January 30th, 2013 is a big day for Research in Motion. It concluded the long awaited release of their new operating system and their new phones. This has been a long time in coming for many Blackberry fans and is a nice relief from only a year ago when ‘RIM is dead” was every headline. In honor of this occasion I figured I would do a recap of the history of RIM and show you how we got to now.
-1984 – Two engineering students – Mike Lazaridis (University of Waterloo) and Douglas Fregin (University of Windsor) – co-found Research in Motion.
- 1988 – The company becomes the first wireless data technology developer in North America. The technology is mainly used for business communications, such as processing credit-card sales.
- 1990 – RIM introduces the DigiSync™ Film KeyKode™ Reader
- 1991 – RIM introduces the first Mobitex protocol converter (MPC)
- 1992 – The company had been focusing on working with pagers, but the focus shifted to two-way wireless communication. Jim Balsillie joins RIM, putting $250,000 of his own money into the company. I was born
- 1996 – RIM introduces its first wireless handheld, the Interactive Pager.
- 1997 – RIM is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company – and raises more than $115 million from investors.
- 1998 – RIM introduces its first BlackBerry, a wireless handheld computer. The RIM 950 2 way pager is released this year as well.
- 1999 – RIM is listed on the NASDAQ
- 2000 – RIM 957 Wireless Handheld is released along with the start of Java Development for Blackberry Phones
- 2001 – First wireless handheld based entirely on the Java™ 2
Micro Edition (J2ME™) platform
- 2002 – BlackBerry 5810, BlackBerry 6710, BlackBerry 6720, BlackBerry 6510, BlackBerry 6750 all released in 2002. Some were GSM and CDMA.
- 2003 – RIM added to the NASDAQ – 100 , BlackBerry 6210, BlackBerry 6220, BlackBerry 6230, the BES server comes onboard and brings with it a new state of security. BlackBerry 7230, BlackBerry 7210, BlackBerry 7280 which are the first Blackberry phones with a colour screen. The BlackBerry 7730 is also released.
- 2004 – RIM turns 20 (Happy Birthday!), Blackberry reaches 2 million subscribers globally. BlackBerry 7520, BlackBerry 7750, BlackBerry 7100 Series, BlackBerry 7290 are all released this year. SureType is released as well and viewed as a huge leap ahead in small keyboard devices.
- 2005 – RIM surpasses the 5 million subscribers milestone, BlackBerry 8700, BlackBerry 7130 and Sony Ericsson P910i Smartphone with BlackBerry Connect.
- 2006 – RIM acquired Ascendent Systems, BlackBerry 8707 released this year. CESG approved BlackBerry for use by government workers handling restricted data in
- 2007 – RIM cracks the 10 million subscriber mark. After RIM announced a deal to distribute its phones in China its stock rises. It is now the most valuable company in Canada with a value of 68 billion dollars. The stock is up 150% since the beginning of the year. The 8800 is also released this year along with a number of other phones. The first Blackberry store is opened in Detroit!!! By the end of the year it is at 12 million subscribers!
- 2008 – The Bold 9000 is released!! Blackberry Storm is released which is RIM first all touch screen phone. OS 4 is the latest OS to come from RIM. The downfall has started.
- 2009 – App World is created for Blackberry devices. RIM is declared the fastest growing company in the world! Bold 9700 is released which is one the best selling phones in Canada, the Storm 2 which improves upon the original device, the tour 2 is release along with the Blackberry ‘striker’ or the Pearl. OS 5 is released.
- 2010 – Bold 9780, Style 9760 (RIM latest flip phone), Curve 3G 9330, Torch 9800. Most importantly is that RIM purchases QNX and the transition to QNX starts. RIM also buys TAT which brings to Blackberry Cascades. I also purchased my first Blackberry device in November of 2010 which was the 9800. OS 6 is released this year.
- 2011 – RIM also enters into the tablet market with the Blackberry Playbook which is met with lukewarm criticism. The beautiful Bold 9900 comes out in August which is the cream of the crop for BBOS. RIM also releases BBOS 7.0 and eventually 7.1. Other notable phones for this year are the Bold 9790, Torch 9810, Torch 9860, Porsche Design P’9981. I purchase my first Blackberry Playbook in September. 2,000 RIM employees lose their job in company restructuring.
- 2012 – RIM doesn’t release any new phones of merit in 2012 other then a couple curve models. The Playbook gets a speed boost with a 1.5 Ghz processor and 4G LTE being thrown into the mix. I purchase a Bold 9790 to replace my Torch 9800. Blackberry 10 gets delayed until Q1 2013 which is a last straw for many investors. Mike L. and Jim B. are removed as Co-CEO’s of the board and are replaced by Thorsten Heinz. RIM reaches a low of 6 dollar a stock on the TSX. In the latter months it also surges on good news about its new operating system.
- 2013 – RIM stock is up 170% since it hit its 52 week low. Hitting 18+ dollars a share in January. RIM renames its app store to Blackberry world and changes the name of its annual conference to Blackberry Live. Blackberry announced it will have 6 phones in 2013 of which 2 will be announced right away. RIM received a BUY standing from analyst Peter Misariek. RIM’s first 2 phones are leaked which the full touch being leaked more the the qwerty phone (see below)
That brings us to January 30th, 2013. Where will RIM go from here? It will be an interesting road and as a Blackberry lover and investor I’m excited to take it.