Will Retention Woes Help Sink RIM?

Susan Hall
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Incredibly, despite Research In Motion's sinking stock and impending layoffs, it's still hiring.

 

On Tuesday, in reporting another dismal quarter, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said:

While there will be significant spending reductions, we will continue to hire in key areas such as those associated with the launch of BlackBerry 10, and those tied to the growth of our application developer community.

In fact, its careers page shows around 300 open IT jobs, primarily in software development. This week the company suspended trading of its shares on Nasdaq and has hired banks JPMorgan Chase and RBC Capital Markets to help it figure out what to do.

 

Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst at BGC Financial, told The Globe and Mail that he sees three choices for RIM: sell the company, split it up or downsize severely and focus on a niche market. He sees RIM as a prime takeover target because of its patent portfolio - and Facebook, for one, is again rumored to be laser-focused on building its own smartphone.


 

But RIM's estimated $9 billion price tag could scare potential buyers off. As he said, "For $9 billion, you can hire a lot of programmers." And that's assuming that RIM still has people with experience with its past successes should a sale take place. Key senior managers have been jumping ship and ZDNet sees a mass exodus among the ranks. After all, would you stick around when the headlines foretell of RIM's "impending collapse"?

 

As Queen's University business professor John Pliniussen told The Toronto Star:

The question is, do you believe in the new chief executive, the new marketing officer. It's a question of whether you believe the company can turn itself around.

No turnaround is possible without top-flight talent.



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