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Research in Motion's (RIM-T) new chief marketing officer says dire warnings about the struggling smartphone maker's ability to survive are off the mark.
"Yes it's a challenging time, but despite the fact that we have had a tough year, we've managed to increase our customer numbers by about 2 million and we are still No.1 across a number of geographies in the world – South America, South Africa and Indonesia," Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer at Research in Motion, tells BNN. "It's not as dire as often portrayed and we have a solid foundation for the introduction of BlackBerry 10."
Boulben says early feedback from both carriers and developers across the global on its next generation of phones has been positive.
"They [the carriers] are extremely excited about going to market with us, so great reception from carriers…On the other side, we also had great success with the developer community and we will have a very rich portfolio of applications when we launch BlackBerry 10 early next year," he says.
His comments come as RIM inches closer to the launch of its next line of smartphones that will be running on its new operating system, BB10.
Last week RIM hosted a conference to showcase the new operating system to developers. RIM must convince developers that it’s worth both their time and money to develop applications for the new operating system, as without those much needed programs consumers will continue to flock to phones running on Google and Apple operating systems.
And in a sign of how far RIM has fallen, a report by consulting firm Interbrand said the company's "brand value" has fallen by 39 percent in the last year to $3.9 billion.
RIM's spot on the firm's list of 100 top global brands plummeted 37 spots to 93 in 2012 from 56 in 2011.
"In a category that is driven more by design and user experience, BlackBerry is struggling to find a point of difference beyond security, BBM, and its physical QWERTY keyboards -- none of which are capable of being secure, long-term advantages," the report said. "The company is plagued with underwhelming product launches, undelivered promises (BlackBerry 10 has been delayed yet again, to 2013), and inconsistent marketing campaigns. Without having a clear core idea or platform upon which to build and rally behind, it is increasingly difficult to understand the company’s direction."
In RIM's recent results, the company said it sold 7.4 million phones in the quarter. Yet, the company posted a net loss of $235 million US, or 45 cents a share -- sharply lower than a profit of $329 million, or 63 cents, it reported a year earlier.
Nevertheless, RIM surprised the investor community by posting an increase in its subscriber base by 2 million from 78 million to 80 million. Many investors expected its subscriber base to remain flat or shrink.