Preparing a Shareholder Eulogy for Research In Motion

Remember the days, like five years ago, when a lot of people had Blackberries? Yeah, vaguely. Me too. Those days are over, and it looks like device-maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is a company headed for an early grave.

The stock was absolutely blasted in trading Friday, dumping almost 22% of its opening sticker price at market close. The sell-off was prompted by a succession of ugly financial releases from the company, including its first quarter earnings that failed to meet expectations. Particularly jarring were reports of very weak sales of RIMM‘s “Playbook” tablet (~500,000 to be exact).

Don’t Miss: Research in Motion Bulls are Delusional Investors.

The bad news continues to pour in for the company as Citigroup (NYSE:C) and six other banks lowered their outlook on RIMM. One analyst from Citi cited 10 ways things could get worse, yeah worse, for Research in Motion, while another said of the company, “it appears RIMM has now sunk into eroding mismanagement, having delayed even just its evolutionary bold 9900 refresh multiple times.” Citi’s Jim Suva also commented, “We’ve seen this movie before — Motorola (NYSE:MMI), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Sony-Ericsson (NYSE:SNE)(NASDAQ:ERIC), LG (AMEX:LGL), Palm (NYSE:HPQ) — history of wireless is littered with OEMs that had significant product/cycle share gains, but then missed structural market shifts.”

And then s**t got real Friday afternoon when the Research in Motion’s sixth largest shareholder sold half its stake in the company (and will reportedly look to offload all its RIMM holdings in the near future). Bloomberg reports the sale should spark talks of management changes at the company: “RIM investors are becoming increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, after the company’s second-quarter sales and profit forecast missed analysts estimates, hurt by sluggish demand for its aging BlackBerry portfolio. Lazaridis, who invented the BlackBerry to handle mobile e-mail, has shared the role of CEO with Jim Balsillie since 1992. They are also both co-chairmen.”

Even a management shake-up may not be enough to save Research in Motion at this point, but stay tuned to Wall St. Cheat Sheet and we’ll continue to give you the lowdown on the company’s latest and relevant breaking financial news.

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