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RIM's stock continues on its rollercoaster

Shares leap again on Goldman Sachs upgrade, as RIM outlines plans to turn BlackBerry World into multimedia portal

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 3 December, 2012

READ MORE: Research In Motion | OS | BlackBerry

RIM has had a rollercoaster couple of weeks, with its shares jumping up and down with each successive analyst report. The analysts have wildly differing views on whether the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform will be enough to reverse RIM's sharp decline in fortunes, and the volatile share price reflects that uncertainty. The most recent report, from Goldman Sachs, was a positive one, and coincided with new details of RIM's revamped applications program for BB10.

RIM jumped to its highest level in almost seven months last week when Goldmans upgraded the stock to 'buy', saying the new BB10 devices could get the Canadian firm back to profit in fiscal 2014. The shares rose by 9.6% - admittedly to a still-low $12.16 - in new York, and at one point reached $12.30, their highest price since May 3. Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski wrote in a client note to accompany the upgrade: "We now assess a 30% chance of success for BB10 given positive early reviews, broad-based carrier support, attractive features, and interest by carriers and consumers in broadening the field beyond Android and/iOS", echoing similar views from analysts at Jefferies and elsewhere. She believes BB10 will enable RIM to increase its average selling price for smartphones and so get back to profit.


RIM has been showing off its new platform to about 50 carriers, it says, and insider indicators suggest the response has been favorable. The company is also working closely to enhance developer ties and boost the applications base. Last week it announced a deal with mobile development platform provider Appcelerator to offer an incentive program for BB10 programmers using the Titanium for BlackBerry 10 platform, to be pre-released on December 7. The first 1,000 developers to submit their apps for review on the BlackBerrry World storefront will receive an alpha test device, and if the app is approved, a year of free Appcelerator Cloud Services and Analytics.

RIM has rebranded the former BlackBerry App World storefront and announced moves to incorporate music and video downloads ahead of the BB10 launch. The firm has always made a virtue out of necessity and stressed quality not quantity when competing with the overstuffed Google Play and App Store. But strong mobile enterprise and consumer media offerings will be essential to draw attention the new devices, especially in RIM's strongest bases - the corporate world, certain emerging markets especially Indonesia, and European teenagers.

Writing on the Inside BlackBerry developer blog, RIM product manager Ryan Proudfoot said the firm would start to roll out a streamlined BlackBerry World brand across all its footprint in mid-January, with two devices due to launch on January 30. He said removing 'App' from the name reflected the shift from a simple applications store to a broader portal for entertainment, multimedia and web services - mirroring similar moves by Google, resulting in its rebranding Android Market as Google Play.

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