By The Canadian Press - Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A glimpse into the state of struggling BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) will be revealed later today when the company releases its second-quarter financial results.
TORONTO – A glimpse into the state of struggling BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) will be revealed later today when the company releases its second-quarter financial results.
Analysts expect RIM will post a loss of about 47 cents per share, according to a poll from Bloomberg.
But the results could also be less dismal than some analysts have expected.
Earlier this week chief executive Thorsten Heins said that the company managed to add two million new subscribers to its services in the quarter — a surprise to many analysts who were predicting the number of subscribers to plateau.
Some analysts have noted that even though RIM has added new customers, many of them have been in emerging markets where lower priced phones are the norm.
Cheaper phones don’t add as much to the bottom line.
RIM has been pushing ahead with plans to launch its much-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system and new smartphones sometime early next year.
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 9:40 AM - 0 Comments
Dollars (at least in Canadian Tire money) to doughnuts, these companies enjoy the strongest reputations among Canadian consumers:*
1. Jean Coutu Group (pharmacies)
2. Tim Hortons
7. Yellow Pages
8. Alimentation Couche-Tard (convenience stores)
*From a survey of consumer attitudes toward companies based on, among other things, their corporate citizenship, leadership, performance, and products and services.
Source: Canadian Business (2011)
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The nswers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Mika Rekai - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Since RIM’s downfall, a number of unknown firms have vied for the title of ‘Canada’s biggest publicly traded technology company’
You have probably never heard of Catamaran Corp., but last week, it officially became the biggest publicly traded technology firm in the country. Since Research In Motion lost the coveted designation earlier this spring as its stock plummeted, a number of virtually unknown firms have vied for the title of Canada’s tech king. CGI Group was the first to overtake the troubled BlackBerry maker. The Montreal-based IT consulting firm jumped ahead after purchasing Logica, a British computer-services company, in May. Following the merger, CGI’s market cap rose to $6.19 billion, surpassing RIM’s, which was then $5.4 billion.
CGI’s TSX dominance, however, was short-lived. SXC Health Solutions recently acquired Catalyst Health Solutions in a $4.4-billion deal to become Catamaran Corp. The firm, which offers IT services for the health care industry, became Canada’s largest tech stock, with a market cap of $9.6 billion. Though, unlike RIM, its Canadian connections are thin—based in Chicago, it employs fewer than 40 Canadians.
While RIM’s stock value continues to fall (as of early this week its market cap was just $3.7 billion) it still holds one Canadian title: the highest revenue on the TSX Information Technology Index.
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM - 0 Comments
“This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral.”
Yesterday, RIM’s CEO chose magical thinking as his corporate strategy, stubbornly insisting that “there’s nothing wrong with the company,” despite a 95 per cent drop in the company’s stock, thousands of layoffs, and last week’s announcement of both a $512 million quarterly loss and a crippling delay of the Blackberry 10. Thorsten Heins knows that as bad as all this news was, the perception it created of Blackberry’s inevitable demise is far worse. Who’ll buy a phone that we all know will soon cease to exist? So the company line is that nothing is wrong. But RIM might go belly up whether or not its CEO keeps his chin up.
Clearly, the time has come to point fingers. I blame Canada.
By Blog of Lists - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM - 0 Comments
Before Research in Motion fell on hard times, its phone was the de facto gadget reference for authors exploring our hyper-connected world.
1. Martin Lukes: Who Moved My BlackBerry? by Lucy Kellaway (2005)—A satire about corporate life in the 21st century.
2. I Lost My BlackBerry Down the Toilet, and Other Generational Challenges in the Workplace by Steven Friedman (2006)—The title says it all.
3. Crackberry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse by Kevin Michaluk, Gary Mazo and Martin Trautschold (2008)—Remember when RIM’s phone was so popular it was equated to a drug?
4. The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood by Kathy Buckworth (2009)—About all the ways toddlers and technology are not so different.
5. Obama’s BlackBerry by Kasper Hauser (2009)—A fictional peek inside the President’s Smartphone One.
6. Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers (2010)—A philosophical examination into the “conundrum of connectedness.”
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The answers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists, hitting stands in time for Canada Day.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 5:40 PM - 0 Comments
Canada’s one-time tech darling says it will still offer 32G and 64G models of its troubled tablet line
Little more than a year after it launched its foray into the tablet market, Research In Motion announced it is getting rid of the 16-gigabyte version of its struggling Playbook.
