The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: June 24
5. RIM's Silly Semantics
Will somebody please get Research In Motion's (RIMM) co-CEOs a thesaurus? How about simply a clue?
The mobile device maker reported its fiscal first-quarter results late last week, beating analyst estimates by a penny on the bottom line while missing by an ugly $200 million in sales on the top. Research In Motion also significantly lowered its outlook for the full year, predicting earnings of between $4.25 and $6 per share, down from $7.50. The lowered guidance had traders unloading RIM's stock -- it's down nearly 20% since last Friday and sitting near multiyear lows -- almost as quickly as customers are abandoning its gadgets in favor of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and devices powered by Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.
Nevertheless, it's not RIM's wretched results that make us want to juice the Blackberry maker. No, it's the silly semantic games of Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the company's co-CEOs, at the post-earnings press conference that has us wondering if there is a lick of sense between the pair, let alone a future for the company.After announcing a wide-reaching plan to overhaul its organization through new product launches, cutbacks and layoffs, Balsillie challenged an analyst for referring to his reforms as a "restructuring." "I would not call it a restructuring, and I just think that this [is] radically mischaracterizing it," replied Balsillie. "When you talk about restructuring, I mean you are talking about an industry in a different kind of situation, and where you are deciding to do certain things and not do certain things, and we just view this as a streamlining." Do certain things? Not do certain things? Streamlining? Sorry dude, we don't get it. Luckily, neither did another analyst on the call who offered "reorganizing" as an alternative. "No, there is not a re-org, no. No, there is no re-org," replied a testy Lazaridis. Not a re-org either? Is it bigger than a bread box? Is 'Who' still on first? "I think this is the right time for us to go back, to step back and just make the system more efficient," danced Balsille before Lazaridis gave it one more try with "streamline plus." OK. Enough already. You don't want to call it a restructuring or reorganization? That's fine with us. We'll just call it ridiculous and leave it at that.
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