Joined Nov 11, 2007
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Misfires in Marketing at BlackBerry $RIMM


TORONTO—The stream of high-profile departures from Research In Motion Ltd.’s marketing department over the last few months has put the spotlight on an area where the BlackBerry maker has traditionally been weak: understanding and talking to ordinary consumers.

Long a company whose primary customers were telecommunications carriers and corporate IT departments, RIM has been struggling in a world where the fast-changing desires of retail consumers are driving smartphone sales. For the past two years, RIM has had more consumer subscribers than corporate ones, analysts estimate.

Going Mainstream

Research in Motion’s annual corporate and consumer subscribers.

RIM executives were slow to see that smartphone buyers wanted high-powered handsets to play games and surf the Web, putting them behind in the smartphone “arms race,” as co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis described it on a conference call last week. The slowness resulted in product delays, and a backed-up slate of six or more BlackBerry models as well as potentially a PlayBook tablet with a 10-inch screen to roll out between late August and early next year, say people familiar with RIM’s product strategy.

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