analyst for Veritas Investment Research Corp.

“People are either going to give credit to the company that it can out-compete and out-innovate Apple, or they’re going to give up and say ‘BlackBerry had a great run, but it’s another one of those technology businesses that has matured and just cannot keep up with its innovative competitors.’”

Whether this year is literally such a sink-or-swim scenario for RIM is debatable, but it’s hard to deny the company is facing some of its fiercest competition yet.

In the past year, both the iPhone and Google’s Android smartphones have gained notable share in North America’s smartphone market, an area that was once clearly dominated by RIM’s BlackBerry products.

While RIM was able to add on its solid base within the business and government communities by adding consumer-friendly features to various BlackBerry models, RIM has been under plenty of scrutiny.

Critics say RIM has been slow to develop a new web browser for its devices that can compete with some of the more user-friendly designs on the market.

However, the highly competitive market is more complex than simply a new browser, as smartphone pioneer Palm learned last year when it unveiled a new browser design to critical raves.

Palm’s stock has fallen to multi-year lows, and recent reports have suggested that Palm has hired Goldman Sachs to help shop the company to potential buyers for about US$1.1 billion.

Despite the turbulence in smartphones, which usually include keys for text entry as well as phone calls, BlackBerrys remain the dominant smartphone in North America, and among the biggest sellers globally.

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Mark McKechnie said there are two ways to digest the company’s position in the market.

“They’re certainly showing tremendous growth outside of the U.S. as they bring smartphones to lower price points,” he said from Orlando, where he planned to attend the symposium.

“We need to see them bring the fight back here to the U.S. and regain their positioning at the high-end (or higher-priced devices).”

While most of RIM’s plans will not be unveiled until the conference gets underway, the company offered up its usual tease of product announcements ahead of the launch.

The highlights included a 3G version of its Pearl device and a BlackBerry Bold that works on CDMA network carriers.

Most of the most-anticipated announcements are expected when co-CEO Mike Lazaridis delivers a keynote address during the conference. The company’s stock price will likely show whether investors are impressed.

On Monday morning, RIM’s stock was down 80 cents to $69.78 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, off a 52-week high of 95 and low of $58.64.

In an interview ahead of the conference, co-CEO Jim Balsillie defended the company’s position on the market.

“Wind the clock back and I can give you 10 other companies that were put forward that were just overwhelmingly formidable for us to even consider competing against,” Balsillie said.

“There’s always somebody that somebody’s going to put out.”

By David Friend, The Canadian Press

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2010-04-26/article-1039167/RIM-faces-tough-challenge-to-impress-at-annual-symposium/1

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LOOK AHEAD 2010: Technology in the year 2010

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Published on January 11th, 2010
Jim Donnelly

OBJ asks six industry leaders what’s in store for the future

What are high technology’s prospects in 2010? We recently sat down with a clutch of high-powered paragons of the scene to find out what’s in store for Ottawa, for their respective markets, and for their companies. Here’s what they had to say:

DEBBIE WEINSTEIN, partner at Labarge Weinstein

We had a very busy 2009 for mergers and acquisitions and some public company financing, and this will continue in 2010. There are some very good companies in Ottawa that have quietly grown into industry-leading enterprises. We’ll see some IPOs and M&As from those entities. Venture capital activity will be sporadic at best in Ottawa; we’ll see it peppered over traditional IT as well as clean tech and life sciences – these latter two areas are due for a breakthrough, and there are some companies in these sectors that are possibilities to really shine in 2010. We will also see Ottawa grow in the digital and multimedia sectors.

With the permanent lack of new private venture capital, startups will be hard-pressed to find appropriate capital, outside of a few. The Ontario government has a fund which may help on some matching, but the lead must come from private sources – angel or VC funds. That being said, the city will continue to see lots of small, fledgling startups employing fewer than 10 people with no outside money. But this will not propel the next big one, which is what this city needs.

The newer public companies have done well in 2009 and this will bode well for a couple of others that we may see go public in 2010, if the public market stays healthy. With the selloff of Nortel practically complete, while all acquirers downsized as part of the integration post-closing, I’m confident we’ll see growth in employment from those businesses. Our workforce is exceedingly strong and competitive, as demonstrated by the increasing presence of foreign-run operations in Ottawa. Canadian companies like RIM and Open Text continue to see employment growth in the capital.

So, I believe Ottawa is well-insulated for employment growth but not necessarily stemming from well-funded, VC-backed companies.

KEVIN FORD, CEO of Parliant Corp.

In the iPhone application market, we’re pretty much saturated with stand-alone games in the (App Store by Apple). So I think the store will begin to focus on helping people find things they need. There are also some very elaborate applications we’re seeing emerge that tie into shipping, billing, and inventory systems that run on an iPod Touch, which is a $180 device. And (these applications) allow employees to update all these systems at the touch of a button. That’s the kind of application the press will never hear about, but what we’re going to see a lot of in the next 12 months.

In terms of Parliant, we have more people pounding down our door to write iPhone apps than we can handle. We average three to five requests per day. So I guess those numbers say that if we wanted to focus just on that market we could, and also hire a lot of programmers to do it. But we’re not going to do that, because this conference automation software we have seems to have stirred up a real hornet’s nest. It looks like there’s a lot of low-lying fruit we can pick up with it, so we’re going to do that. Because it’s highly visible, and it feeds back to our strengths.