In a statement e-mailed to several media outlets Thursday, the Waterloo, Ont. company said it will “remain committed to the tablet space” and that it intends to keep selling the 32GB and 64GB models of the PlayBook.
It’s merely the latest bout of bad news for Canada’s one-time tech darling, which is facing sinking sales, a first quarter operating loss and a plunging share price.
It’s now in the midst of a management shakeup and a strategic review by investment banks, including JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Canada that is widely rumoured to be studying a sale.
The PlayBook debuted last April as both RIM’s answer to the Apple Inc.’s iPad and a testing ground for the company’s new QNX operating system that it plans to incorporate into future smartphones.
But it quickly ran into problems, including the fact that users had to tether their Blackberry to the tablet to check their e-mail. RIM also faced stiff competition in the tablet market, not only from the iPad, but also from a growing array of Android-based tablets from companies like Amazon, Samsung and Lenovo.
Facing a backlog of unsold PlayBook inventory that caused it to take a $500 million write-off in December, the company slashed the price of its 16GB PlayBook to $199, a temporary price cut that eventually became permanent.
Sales of the PlayBook rose to 500,000 in the first quarter of this year, but that’s a far cry from Apple, which sold 11.8 million iPads in the first three months of the year, or even Amazon’s Kindle Fire, a tablet/e-reader, which sold 700,000. (Source: Reuters)
But RIM says it has no plans to get out of the tablet market. “We are going to continue to introduce new [tablet] products and we are going to continue to innovate,” a company spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.
By Gabriela Perdomo - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM - 0 Comments
That means developing more business apps, and taking on RIM
After only two years in the market, Apple’s iPad has been a remarkable success, cornering 68 per cent of the global tablet market, with 11.8 million units sold in the first quarter of 2012 alone. But to really secure its place as the king of tablets—and to prove its device is more than just a consumer toy for Web browsing and playing games—Apple is planning to conquer one final frontier: the business world.
The company has launched an aggressive global campaign to lure developers into building more business applications for the iPad. One of the centres of this push is Vancouver, home to a thriving community of software companies that have created successful consumer apps for Apple’s iOS platform, used on the iPhone and iPad. Apple is organizing regular developer meet-ups in the city with thousands of participants and inviting software companies to showcase their business apps to sales staff at Apple stores.
Angela Robert is CEO of Vancouver-based Conquer Mobile, one of the companies that is now focusing solely on developing business apps for the iPad, like Colligo Briefcase, which helps view, share, and edit content in a secure environment. Robert says she’s never seen Apple come after developers so aggressively. (With consumer apps, it was usually developers courting Apple.) She says the current offering of business apps is, so far, insufficient to convince company decision-makers that they need iPads. “It’s just like [Apple] did with the iPhones,” says Robert. “People bought iPhones only after they saw all they could do with apps.”
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 1:56 PM - 0 Comments
But it’s not enough to win over the skeptics
With Research In Motion Ltd.’s future looking increasingly dire, CEO Thorsten Heins stepped on a stage in Orlando, Fla., today and began the long and difficult process of trying to rebuild consumers’ faith in the beleaguered BlackBerry smartphone platform. It was Heins’ first keynote presentation at the annual BlackBerry World gathering and he used it to offer a sneak peak of the BlackBerry 10 software that will run RIM’s next generation of devices, which, after several delays, are set to be launched later this year.
Heins, who took over from co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in January amid a management shake-up, used a prototype phone to demonstrate a few nifty features of RIM’s new BlackBerry software. He reiterated that RIM’s focus is on making the BlackBerry a bulletproof communications tool—an attempt to differentiate RIM from industry leaders Apple and Google.
That includes a new virtual keyboard that can learn a users’ typing habits and prevent typos on the fly by adjusting the position of certain keys. There’s also a feature that spells out words over individual keys as they’re being typed, giving users the option of flicking them onto the screen with their fingers. Heins also showed off improvements to the BlackBerry’s multimedia functions, including a feature that allows users to “rewind” photographs so they can capture the moment they were intending to (i.e. before somebody blinked).
