BlackBerry shares – Research In Motion yesterday changes its name to that of its flagship product line – are trading lower for the fifth straight day Thursday, as investors responding with concern following the launch Wednesday of the first phones using the company’s much anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system software.
As you no doubt know by now, the company unveiled two models – the touch-screen Z10 and the keyboard-based Q10. In general the Z10 – the first one to reach the hands of reviewers – generally has been getting good reviews for its design, but there is disappointment on the Street about the delay in getting the phones to market in the U.S. The Z10 won’t go on sale until March, and Q10 won’t go on sale anyplace until April, and might not hit the U.S. market until later than that.
The arrival of the phones, impressive as they may be, now puts the pressure on a single question: Are the phones good enough to keep the 79 million existing BlackBerry users from leaving the fold, or even to lure Android and iOS devotees to the platform? The answer is that it is certainly too early to be sure, but skepticism is widespread.
RIMM – the company on Monday will switch the to stock symbol BBRY – is down $1.31, or 9.5%, to $12.47. The stock is now down 30% in five trading days.