RIM needed a better week than this

BlackBerry World show fails to reignite investor confidence in device maker

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New BlackBerrys were unveiled. There were rumors of a second version of the PlayBook tablet. There was a surprise announcement of a mobile search partnership with Microsoft and there was a strategic acquisition.

But none of the news emanating from Research in Motion's annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla., did much to inspire renewed investor confidence in RIM's stock.

(Also see: Microsoft-RIM partnership prelude to more?)

By early Friday afternoon, shares of RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) were trading at 46.52, putting them on track to finish down for a week in which the Canadian device maker commanded much of the tech world's attention.

RIM plummeted 14 percent last Friday to 48.65 after the company warned of lower-than-expected BlackBerry sales this quarter and reduced its earnings forecast. That day's selloff -- RIMM shares were traded at three to five times normal volume -- pushed the stock below $50 for the first time since October 2010 as Wall Street reflected genuine concerns about RIM's ability to compete with much larger rivals Google and Apple.

So RIM had a chance this week to counter some of the gloom, to reignite enthusiasm about its product lines and strategy. I wasn't at the show, and thus can't assess the mood there. But RIM shares through early Friday afternoon were down more than 4 percent during the week of BlackBerry World.

Not that expo huckstering can do much to sway Wall Street. Investors mostly focus on financial results, market opportunity, and execution of strategy (though mostly they focus on financial results).

And RIM simply hasn't given them anything to be excited about, not since it began hemorrhaging market and mindshare to Google's Android and Apple's iPhone over the past couple of years.

Shares climbed last fall, perhaps because investors bought into the bullish recommendations of some analysts who considered RIM undervalued. Some also may have been swayed by the "rising tide" theory that increased worldwide demand for smartphones over the next several years would ensure increased sales for RIM.

But last week's warning reminded Wall Street that a rising tide can't lift a sinking boat. And between its rapidly declining smartphone market share, the botched debut of its highly-touted tablet, and latest earnings warning, RIM is taking on a dangerous amount of water.

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