INTEGRATED CASE STUDY Research in Motion Have you ever seen people walking distractedly down the street

staring at their hands? Have you ever been waiting in an airport, and the person beside you is typing quickly on a tiny keyboard? Have you ever used a Blackberry? Research in Motion (RIM) is a multi-award-winning company that designs and produces hardware, software, and service solutions for wireless communications used by worldwide business and consumer markets. These state-of-the-art products and services provide customers with immediate access to information in order to make sound business decisions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you use the Blackberry device or the Pearl “smart” phone, you can be assured that you have purchased a quality product connecting people either at work or at play, designed and built by one of the most innovative Canadian companies of all time. Background RIM is a Waterloo-based company founded in 1984 by two University of Waterloo engineering students, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. Today, Mike Lazaradis and Jim Balsillie, who joined the company in 1992, share the leadership role in the company as co-CEOs. The first Blackberry device came to market in 1999. Since then, RIM has consistently introduced many new and innovative products and services that are used by businesses and consumers around the world. The wireless solutions industry is an extremely competitive one, and, in 2002, RIM was sued for patent infringement by an American company, NTP. The case was finally settled in 2006, with RIM paying NTP $612.5 million.1 RIM has offices in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific. It is traded on the NASDAQ stock market and the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 2006, RIM had revenues of over $2 billion and a net income of $382 million. At that time, it employed almost 4,800 people worldwide.2 Current Products The Blackberry is aimed primarily at the business market. This hand-held unit functions with RIM solutions to provide the user with access to time-sensitive information. Loyal users have permeated the market to the degree that many are accused of never letting go of their “crackberry”. With minimal traditional marketing, this product has become a status symbol among business people.

on-site massage. and benefits. Corporate Structure RIM is lead by an executive team comprised of co-CEOs. Balsillie also holds the position of chairman. . The Pearl is currently going head-tohead with Apple’s iPhone. creativity. Benefits include a free Blackberry.The Blackberry unit allows the user both access to and the capability to work with a wide range of business applications. and vicepresident. subsidy for gym fitness membership. Employees at RIM are compensated by base pay. while Lazaridis is also the company president. such as spreadsheets The newest product introduced by RIM. Social events include holiday parties. and team-building activities. The Pearl responds to the increase in consumers’ demands for a product that allows access to various conveniences: • wireless email • camera • digital music player • text messaging • digital video RIM is confident that consumers will develop a loyalty to Pearl in much the same way the business sector has with the Blackberry. It develops a workforce motivated to achieve beyond its potential. and risk taking. and opportunities to participate in a variety of wellness programs. The company supports this environment through a variety of participative opportunities and programs. a vice-president. Enterprise Business Unit. including such things as: • work and personal email accounts • calendar • address book • task list • internet • telephone • intranet access • software access. moves away from the B2B market. Corporate Marketing. focusing instead on the consumer market. a chief financial officer. There are two chief operating officers. the Blackberry Pearl. merit pay. The RIM Culture RIM has a well-developed corporate culture that celebrates achievement. picnics.

com/rim/--ID__59141--/free-co-factsheet. He also donated $50 million to the University of Waterloo. Communities support businesses and. research and development. businesses must support communities—a symbiotic relationship. as the company grows its global business. 3 Information found on the company website. Many feel that RIM should reconsider the co-CEO management decision. sales. in Waterloo. in return. He is passionate about science and electronics. and about the status of the board of directors of the company. Both Balsillie and Lazaridis have been honoured for the leadership and financial contributions they have independently made to many Kitchener-Waterloo based organizations. he brings a wealth of business knowledge to the company. as of 2006. business development.xhtml>.org/wiki/Research_In_Motion>. What the Future Holds The wireless communications industry is an extremely competitive one. the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. It strongly believes that it is important to give back to the community in which it operates. Also causing concern and disappointment is the fact that. product>. Lazaridis donated $100 million to establish a world-class think tank. Lazaridis. the Waterloo Children’s Museum. Jim Balsillie is viewed as the public face of RIM.rim.wikipedia. and RIM has positioned itself to continue to be a key player. He is responsible for driving corporate strategy. and continues to fund. holding both a degree in commerce and an MBA. and finance. and is responsible for product strategy. the board of directors is still entirely made up of Canadians. The lingering American lawsuit is over. . Balsillie has donated money for a cancer-care centre at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener-Waterloo as well as founded. marketing.hoovers. prefers to work in the background leading the technology innovation. and manufacturing for the company. 2 <http://www. _______________________________________________________________________ _ Endnotes 1 <http://en. to help create the Institute for Quantum Computing. And the global potential remains lucrative. with his engineering degree. The market for Blackberry products and service solutions continues to grow.There have been recent concerns among industry analysts and company enthusiasts about the decision to continue operating with two CEOs. As well. <www.3 Corporate Philanthropy RIM is famous for its corporate giving. The appeal of the Pearl is promising. An article in Canadian Business states that “RIM should follow Microsoft’s example and make Lazaridis the chief technology officer instead of coCEO”. having a more charismatic and outgoing personality that people identify with.

What type of departmentalization is being used? Is this appropriate in a hightech industry? 6. Describe RIM’s co-CEO commitment to social responsibility. What problems might occur as a result of this organizational strategy? 7. You Do the Research 1. . Currently RIM has two CEOs. What strategy is RIM pursuing? 3. 5. How has the Blackberry changed the way people in businesses communicate? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this to the business and the employee? 8. Complete a timeline of the NTP lawsuit. What strategies should RIM use? 4.Questions 1. 3. 2. Research two of RIM’s competitors for product and market comparisons. 2. Analyze the Blackberry and the Pearl according to the Boston Consulting Group Matrix. Sketch the organizational structure of RIM. Discuss the sources of personal power of each CEO. Complete a SWOT analysis of RIM.

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