Shift of focus for Blackberry maker RIM as profits crash


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The Independent Tech

Blackberry maker, Research in Motion, announced today that they plan to change their focus to business customers after struggling to compete with Android and Apple in the smart-phone market.

The news comes as the chief executive of RIM indicated he may be willing to sell the company after profits fell by up to 25 per cent in the past three months.

Blackberry have found it increasingly difficult to compete in the mobile phone market with more fashionable Apple and Android phones.

With an increasing range of features on consumer-orientated phones, employers are also now allowing staff to use their own mobiles for work functions, rather than a separate Blackberry.

Today's move is being seen as a withdrawal from the battle for the consumer market and a return of focus to RIM’s business based roots.

However the company has stressed it will be merely amending its focus to the 'bring your own market' - devices that employees will want to buy as personal phones but also use in the corporate environment.

The shift follows a shake-up in management at the company following the departure from the board of Jim Ballsillie a long-serving executive.

RIM said today that the new focus would be on targeted products that play to the company’s strengths.

They also plan to look at providing services peripheral to their traditional business, for instance software and additional features to be incorporated into the current RIM products.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said today,

“We can't do everything ourselves, but we can do what we're good at."

The perception of the Blackberry as a business phone has led to difficulties in competing with Apple and Android.

Blackberry phones tend to run third-party applications more slowly than its near competitors, and RIM has struggled to convince consumers to purchase their touch-screen models that don’t have keyboards.

The review today took the edge off disappointing results for investors, and while the shares initially plunged more than 10 per cent in after-hours trading in New York, they eventually settled having fallen 2.4 per cent.

Revenues for the three months to 3 March were $4.2bn (£2.6bn), down from $5.6bn in the same period last year, and the net loss was $125m, compared with $934m previously.