RIM’s New Head Sticks with Plan, Even When Facing Patent Lawsuit

Research in Motion’s poor performance was blamed on the two co-CEOs of the company. Analysts were saying that RIM needed a more structured and streamlined chain of command in order for the company to function better.  On Sunday, investors got what they wanted when co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down, replaced by Thorsten Heins, RIM’s COO.  RIM’s shares were up, which signified that investors were contented with the change.  It seems like they trust that Heins will be able to turn things around.  But when, exactly, will this turn-around kick in?

When asked what his plans are as the new CEO Heins stated: “I don’t think that there is some drastic change needed,” meaning that he will just push through with RIM’s original plan of launching new products, but would focus more on their marketing strategy in the US, as they deem they weren’t proactive enough to prevent consumers from flocking to competitors like Apple and Android.

Heins also added that he “will not in any way split this up or separate this into different businesses.  If there [are] requests coming towards Research In Motion to talk about licensing that platform to other companies, I will entertain those discussions. I will listen.”

This definitely did not sit well with investors – RIM’s stock price plunged 8.5% lower, to $15.56.  They were expecting change, drastic change, not only in leadership but also in the company’s plan for the future.

Still hope for RIM?

But there could still be hope.  According to Heins, their main problem before was they kept missing product launches because everything was delayed.  Heins sees that the company lacks execution, and that’s what he will be addressing.  And since there is now only one CEO, this could mean that commands will better be executed since only one person needs to oversee things now.

According to some sources close to Heins, the new CEO is known as being a “get-it-done” type of person.  If a plan is made, he makes sure that it pushes through.  Heins is also known as being strict in following deadlines, so maybe this year RIM could actually launch products on time.

Legal tape could get in Heins’ way

But Heins has more serious matters to attend to, as just hours after his appointment, the new CEO already faced his first legal hurdle.  Wi-LAN Inc., Canada’s largest intellectual property enforcement firm and Ottawa’s most valuable public company, sued RIM for allegedly infringing two of their patents.  Wi-LAN is seeking an undisclosed amount for payment in damages and wants RIM to pay for using their patents.  Wi-LAN claims that a much as 60 BlackBerry devices infringe one of their patents related to Bluetooth data transmission.