It’s been a horrible year for Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM). First, Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Androids simply started taking BlackBerry customers as if free food was being given away during a famine. Now, adding acid to a gaping wound, RIMM’s answer to the smartphone challenge, BlackBerry Torch, has received tepid reviews while the Middle East is banning the use of BlackBerries.
Top tech product review site Engadget (my favorite) issued BlackBerry Torch a weak 6/10 score. Wall Street tech guru Eric Savitz said the new smartphone has a slow processor, a small screen, and is not a game changer. Ouch.
The bottom line is BlackBerry has quickly gone from the most popular PDA of choice to, well, 3rd place.
Then, across the globe from RIMM’s Canadian home, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have banned BlackBerries because the data encryption does not allow governments to monitor “security threats.” Luckily, India hasn’t yet issued an all out ban on their 8 million BlackBerry users.
So, what does this all mean for investors? Uncertainty. And what does Wall Street hate most? Uncertainty.
Thus, while RIMM dashes to put out fires, we’ll take a seat on the sidelines rather than speculate on whether the damage can be mitigated any time soon.