RIM adds 1M EMEA BlackBerry subs, faces pressure on management plans

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) said it added 1 million BlackBerry subscribers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in less than three weeks, though it was not clear when the three-week period ended.

The update on the subscriber numbers came from RIM's official Twitter feed, and represents a bit of news about a metric RIM stopped providing late last year. RIM added 5 million BlackBerry subscribers in the three months that ended in November, for a total of 55 million BlackBerry subscribers. However, the firm has since stopped giving updates on subscriber numbers.

RIM's update also comes on the heels of fresh evidence that BlackBerry's market share in the U.S. continues to slip. According to new numbers released this week by comScore, BlackBerry's share slid from 28.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in February to 24.7 percent in May--a 4.2 percentage point decline. Meanwhile, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS continue to distance themselves from the pack. Android controlled 38.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in May, up from 33 percent in February, and iOS grew from 25.2 percent in February to 26.6 percent in May.

RIM has acknowledged its troubles in the U.S. market, and has countered that it is enjoying growth in international markets.

In other RIM news, a proxy adviser, Glass, Lewis & Co., said RIM's decision to set up a committee of independent directors to study whether co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis should also lead the board as co-chairmen was insufficient. "The appointment of independent board leadership does not require further study, but rather concrete action," the firm, which advises investors that manage more than $15 trillion on proxy voting, said in a report. RIM should have independent board chairman to "prevent the board from being driven or overly influenced by its executive element," the firm said.

In a June 30 statement, RIM said that part of the committee's mandate will be to "determine the business necessity for RIM's co-CEOS to have significant board level titles to assist their selling and other responsibilities with certain large customers in overseas markets."

The move was seen as a concession by RIM to Northwest & Ethical Investments, an activist RIM investor, which proposed splitting the roles of co-CEO and co-chairman. A vote on the proposal was scheduled for RIM's annual general meeting on July 12, but RIM said that, as a result of the deal with NEI to set up the committee, the vote will be withdrawn.

For more:
- see this Twitter post
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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