Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Sad Day: Why I sold RIM and Traded it For Microsoft.

So today I sold all my RIM stock & traded it for Microsoft. I feel quite sad about it. Not only because I lost a boat load on RIM, but because RIM is one of my favorite companies.

I have used RIM devices since its very first interactive pager system that I won at a TED conference ages ago, and while I'm still a fan of its current devices, it has IMHO lost this round of the mobile wars.

How things have changed in just a couple of years. Just 2 years ago, I would have been caught saying that MSFT had to have tried REALLY hard to make their UX on WindowsMobile as bad as it is, and I would have started this posting as a blog post. Now this posting is a result of a tweet that I made, that was syndicated to facebook and is inspired by a reply from a professional analyst where I made a reply to in the thread which I am now cross posting into this blog.

That and I'm now I'm voting for Microsoft and ditching RIM. 2 years.

Its not every day I get asked by a real analyst why I make certain trades as an arm chair, small time, armature investor. So here's my 2 cents worth rant as a long time observer of the space mobile market:

There are several reasons why I dumped RIM for MSFT:

1) I've already loaded up on Apple at some great prices, and have some Google.

2) Unlike Google, Microsoft directly profits from WinMo7 phone sales. Which is actually a pretty good platform for game devs. The devices and UI is pretty good. (I just saw a prototype in person for the first time recently).

3) MSFT has great distribution and OEMs. They will take share from RIM for sure -- as RIM is peaking out. I'm seeing switches from RIM users to Android on a regular basis.

4) MSFT will get some good OEMs that will create win7 phones with keyboards+touch that will compete well with RIM.

5) RIM's OS6 (and torch w/ its lowrez LCD screen) is lipstick on a pig. Plus RIM didn't ever take advantage of so many opportunities that I thought they would with their leadership and M&A with their LBS deal w/ Dash.

6) As a 3rd party developer your options are: #1/#2: Apple/Andriod (andriod is picking up as a good alternative to apple due to clutter and BS w/ apple and momentum of Android), #3 *WILL* be WinMo7 -- esp -- for hardcore XBox Devs. The WinMo7 platform is tightly spec-ed and is less prone to fragmentation over the long run vs. Andriod, which even with its potential for hassles as a non-completely open platform, has its advantages.

7) Nokia is welll, out. At least for "this round." Just as it is for RIM. (this round = this generation or so of phones) I'm sad that Nokia, which was one of my fav companies in the past just can't seem to get their UX out of the the 90s to win new and now much more savvy smartphone customers.

8) While sadly, I can't buy Windows as a pure play mobile company -- but even so, Win7 on the desktop is SOLID, the company's P/E is at 11.5 (vs. almost 2x that w/ Goog and Aapl), the company has a big ass warchest, Bing is gaining some ground, and while office is probably going to die a painful death -- my hope/guess is that they can't be entirely stupid about migration to the cloud (or will they?).

9) Lastly Xbox rocks PS3. And its new motion capture thingamabob looks really promising.

As a Canadian, and as someone who carry's *2* RIM devices (one for US phone number and one for Canadian) -- and a huge BBM addict, today is a sad sad day for me. I hope RIM makes a come back in the "next round" of mobile wars. But right now, I have no choice but to let it go.

RIM please get it together and put up a better fight!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Assuming the title of the post is for colour, as you're crazy to think Win Mo will move MSFT stock

  3. Oh.. the crazy stock movements are also over:

  4. Hey Albert,

    Sorry to hear the capitulation on RIM. I would agree with the above post that WinMo is unlikely to have an impact on MSFT. As a percentage of revenues it won't even show up.

    Other variables not mentioned is the current problem with RIM's security. Is the glass half full or half empty? I take the current government issues as a validation of a very secured platform. RIM acquired Certicom, the company who provide ECC, which is one of four security cornerstone of the NSA (national Security Agency) for the next few decades as presented at an RSA conference. RIM owns the only security that can be paired up with AES, which replaces DES.

    But, the real problem is nobody cares about security except for the most anal corporations. Certainty, consumers don't give a rats arse about it. That was Certicom's problem. There might be hidden value in ECC as Microsoft uses ECC liberally like SOny, who was being sued by Certicom before the acquisition.

    And, RIM acquired QNX without much fanfare. QNX is one the the best real-time OS in the world with solutions embedded in NASA spacecrafts to automobiles. Maybe, RIM will do something really interesting with it.

    Hrm ... acquisition wise RIM has a very interesting portfolio. Unfortunately, the battle is determined by the development community where RIM is challenged.

    I agree that Apple and Android devices are hot. I spend a lot of time playing BookWorm on iTouch. I also have the device charging three times a day :( If you really need a phone, would you drain the battery playing games or listening to music or watching movies on the go?

    I don't know how many emails people get a day but my brother who works in IT for a major Canadian bank gets about 80 to 120 emails a day. It was a lot until he found out his boss gets about 250 emails a day of which she has to respond to about 80. Some people can type really fast on the Apple touch screen (my kids). I just feel a keyboard is helpful and thats where Android and RIM goes head to head.

    Yea, I read about corporate going Apple. SMILE. I still remembered the days and battles fought with IT to get RIM. Now that they have RIM and spent time and training they are going to adopt a consumer oriented device where 80% of the utility is more personal than corporate. Meh ... I may be wrong and the world has changed.

    I missed Apple and Nintendo knowing the stock was going to rock. I will miss Apple as I think the stock is priced for perfect execution. MSFT is a good buy even though the core is slowly going rotten. Google Office offering with gmail is taking traction. Since Balmer took over there may be some neglect in their SI (system integration) support or at least those forums have gone quiet as told to me by an SI folk. The cloud is winning slowly. As an investor, going into a value situation is always good ... safer for capital preservation. I am with you on MSFT as the fickleness of the market will change and you will make money.

    And finally, the world HATES Intel and MSFT. Everyone knows what happened in the PC world. Do you think they would allow it to happen again in the mobile world? Look at the PC market and who has the fat margins? Dell? ASUS? Symantec? LOL.

    Hey, at least you did well with Apple :) With RIM, you may have a chance to get some at lower prices. I found that tech stocks have to be traded to take advantage of the volatility. Tell that to a fund manager and he will look at me a a dirty self-serving broker ... sigh.


    BTW ... my next phone is an Android :) still using a RIM at the moment.

  5. @fnthawar WinMo is an interesting story to throw on top of Bing which is doing well, and on top of Win7, which is also doing well, and Xbox, which is also doing well. It has a growth story with the above combo.

  6. @Anonymous - thanks for the detailed reply. whom might you be? :)

    I almost forgot about QNX, they also bought Dash, and a few other great companies, but don't seem to be as fruitful as I'd expect the tech to be as a part of the platform. Or at least not et.

    That point about ECC is interesting, didn't follow that thread.

    I also agree about the whole security thing in the middle east -- most of their consumer users are not really going to care.