It wasn’t nearly enough to win over skeptics. “The parts of BlackBerry 10 demoed are slick,” wrote Jonathan Geller on the popular tech blog Boy Genius Report. “What we saw wasn’t truly innovative, though. It wasn’t compelling enough, and it’s unfortunately too late to try and gain enough traction and support for a third mobile ecosystem.”
With some analysts predicting that RIM’s global market share could slip below five per cent (it now stands at 8.8 per cent, compared to 24 per cent for Apple and 51 per cent for Android, according to Gartner Research), many observers share Geller’s belief that the only way for RIM to recover is if BlackBerry 10 is a runaway success story.
But coming up with another smartphone breakthrough, like the one Apple achieved in 2007 with the original iPhone, is no longer a realistic goal for RIM in such a competitive market. The best RIM can hope for is hanging on to its 77 million subscribers, and maybe pick up a few new ones.
The key will be getting the small things right, an area where RIM has struggled and Apple has excelled. That includes making a virtual keyboard that actually works, a user interface that’s intuitive and software that adds—not detracts—from the overall BlackBerry experience.
It’s going to be an uphill battle. But if the early looks at BlackBerry 10 are any indication, RIM appears to finally have gotten the message. With RIM’s shares down more than 70 per cent over the past year to $13.72, investors can only hope it didn’t arrive too late.
By Gabriela Perdomo - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 10:25 AM - 0 Comments
Canada’s Research in Motion holds its annual BlackBerry World conference today, in which some…
Canada’s Research in Motion holds its annual BlackBerry World conference today, in which some developers will have a glimpse at the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, the Financial Post reports.
It will be the first such conference with new CEO Thorsten Heins at the helm, following the resignation of co-founders and co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie earlier this year.
From the Post:
In order for RIM to survive, analysts say the company must continue to convince third party developers to create games and other applications that run on BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets, which is just one of the reasons why RIM will be focusing heavily on developer outreach at BlackBerry World this week.
Today’s event will be also be marked by disappointing news that RIM’s market share could soon fall below five per cent. The Post talked to analyst Mark Sue of RBC Capital markets:
“In the ever competitive smartphone market, Nokia, RIM, Motorola, Sony, LG, and a slew of others are donating market share while Samsung and Apple continue to gain market share,” he added. “We believe even RIM’s core enterprise market is at risk to rising bring-your-own-device pressures and switching to iPhone and Android. RIM is resorting to price cuts to boost sell-through, but that may not be enough to stem the tide.”
By Peter Nowak - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM - 0 Comments
I’m off to Vancouver for this weekend’s Canadian Video Game Awards. This year, I was honoured to be one of the judges so I’m not just excited for the nominees, I’m also keen to see if my picks end up winning. It’s almost like a betting pool, although I certainly wouldn’t do something so Pete Rose-ian. That would be wrong.
The awards are meant to honour the best in video game design, as done by Canadians. I wrote up a few preview pieces, which you can check out here and here. I really liked what Victor Lucas–host of The Electric Playground and one of the awards’ organizers–said to me about the event: “We really want to grow the CVAs to be something akin to the Junos or the Geminis. We should be just as proud of the games that are made here as we are of the music, television and films that are made here.” I couldn’t agree more.
You may know by now that Canada is a video game powerhouse–with 16,000 employees, the country’s industry is the third biggest in the world, after Japan and the U.S. Moreover, some of the best-known and biggest-selling franchises–Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Mass Effect, FIFA and so on–have been born and bred in Canada.
Having covered technology for many years, looking at Canada’s video game industry is a breath of fresh air. Our powerhouse status is the result of the overall market’s seemingly unending growth, but also some very smart government tax subsidies. That way, the whole Canadian sector has been mostly a good news story throughout its history.
By Peter Nowak - Monday, January 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Research In Motion finally pulled the trigger Sunday night, with the BlackBerry maker announcing that co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie were stepping down. Chief operating officer Thorsten Heins is the new CEO while board member Barbara Stymiest takes over as chair.
As the saying goes, it’s too little too late. Continue…
By Alex Ballingall - Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9:20 PM - 0 Comments
From Julian Assange to RIM–this year’s reversals of fortune
As the hockey world adjusts to stricter hitting rules and increasing concerns over brain injuries, Cherry’s tough-guy rhetoric seems more and more antiquated. The man of a million suits bowed to pressure in October and apologized after he called three former NHL enforcers “pukes” and “turncoats.” Weeks later, he declined an honorary degree from the Royal Military College after a professor took issue with Cherry’s alleged intolerance of French-Canadians, immigrants and homosexuals.
