The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.By Tom Taulli , InvestorPlace Writer NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, shares of Research In Motion ( RIMM) were trading at $144. Now they are at a miserable $24. It's easy to point at the dominance of Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and iPad as reasons for the fall, but this is far from the whole story. The mobile industry as a whole is growing at hyperspeed, and numerous players are showing success, such as HTC, Samsung (SSNLF) and even Amazon ( AMZN), whose Kindle Fire is getting lots of traction. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. In other words, RIM's problems are mostly self-made. And especially lately, the company has become the Inspector Clouseau of the tech world.
During an interview with the BBC earlier in the year, RIM's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis abruptly left. He thought the questions weren't fair. If management cannot take criticism from outsiders -- let alone can't keep from buckling during a strong line of questioning -- do you think it listens to concerns from its own employees? Probably not. Which would make it difficult to change course. Trading at four times earnings, RIMM shares are dirt cheap. But tech companies always can get cheaper. In the meanwhile, the competition is only surging ahead, while it could take RIM a year or so to get any traction with latest new smartphones and tablets. What about a buyout? For now, the possibility probably is helping support the stock. But while RIM's patent portfolio would be attractive, it likely is only worth a few billion dollars. Besides, the company's founders own about 11% of the outstanding stock, so at these low levels, there probably will be little motivation to sell out. Tom Taulli is the author of " All About Short Selling" (Link: ) and " All About Commodities." You can also find him at Twitter account @ttaulli. He does not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Also see:
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