Archive for the 'Stocks' Category

Dear BlackBerry, Use More Celebrities!

Friday, August 27th, 2010


The above video was taken at the BlackBerry Red Carpet Event for the Launch of the BlackBerry Torch 9800(which I will be getting in less than 10 days!). The star power on the red carpet was strong and for BlackBerry users, just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrity displays like this have me scratching my head as to why Research in Motion(NASDAQ: RIMM) can’t parlay the status of their customers into a good marketing campaign. The most powerful, influential, and trendy people in the world swear by their BlackBerry and the only way anybody knows it is to go onto a blog dedicated to the device, far out of the way of mainstream consumers. Why?

How hard is it to get Drizzy Drake, the hottest young artist in hip-hop to shoot a commercial?  How about LeBron James, the most famous basketball player in the world? Drake has already done commercials for Sprite, Lebron for State Farm, among others. What about Kim Kardashian? Paris Hilton? President Barack Obama?! I could keep going. The point is these are people who have massive audiences, influence, and are some of the biggest trend setters in the world. When they pick up or endorse a product, it makes waves.  And somehow RIM has no idea what to do with that opportunity.

Apple is the company of cool. Steve Jobs is ultra-cool with that black turtleneck and his followers eat up every word he says. Jobs successfully turned Apple into a company that can cost more than all of its competitors and still attract a heavy customer base. Because Apple has the cool, sleek products. Many people, dedicated Apple users included, don’t know what the iPad is for, but that doesn’t matter. Apple made it. That means we buy it. Google is a marketing company above everything else. They became who they are by building an advertising empire and so it is no surprise that they have flooded the market with devices running their Android OS.

RIM does not have an innovation problem. They are not an old company set in their ways. They just have no idea how to sell a product. For years nearly all of their business was conducted without so much as one television commercial for the general public to view. Then one day they woke up and realized that the consumer market was ripe for the picking. The only problem was that companies like Apple and Google made the same observation and the consumer market is their bread and butter.

RIM has to adapt, quickly. Hire a firm that can breath some life into their campaigns. Anything to connect the dots. I’m not saying their phones couldn’t upgrade a feature or two to make them more attractive. But across the board every phone has glaring deficiencies. This is a battle of tactics. Who can reach the masses with the most attractive sales pitch. What device offers the widest appeal. The world’s most influential say the answer is BlackBerry. How does RIM tell the world the answer is BlackBerry? I hope they figure out the answer.

BlackBerry Curve Still Top Selling Smartphone in North America in Q4

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The BlackBerry Curve has been the top selling smartphone in North America for a very long time now. Quarter 4 kept the trend going according to IDC Mobile Devices and Technology Trends. I’m not impressed though. Its great they are selling so many devices but the 83xx, which is where I would guess the bulk of these sales came from is about 4 years old and the 85xx should have  never been made IMO. Check out the full list after the jump.

1. RIM – BlackBerry Curve
2. Apple – iPhone 3G S
3. Motorola – DROID
4. Apple – iPhone 3G
5. RIM – BlackBerry Pearl
6. RIM – BlackBerry Bold
7. RIM – BlackBerry Storm
8. Palm – Pre
9. RIM – BlackBerry Tour
10. T-Mobile – myTouch 3G

RIM has been holding down 40-50% of this list for almost two years now and in that time they’re stock price has taken a dive into the dumpster. What people really want to see is some creativity out of them. Hopefully they have something new and exciting coming in 2010.

I am somewhat surprised the DROID is third on this list. But at the same time it does make a fair amount of sense. After the iPhone and Curve things tend to be wide open. Phones like the Palm Pre, which I would buy over the DROID in a heartbeat are relegated to terrible carriers like Sprint that stunt their sales and phones like my beloved BOLD are more viewed as business devices and do not sell as well in the consumer market. I look for the Pre and Pixi to both make a move in Q1 now that they are on multiple carriers.

Why Borders.com, Why?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

After completing my most recent post about Snow Falling on Cedars I realized I still hadn’t bought Raven by Allison Van Diepen yet. I instantly had an impulse to make a purchase. Needless to say, when you’re shopping for something like books you can’t just stop at one. Before I knew it there were three other titles I wanted.