In September the former business mogul was returned to the prison population he once described as “an ostracized, voiceless legion of the walking dead.” U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve had re-sentenced Black to 13 more months behind bars in Florida for mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 2, 2011 at 12:45 PM - 0 Comments
Revenues hit by PlayBook flop, outage costs
Research In Motion warned on Friday that it expects to miss its financial target for the year, due to steep discounting of its weak-selling PlayBook tablet, declining BlackBerry shipments and a charge related to the global service outage that disrupted service in October. The hit from the PlayBook firesale, meant to promote the tablet among sceptical consumers, was estimated at US $485 million, while the October outage cost the company $50 million, meaning the Waterloo giant likely won’t meet its revenue guidance of $5.3-billion for the year.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM - 10 Comments
Lawsuits filed in both Canada and the U.S.
Research in Motion has been hit with consumers lawsuits in Canada and the U.S. over the four-day BlackBerry outage that disrupted email, instant messaging and browsing services for millions of users on five continents earlier this month, Reuters reports. North of the border, a lawsuit on behalf of all Canadian BlackBerry owners with an active service agreement at the time of the disruption was filed on Wednesday in Quebec Superior Court. In the U.S. a similar lawsuit was filed the same day in federal court in Santa Ana, California. The US complaint said that RIM earns at least $3.4 million per day on fees for a service that, the lawsuit argues, it failed to provide between October 11 and October 14.
By Jason Kirby - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 9:20 AM - 3 Comments
RIM’s PlayBook tablet launched to mixed reviews and plenty of doubters. But so did the iPad.
The official launch of Research In Motion’s PlayBook device in New York City, on April 15, didn’t muster the same international media blitz that accompanied the debut of Apple’s iPad a year ago. But the two events shared one thing in common—both sparked a fierce backlash over what the tablet makers failed to include.
As it stands, the PlayBook doesn’t come with email, contacts or calendar programs. Those applications can be accessed by wirelessly bridging the PlayBook to a BlackBerry smartphone, thus extending RIM’s airtight security features. But those without a BlackBerry must use online services, or wait for a promised update later this year. There were also complaints that PlayBook users have access to just 3,000 tailored apps, versus 65,000 for the iPad. The Wall Street Journal tech reviewer Walt Mossberg called the PlayBook “a tablet with a case of codependency,” and said he couldn’t recommend the device to anyone but “folks whose BlackBerrys never leave their sides.”
It didn’t help that just days before the launch, RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis walked out of an interview with the BBC because he was angry over the reporter’s questions. A Google News search for “Lazaridis and BBC” turned up nearly half as many hits as “Playbook and launch” for the past week.
By macleans.ca - Monday, April 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM - 0 Comments
Balsillie says company has “ambitious plans” in country, offers Medvedev a BlackBerry tablet
It’s no secret Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev is a fan of Apple’s iPad: he’s been spotted with the device at various state meetings. But on Monday, the leader met with Jim Balsillie, RIM’s co-chief executive, who offered Medvedev a new Blackberry tablet in a discussion about developing technology. Balsillie said he has “extremely ambitious plans to sell Blackberry in Russia, invest in R&D, (and) also to invest in start-ups.” Russia’s communications minister, Igor Shchyogolev, said Russia wants the most up-to-date technologies on the market. Balsillie also said that Russia needs to find a balance between state security and innovation in order to foster development of new technologies. Earlier this year, RIM fought with India after it demanded the rights to monitor BlackBerry services, including corporate emails. (RIM gave India the means to access its Messenger service, but not corporate emails).
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 4 Comments
Tech watchers are wondering whether Canada’s Research in Motion is on its way to becoming an industry “dinosaur.”
Faced with an eroding market share and middling reviews for its latest BlackBerry devices, some tech watchers are wondering whether Canada’s Research in Motion is on its way to becoming an industry “dinosaur.” But RIM still has a lot to offer, and nobody knows this better than archrival Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads has, according to Dow Jones, hired away five high-level RIM employees over the past year and a half—all of whom worked in RIM’s enterprise unit, which caters to corporate clients, RIM’s bread and butter. Apple has had a tough time getting a foothold with the pinstriped crowd, although that may be starting to change now that Bank of America and Citigroup are reportedly allowing staff to use iPhones at work.
