8 Big Companies That Will Disappear in 2012
9. Research In Motion
The Canadian-based smartphone company is famous for the BlackBerry -- once the most widely used smartphone in the world. But Research In Motion has been in steep decline for the past year, and the subject of a number of takeover rumors. Suitors supposedly include such notable names as Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung.
Some analysts believe RIM will not be sold because management holds a large enough share of the company's stock to block any buyout. But RIM's co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and founder Mike Lazaridis were recently replaced, and the new chief could sell the company. On their watch, the value of RIM's shares dropped from $144 in June 2008 to $17 last week, a plunge of 89%.
RIM's flagship BlackBerry was launched in 1999. It became the world's first widely used smartphone, and held the high ground in the business until just two years ago. Since then, successful assaults by Apple's iPhone and an army of Google. Android powered smartphones have driven RIM's global market share down to 10% in the third quarter of 2011 down from 20% in 2009. And RIM didn't do itself any favors with a series of product launch debacles.
RIM's earnings and sales have deteriorated significantly for two years. It recently warned it would miss earnings estimates for next year. It also took a $485 million charge in the third quarter due to poor sales and lower-than-expected receipts for its new PlayBook tablet.
Apple's iPad and similar products from large competitors like Samsung have flanked RIM in the tablet business, much as they did in smartphones. RIM's next generation QNX-based smartphone launch has been pushed until the end of 2012, further undermining the company's prospects.
RIM's products have become marginalized, it has lost its ability to operate independently, and its problems can't be solved. The BlackBerry brand may survive, but Research in Motion is too far gone.