Four years ago I was given a gift card to Borders for my birthday or Christmas, I can’t remember now. Tonight was the night for it to  finally be used! I was a bit afraid that it had expired. In fact, the current Borders gift cards aren’t even designed the same way for the system to read so they must have really had to adjust to even accept my purchase. But I digress…

So I have all of my books added to my cart and whatnot, ready to checkout when I realize that my cart has 2 books in it instead of four like I selected. How did this happen? Well, Borders decided it was a smart decision to separate new purchases from used purchases. Seriously? I literally had to create a username for the site borders.com and then a completely new username for usedmarketplace.borders.com. Even worse was the discovery that my gift card was not to be accepted for any used marketplace purchases. Bonus!

Could you imagine if Amazon separated new and used items into two different stores? The notion in itself is ludicrous. What is Borders thinking? No wonder they are on the brink of bankruptcy. In a world where Amazon is a digital version of Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble is among the most stable stocks on the market(they aren’t going anywhere), Borders is manipulating its online customers like this? Forcing us to create multiple usernames, and pay multiple bills even though everything is being purchased at the same time. Horrible!

I have been to physical Borders stores countless times and I absolutely love the environment. I actually prefer it to Barnes & Noble, although I like their store atmosphere also. My confidence in Borders was so strong from a positive consumer experience that I actually purchased stock in the company back in 2008. I made a small profit before selling it preceding the bank collapse.

About a year later the stock has recovered from a flat line and is still border lining on unstable hovering around $1 per share. Yesterday the stock rose about 35% percent on reports from CNBC that Borders Group may not be going bankrupt after all. That’s great to hear but they have to do something about their internet setup.  You can’t expect to stay afloat without doing such simple things as accepting gift cards and not forcing customers to pay 2 tabs for one purchase.

Now I know why they have been crushed and Barnes & Noble is maintaining position. Borders is doing themselves in. For their sake I hope they change course soon before its too late. And as for my two purchases, since I couldn’t use my gift card for my used books I moseyed on over to Amazon. Would you believe I actually got one of the books new and the other still used for the SAME price as both of them used at Borders? And I only had to pay once!

DOJ To Allow Live Nation/Ticketmaster Merger

Monday, January 25th, 2010

As I was getting ready for class this morning my Dad called me to let me know that it was being reported the Department of Justice was expected to allow the Live Nation merger with Ticketmaster. While I was expecting the merger to eventually be approved, the timing could not be better. The market is shaky right now and both companies are holding steady but it only reasons to expect that the prices of these stocks would be driven lower if the market continued its down trend. Even news of government clearance probably would not have helped the stocks weather last weeks storm. The fact that news broke today signaled to investors that Live Nation was worth buying and the price rose 15%.

Now, I bought Live Nation around $4.50 a share in the Spring so it has essentially doubled in that time. Today was a great opportunity for investors to sell into the merger and take strong profits. At the same time, Live Nation is still a very good company and I believe has the ability to go as high as $15 in the next 6 months.

Has the buying window for Live Nation been missed? Personally I would have probably bought as soon as the merger was approved in the UK about a month ago. Nonetheless, the company is still good and I believe in what they do and the potential their services have. The reality is that now Live Nation and Ticketmaster will form a company whose only real competition is AEG. In other words, the company SHOULD be more dominant than ever and in turn should be an even more attractive company to own.

Anytime there is a merger it is important to be cautious as an investor. Many mergers do not help the stock per se because the potential of the merger actually does more for the stock than when the deal is completed, the 15% increase in Live Nation today is a prime example of this notion. It is unlikely the stock will go up 15% in one day again anytime soon.

BlackBerry Dakota Pic?

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

This is reported to be an image of the upcoming BlackBerry Dakota. Talks about this phone began a while ago. It is unclear if this is a current picture of the prototype or not.

It basically looks like the BlackBerry Bold 9000 without a trackball or directional pad. I hope that this is the form factor because I like the size of my Bold and its cosmetic build. This phone is highly anticipated in the CrackBerry community. It is believed to be a full qwerty device that also features a touchscreen. The concept is not new but for Research in Motion it can be a game changing device. It has been a while since RIM came out with a new innovative device to excite the tech community. The Storm is at least 2 years old and was widely panned by Berry Addicts and mobile critics alike. Its Surepress technology is truly hit or miss with consumers.

The Dakota could signal RIM is willing to continue to push the creative boundaries with the BlackBerry line which could be exactly what the stock market wants to see. As of late the stock has been drowning in inactivity. While Apple is viewed as a great creator of new devices and mastering new products, RIM is viewed as faithful and reliable. Which serves well for profits, but not so well for investors who know that technology is driven by what’s new. RIM needs this device to do well. Hopefully it comes out sooner than later.