But don’t feel too bad for RIM. Last year, it hired Don Lindsay, formerly of Apple and Microsoft, to be its new vice-president of user experience, and it’s probably not a coincidence that RIM’s latest operating system is much smoother and more intuitive as a result. And, speaking of dinosaurs, RIM also managed to lure rock band U2 away from Apple’s marketing department in 2009—a score, especially if it’s middle-aged lawyers and investment bankers you’re trying to appeal to.
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 10:40 AM - 5 Comments
RIM has finally unveiled a working demo of its rival to the iPad—the BlackBerry Playbook
Research In Motion has been locked in a bitter battle with tech rivals like Apple, but lately it seems shareholders couldn’t be happier. The company, which has been losing ground in the battle over smartphones, finally unveiled a working demo of its rival to the iPad—the BlackBerry Playbook—last Tuesday. Company co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis debuted the seven-inch, multi-touch tablet at the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, showcasing its integrated camera for video conferencing, high-definition screen and full Flash support—all features the iPad has been criticized for lacking.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has dismissed the Playbook as being “too small,” but RIM shareholders seem to disagree. The device, which hits store shelves as early as next March and is marketed as the world’s first “professional” tablet, drove RIM stock up 5.8 per cent on Tuesday and 10 per cent overall last week.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
RIM latest device, the Torch 9800, was unveiled this summer to be little more than an iPhone catch-up attempt
A few years ago, shares of Research In Motion were flirting with a price of $150 and co-CEO Jim Balsillie was talking about simply trying to steer the BlackBerry juggernaut, as opposed to actually driving it. These days, however, observers can’t be blamed for wondering if the wheels have fallen off RIM’s business altogether.
RIM latest device, the Torch 9800, was unveiled this summer and instantly deemed by tech blogs to be little more than an iPhone catch-up attempt—and a poor one at that. RIM sold about 150,000 of the devices in the U.S. in its first weekend, while Apple pushed about 1.7 million of its new iPhone 4s out the door during a comparable period, albeit through a multi-country launch.
By Jason Kirby - Monday, August 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Should tech companies be forced to be freedom fighters too?
When Research In Motion signed a deal four years ago to sell BlackBerry handsets in the United Arab Emirates, executives touted it as a “significant opportunity in one of the world’s fastest growing economic centres.” To human rights activists across the Gulf region, the BlackBerry’s arrival brought something else—a new way to evade regimes intent on stifling dissent. “Since the BlackBerry arrived, activists and human rights defenders have depended heavily on it to spread their activities and the culture of human rights,” says Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. “We’ve been able to reach people we never could in the past.”
Now with governments across the Middle East and Southeast Asia threatening to ban the BlackBerry unless RIM gives them access to users’ encrypted private messages, the Waterloo, Ont., company has unwittingly found itself thrust into a new role: freedom fighter.
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
The patent-holding firm NTP filed lawsuits last week against six big tech firms
After wrangling a $600-million settlement from Research in Motion in 2006, the patent-holding firm NTP filed lawsuits last week against six other big tech firms, including Apple, Motorola and Google, arguing the companies infringed on its wireless email patents. Critics say NTP is a “patent troll”—a firm that collects patents but doesn’t actually produce anything. Paul Kedrosky, a venture capitalist and blogger, argues the time has come to abolish these software and business method patents altogether.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 4 Comments
Easing rules on U.S. backers could be a boon to tech start-ups
There has been plenty of hand-wringing about the need for Canada to develop a high-tech economy, one that encourages entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who built BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion into a global success story. But the effort has been long on talk and short on action. Until now. The Conservative government has finally taken a hatchet to some of the red tape that prevents budding young companies from accessing sufficient U.S. venture capital, the lifeblood of start-ups.
Previously, U.S. venture capital firms were forced to complete untold hours of tedious paperwork every time they wanted to cash out of a Canadian company and realize any profits. Section 116 of the tax code withheld 25 per cent of the returns from the sale of any company backed by American venture capital funds until each investor—which could number in the thousands—proved they were a foreign citizen. The process, which isn’t applied to Canadian venture capital firms investing in the U.S., routinely held up the sale process by several months, or even years, driving away potential investors.
