In reading over the weekend about Research in Motion’s continued stumbling and bumbling (including the ridiculous too-little-too-late decision by co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to take $1/year salaries), I also received some inspiration for holiday gift giving:
When you think about it, RIM shares would make for the perfect stocking stuff. At less than $14, they’re completely reasonable after being on sale earlier this year for close to $70. As a result, they fall into that nice less than $20 range. For those of you on a budget, a RIM share also makes the perfect gift, which would be appreciated, although I suspect not as much as a new iPhone4S.
There are lots of reasons a RIM share would look perfect in your stocking:
1. There are lots of them available. In fact, it seems everyone is trying to unload inventory at the same time. This means there’s no risk of disappointing loved ones by coming home empty-handed.
2. While relatively inexpensive, there’s also a chance a RIM share could rise in value. Who knows, maybe the BlackBerry 10 will hit the market in September as opposed to A YEAR FROM NOW. Maybe RIMM will be acquired – Microsoft, Google, Huawei – and your RIMM share would jump to $20 (Woot!). Maybe a new CEO will be sent to Kitchener-Waterloo to shake things up.
3. It’s a made-in-Canada gift so you can “buy local” rather than purchasing a holiday gift that has been shipped thousands of miles across the Pacific. Nothing says I love you more than a 8″ x 10″ stock certificate, which also can be taken to school for show and tell.
4. It’s a perfect way to support Canada’s flagship technology company. Yes, RIM has been plagued by hubris, strategic mistakes, and the introduction of the half-baked, terribly designed PlayBook but that shouldn’t stop you from showing RIM some love, particularly if it doesn’t cost you much. Who knows, maybe the shares will increase in value, making it easier to buy a BlackBerry 10 for next year’s holidays…if it hasn’t been delayed yet again.
5. And, who knows, RIM shares could soon be a collector’s item if RIM gets snapped up by a giant corporate conglomerate who decides to do a rebranding to get a fresh start.
While it’s easy to kick RIM while it’s down, the idea of RIM becoming the next Nortel should be a troubling concept for Canada and the Canadian high-tech sector. Having a global player in our backyard that drives innovation (well, it used to drive innovation), provides people with experience and the financial wherewithal to start other companies, and support the local economy/community are positives.
With the disappearance of Nortel, the Canadian telecom industry and the economy took a major blow, particularly when you consider the hundreds, if not thousands of spin-offs that came out of Nortel.
Who knows if RIM can resuscitate itself. The PlayBook (which still doesn’t have native email!), the delay of BlackBerry 10 and senior management’s unwillingness to make changes at the top have created plenty of reasons for pessimism.