RIM is no stranger to rough seas — the past few days alone have seen a service outage in the EMEA regions, news of a dwindling user base, and a new 52-week low for the company’s stock price. Naturally, one of the big themes of CEO Thorsten Heins’ keynote address at the BlackBerry Jam developer conference was “believe” in the company, and some people seem to have taken that mantra to heart.
After dipping to $6.22 (the lowest it’s been in almost exactly nine years) earlier this week, RIM’s share price began to recover shortly after the live-streamed address began, and has generally been on the uptick ever since.
RIM has a few things to thank for that little stock surge — on-stage demos of new BlackBerry 10 features helped flesh out RIM’s (swipe-friendly) vision of user interaction and text input, and the revelation that the company’s BlackBerry 10 devices would begin carrier testing next month seems to indicate that the production process is on schedule. Of course, one particular announcement probably helped a bit more than the rest. Heins noted on-stage that the company’s user base swelled from 78 to 80 million customers over the last three months probably didn’t hurt either, considering that a recent article from The Globe And Mail’s Iain Marlow picked up a lot of traction for foretelling even more doom in the form of dwindling user interest.
While RIM seems to have put some of those fears to rest, the rest of the company’s story is still unwritten. The Waterloo-based company made plenty of lofty claims the other day (BB10 will apparently provide “processing power close to a laptop”), but insists on pulling back the curtain by practiced demo after practiced demo instead of in one stunning swoop. I understand the need for secrecy, not to mention the need to remind people that RIM is still a viable player, but it remains to be seen if the drips-and-drabs approach can generate the sort of consumer optimism RIM needs people to have right now.
In the meantime, the company will release its fiscal Q2 2013 financials tomorrow afternoon, and RIM sorely needs some solid performance figures to put its previous (and disastrous) earnings release out of people’s minds. Really, the company needs to prove it can hit the ground hard and bounce back, instead of wallowing around in a quagmire of a transition period.