Michael Arrington, a prominent American technology blogger, commended Ottawa’s move by suggesting Canada has finally become “less of a leper colony for tech entrepreneurs.” He wasn’t kidding. Deal activity in the venture capital market last year fell to its lowest level since the mid-1990s, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Roughly $1 billion was invested across the county in 2009, down nearly 27 per cent from a year earlier. At the same time, the average Canadian firm with venture capital backing received about $3.1 million last year, less than 40 per cent of the dollars poured into their American counterparts. So while the federal government has taken an important step toward closing the gap, it will be some time before we can truly consider Canada a Silicon Valley of the North.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 3:00 PM - 8 Comments
The manufacturing heartland is ailing. Can it be saved?
The process of rebuilding after the Great Recession has begun in earnest inside a dingy mall in Oshawa, Ont. There, some 200 men and women pass through the doors of an employment “action centre” each week in search of a new job and, in some cases, a complete reset of their lives. Many are former auto workers laid off after General Motors shuttered its Oshawa truck plant and scaled back production at a neighbouring car plant last year. Others worked at parts companies. Few have easily transferable skills and many don’t even have a high school diploma.
Connie Snelgrove is the centre’s coordinator. She briefly worked for a supplier that built car seats, but lost her job in 2008. “I was only there two years, so I knew what the real world was—that everybody else [without skills or an education] is making $8 to $10 an hour,” says Snelgrove. “But these guys have been making good money and have been in the same environment for so long. I knew they were going to be in for a culture shock.”
Once comfortably part of this country’s large middle class—loosely defined as people who are neither rich nor poor and measured by things like a steady job, home ownership and a pension—thousands of Canadians are now turning to people like Snelgrove for help after losing their jobs and suddenly finding themselves on the margins of society. The fact that the employment upheaval, which cost nearly half a million Canadians their jobs over the past year, comes at a time when many households are carrying near record amounts of debt has only served to compound the financial pain, raising the risk of missed mortgage payments and bankruptcies.
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 4:15 PM - 13 Comments
Whatever the merits of subsidizing Nortel’s past research, blocking the Ericsson sale won’t get the money back
Technology and nationalism are heady enough intoxicants on their own; combined, the high is very nearly fatal. Still, it’s rare that you get quite such a frenzy of nonsense as has attended Nortel’s bankruptcy proceedings. It’s not uncommon for those who inhale the techno-nationalist fumes to forget some basic principle of economics or other. But in this case they can’t even seem to get their facts straight.
As countless commentators have informed us, the issue at stake in Nortel’s sale of its wireless division to Ericsson, the Swedish telecoms giant, is whether this precious national icon and its next-generation technology will be allowed to fall into foreign hands. Unless Ottawa steps in to prevent the sale, we are warned, we risk a repeat of the Avro Arrow debacle of 50 years ago. Continue…
By Colin Campbell - Friday, August 14, 2009 at 3:00 PM - 25 Comments
The BlackBerry is under attack and RIM’s giving the fight everything it’s got
Last month, a posting appeared on the popular Business Insider blog that no doubt filled some Research In Motion executives with a sense of dread. Under the heading “How I Ended My Affair With BlackBerry And Eloped With The iPhone,” former tech analyst Henry Blodget described how he somewhat reluctantly went out and bought Apple’s latest “it” phone, the new iPhone 3G S, after 12 years of loyal BlackBerry service. Business users have long been skeptical of the sleek iPhone and its touchscreen display, which can make emailing and typing a chore, but Blodget wasn’t disappointed with his switch. “It’s nice here in Apple world,” he concluded.
Research in Motion (RIM) is still a smartphone juggernaut, but the defection of influential business leaders like Blodget sends a chilling signal to the Waterloo, Ont.-based company. More than half of its 28.5 million subscribers are business users, and while they haven’t been dropping their BlackBerries en masse, momentum is quickly building behind the iPhone. While RIM reported a decline in the number of new subscribers in its latest quarterly results, Apple saw iPhone sales jump sevenfold. And when the new iPhone 3G S launched this summer, U.S. buyers snapped up one million of them in just three days. If the trend continues, and iPhone sales continue to rocket up, it’s easy to see who will come out on top. Analysts say that Apple’s rise out of nowhere to become a legitimate rival to the BlackBerry is something that RIM is now going to extraordinary lengths to guard against. Continue…