Though I’m fairly sure that I disagree with him, Laszlo Birinyi of Birinyi Associates had some flattering compliments to lay on RIM today, putting the Waterloo-based company at the top spot of his five investment picks for 2012.
While we don’t usually cover analyst predictions, this statement reported by Barrons was too good to resist.
“[RIM's] been beaten down, it’s a brand, it’s got its fans, it’s got its products. In 1997, I was in the Year in Wall Street show, and Louis Rukeyser asked me what were my picks for 1998. I said my first pick is a $7 stock — called Apple Computer.”
So, let me get this straight, Mr. Birinyi.
You’re comparing RIM — the same peeps facing a lawsuit over multiple massive service outages, the same stuck-in-the-past executive team that refuses to step down (despite employee pleas), the folks that freak out and bail on BBC interviews, the people responsible for the failure that is the BlackBerry Playbook, and the folks who are currently bringing you mid-range handsets as their flagship line — to the most valuable publicly traded company in the world?
That’s like comparing a BlackBerry to an iPhone.
Then again, those of us who aren’t enjoying the liberties of the USA tend to thoroughly enjoy the BlackBerry brand. The phones were apparently a core part of the London riots this year, and folks in Indonesia started an all-out riot over the half-off BlackBerry Bold 9790. Many of us here in the States have already written off RIM as a crumbling failure, but a crowd of 3,000 people lining up for a BlackBerry, whether it’s here or on Mars, is a surprise in itself.
Come to think of it, Apple was a pretty broken brand in the 90’s, and found a way to pull itself into glory. Perhaps, RIM can do the same, but it’s a long shot. As a computer company, Apple had more potential markets to infiltrate (and we welcomed the iPod with open arms). RIM isn’t quite in the same position as Apple was, but a comeback for the BlackBerry brand wouldn’t be the craziest thing that’s ever happened.