RIM Co-Founder Jim Balsillie Dumps Remaining Stock, BlackBerry Plunges

By Clay Wyatt,

Shutterstock photo

BlackBerry's (NASDAQ: BBRY ) co-founder Jim Balsillie has dumped his remaining stock in the firm. Shares plunged in the early hours of trading on Thursday, before correcting later in the session.

The Waterloo, Ontario firm (that recently changed its name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry) was co-founded in 1992 by Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis . The firm made history in 2002 with the release of the first true smartphone.

However, as smartphone technology advanced, Blackberry gradually faced increasing competition from the likes of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone and, later, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Android operating system. While Android has grown exponentially over the past few years, Blackberry has faded into an abyss -- particularly in the US.

Add to that a series of blunders and lackluster results and the recipe for a virtual force-out was set. Both Balsillie and co-CEO Lazaridis stepped down from their roles as co-CEOs in January of 2012.

Two months later, Balsillie resigned from his position on the company's board of directors after a weak earnings report. With that, the man who co-founded one of the most popular tech companies in the modern era severed his final direct tie to Blackberry.

Balsillie's exit didn't bring an immediate turnaround. Blackberry's U.S. market shared dropped to 1.6 percent from August through October of 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011, down from 8.5 percent. Similarly, the company's market share dropped from 19 to eight percent during the period.

BlackBerry has been on thin ice on its home turf in Canada. Android exploded to take a significant lead at 36 percent while iPhone holds the second place ranking at 29 percent. BlackBerry has dropped to third at 27 percent .

Further fueling the downslide, BlackBerry's market share in Spain dropped from 24 percent to three percent during the same period as compared to 2011, while dropping from nine to three percent in Brazil and 16 to seven percent in France, as notes BGR . Importantly, the firm has depended on the Latin American and Mediterranean markets to remain afloat, given its declining popularity in North America and the U.K. as well as its weak performance in China and India.

Now, after a somewhat successful stock performance over the past month, BlackBerry has dropped in trading on Thursday, apparently on word of Balsillie's dumping of shares. The company had been riding a wave of market success, largely on buzz about its latest Z10 device. However, it has traded down as much as around six percent on Thursday.

As of this writing, Blackberry has recovered a bit and is down around 0.5 percent.

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: AAPL , GOOG

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