So in 2010, we’re going to be focusing on selling our Phone Valet products, because they keep the money rolling in, while also continuing to develop other revenue streams.

JOHN REID, president and CEO of CATAAlliance

Last year was very much a “suspension year,” so you’ve got some pent-up demand that we’re going to see. We’re seeing some restoration of confidence, and that will flow into Ottawa.

One area to watch will be information security and public safety; that’s a big market. And through the expansion of networks, there’s a bit of a data deluge going on – there’s a tremendous amount of data being created right now – so there are storage searching issues as well. So those are some of the drivers, along with the consumer element with smartbooks and iPhones, etc., that we’ll see in 2010.

The cloud is now taking hold, where you have all these applications that allow companies to utilize resources in a more efficient way and also to be more agile. Because of this you’re going to see a new generation of leaders and spokespeople for the industry, and that marks a transition, and I think a very positive one. One thing that’s also grabbing hold is the utilization of social networks and how those can help brand a company.

ROB LANE, CEO and co-founder of Overlay.tv

In (the online video application) space, we’re now moving from what I call early adoption into mass adoption. What I see is that in the retail space, the big retailers aren’t just thinking about whether they should do something with video anymore – they’re actively doing something in that space. They think video provides a better experience for their customers, and there’s some evidence that it does convert into somewhat higher sales. And I’m seeing that globally. I spent a couple of weeks in Europe before Christmas, and it very much reflected what I’m seeing here. What I’m seeing from people is that they’re saying, “Absolutely, we’re moving on this.”

Our challenge over the next year is difficult, because we’re into scale now – last year we delivered the product, which was video overlay for retail, and for now it’s all about scaling that into multiple channels, both indirect and direct. So it’s about market expansion and sales expansion. And our two biggest geographies are the U.S. and the U.K.; we opened an office in the U.K. last quarter.

It feels like the timing is right in the market with the product we’ve got, and that means we’ve got an opportunity. Twelve months from now, I’ll tell you if it all worked out.

MIKE DARCH, executive director of OCRI Global Marketing

I think (Ottawa) is in a very good position. Certainly, we weathered the financial crisis much better than a lot of other cities – we had to handle the double whammy of the Nortel bankruptcy and the financial crisis, and for a large part we came out of that very well. Our unemployment rate is still low, and our companies are diversifying in both thrust and markets. And we’re well-positioned to take advantage of that in 2010.

If we look at sectors, certainly the whole mobile world is going to move forward. You’ve got companies like DragonWave that are providing the infrastructure to make that happen, you have companies like Magmic and Fuel Industries that are doing well … so I think in that whole space, we’re well positioned. Certainly, clean tech is also well-positioned. In that space, we’ve got young companies that aren’t that well developed yet, but companies like Clearford and Plasco that are waiting for an opportunity. And certainly another area that’s on the rise is the virtual college and virtual education market, and we have a strong offering there as well.

Geographically, I think we’ll see the U.S. recover soon. Where will that be? Likely the wireless world, digital media, security, clean technology – all the areas where we in Ottawa have strength. So the rebuilding of that market will help us, but I think more importantly the emerging markets will be the strongest centres of growth.

Ottawa has always shown itself to launch a new set of companies during times like this. A lot of big, international companies are expanding here … and Ottawa has a history of using adversity to create opportunity.

ROB ASHE, general manager of analytics and performance management at IBM

The business analytics market we play in is estimated to be a $105-billion opportunity. It continues to be a top priority for CIOs, CFOs and CEOs who want to instantly parse mountains of diverse, disconnected pieces of data to move the business forward and improve performance. For the last four years, business analytics has remained a top priority of CIOs surveyed by industry analyst firm Gartner. In our last survey, 83 per cent of global CIOs polled identified business analytics as a top priority.

In 2010, customers will use our IBM Cognos software portfolio to monitor the effectiveness of stimulus spending across industries like health care, education, energy and social services, among other uses. Analytics are now being infused into the infrastructure of cities as municipalities work to improve the use of finite resources and aging infrastructures.

Businesses will continue to want to know where – and how – they are spending money so they can operate more efficiently. The advantages are not limited to corporations: governments are also looking to analyze statistics and make policy changes.

In 2010, the addition of the predictive element will become increasingly more important for customers as well. They want to be able to not only sense and respond to relevant business data, but also predict and take associated action on that data from any location or device.

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2010-01-11/article-421592/LOOK-AHEAD-2010%3A-Technology-in-the-year-2010/1

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RIM beats out Apple, tops Fortune’s fastest-growing list

Posted by sweens on August 19, 2009

By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Mon, Aug 17, 2009 5:00 PM EST

Fortune Magazine has named Waterloo-based Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) as the fastest-growing company in the world, with only one other Canadian company named to the business magazine’s top 10 list.

It’s the first year that the publication has named companies from outside the United States to its ranking of the 100 fastest-growing firms. The BlackBerry maker, which has seen a three-year average per-share earnings growth rate of 84 per cent and an average revenue increase of 77 per cent, was accompanied in the top 10 by fertilizer company Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT), which came in 10th.

RIM’s feat underscored a heated battle between its smartphone device and the popular iPhone from telecom and consumer electronics giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which only placed 39th. Fortune noted that the BlackBerry is now the top-selling smartphone in the United States.

Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC), also of Waterloo, Ont., and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) were also named to the top 100 list, at 15th and 99th place respectively.

Available at – http://www.ottawabusinessjournal.com/295206908245700.php

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