RIM execs respond to criticism of BlackBerry strategy at shareholder meeting

Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, deflected criticism about their leadership and management at the BlackBerry maker's annual shareholder meeting, which, according to reports, was more subdued than some analysts expected.

Nonetheless, some shareholders vented their frustration with RIM's position in the smartphone market, which has taken a beating thanks to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. RIM has cut its forecasts twice this year, and the company's shares have lost half their value since January.

"You're letting Apple and Android eat your lunch," one investor said at the company's annual general meeting, according to Reuters.  "You're an innovator, but you're not good at selling what you make."

Lazaridis said that RIM will introduce seven new smartphones over the next several months. He acknowledged that RIM could have brought the new BlackBerry Bold to market sooner but took it back to its labs to refine the product to counter the "arms race" in the smartphone market. The decision "may have delayed us but we're going to come out ahead," Lazaridis said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Balsillie was asked if the company is preparing for a takeover bid, considering the drop in its stock price. He said that RIM is focused on performance, which should remove speculation about a takeover.

The meeting also came a day after analysts at RBC Capital Markets called for RIM to split into two companies to improve shareholder value, similar to what Motorola did when it split into Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) and Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI). "RIM's organization needs modernization," RBC said. "By acting now, splitting RIM into network and handset businesses may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value."

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

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