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Research In Motion Ltd (RIM-T) stock slumped again on Wednesday, even as the company said it was close to hiring a marketing boss to fashion a unified message for a next-generation BlackBerry that will likely determine its future.
Speaking at an annual showcase event that has gone over like a lead balloon, RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins admitted RIM spoke with more than one voice when it marketed its current BlackBerry 7 smartphones and its PlayBook tablet. He said that would change.
"One thing that really became obvious when I looked at the various parts of the company is that we needed focus," Heins, who took over from longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie earlier this year. He was speaking at the company's BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida.
RIM stock had fallen almost 6 percent on Tuesday after the company gave investors a glimpse of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphone and the tools they would need to create apps for the gadget. But RIM has announced no specifics on how it would recover from its prolonged slump.
The shares were down again on Wednesday, extending a slide of more than 75 percent in the past 13 months.
"These are baby steps," said John Stephenson, senior vice president at First Asset Investment Management Inc in Toronto.
"The problem the company has is it's not transformational. Thorsten Heins is not the transformational leader that they're looking for. He's probably a good manager and an improvement from what they had before with the co-CEO roles, but none of this is enough to get this thing going."
Asked about the fall in the stock price, he added: "It's certainly inexpensive, but the only reason to buy it today would be if your view is that they're going to come up with a plan to split up the company in some form."
NEW MARKETING CHIEF
A new marketing chief will replace Keith Pardy, who left the company last March, just before RIM launched the PlayBook, an iPad competitor that sold poorly.
RIM recently admitted that it was behind flash mobs in Australia mocking Apple. Last week dozens of people dressed in black arrived at an Apple store in the country carrying a sign that read "Wake Up".
The BlackBerry 7 line, updated last year and equipped with RIM's legacy operating system, is bridging the gap until the company can launch its BlackBerry 10 platform later this year.
The company is counting on BlackBerry 10 to reverse a deep erosion in its market share as consumers and professional customers alike flock to flashier devices made by Apple Inc or powered by Google's Android.
In Tuesday's speech, Heins expanded on earlier comments about a strategic shift away from building consumer-focused services on its own. He said RIM would lean more heavily on partnerships to deliver such services.
"RIM is not a gaming company, RIM is not a mapping company," he said at a news conference.