#4: Research In Motion
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) once owned the smartphone market. Its BlackBerry products were used largely by businesses. It’s hardly worth repeating the story of how RIM was late to the consumer market, where it has been pounded relentlessly by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and an army of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones from manufacturers as diverse as Taiwan’s HTC, South Korea’s Samsung and Motorola in the U.S.
The pace at which the company fell apart once the process began was even more extraordinary than its rise. Revenue and net income jumped from $6 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, in fiscal 2008 to $20 billion and $3.4 billion in fiscal 2011. In just the past year, however, the company has warned twice that it would miss its earnings forecast, replaced its long-time CEO, warned a third time about its first-quarter loss and disclosed plans for layoffs of thousands of employees. The company’s board said it was reviewing “strategic options,” which would include a sale.
The best measurement of the swiftness of RIM’s fall is the change of its share of the U.S. smartphone market. Research group NPD recently reported that RIM’s U.S. market share was 44% in 2009 but only 10% last year. Data from research group Comscore shows that share has fallen further this year. The net effect on RIM’s stock price has been devastating, taking it down from $144 four years ago to just under $8 today. RIM cannot survive as a standalone operation in the face of these trends. The Wall Street Journal recently reported “outright buyers could include Asian handset makers like HTC Corp or online retailer Amazon.com Inc. which has jumped into the tablet business.”