From now until the end of time (or at least the end of this
century), the media will compare tech company CEOs to Apple
) co-founder Steve Jobs.
Thorsten Heins, the head honcho at Research In Motion (NASDAQ:
), is one of many leaders to receive this comparison.
's Hugo Miller thinks that BlackBerry 10 will provide Heins with
a "Steve Jobs moment." "Just as Steve Jobs returned to Apple Inc.
in 1997 and breathed life into the company with a fresh approach
and new products, Heins has already made his mark since taking
over a year ago," Miller wrote this morning. "He cut 30 percent
of RIM's workforce, hired marketing and sales chiefs, and
expanded cash reserves to $2.9 billion."
Indeed, if BlackBerry 10 is wildly successful, maintains its
position as the number-three OS and endangers the future growth
of its competitors (iOS and Android), Heins will have had a very
Steve Jobs-esque "moment."
In order for that to occur, Research In Motion will have to
start by selling a large enough number of phones to command media
headlines for a day or two. Apple does this on an annual basis.
In 2011, the iPhone 4S sold more than four million units during
its first weekend of availability; in 2012, the iPhone 5 sold
five million units
during its first weekend.
The iPhone 5 earned
another batch of headlines
after Apple announced that it had sold two million units in China
-- also in one weekend.
Research In Motion does not need to sell six million
smartphones to get the media's attention. In fact, it might not
even have to sell one million units to gain a few headlines.
However, it must sell a substantial number of units.
The specific number has yet to be determined. Analysts will
make their best guesses after Research In Motion announces the
specific details this week, but the company may remain quiet for
Research In Motion could take a risk and say how many it
expects to sell over the next month or two. In doing so, it will
provide analysts -- and most of all investors -- with a number to
argue over and complain about if BlackBerry 10 fails.
An immediate, first-weekend failure would not be the end for
Research In Motion. If the devices are good enough, BlackBerry 10
could grow slowly over time -- just like the first-generation
iPad and the first-generation iPod Touch.
In that event, investors will be faced with a tough decision:
should they sell now and avoid the potential for future losses,
or stick around and hope the ship doesn't sink?
Whatever happens, Heins is lucky he works for the underdog.
While the media is on BlackBerry's side, there is a whole world
of consumers that are largely unaware of what Research In Motion
is trying to accomplish. This could prove to be beneficial
(people love to be surprised by an underdog) -- but only if the
company delivers a device that consumers actually care about.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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