BlackBerry Asks Investors for Something They Just Don’t Have Any More of: Patience

Today BlackBerry held its annual meeting.

At the meeting, BlackBerry’s chief executive officer asked for something from investors that most just don’t have any left of: patience.

“BlackBerry is still in the early phases of our transition,” Thorsten Heins said. “This isn’t just the launch of a new product but a whole new platform. While many will judge us on the basis of one quarter of a single product, we are not a devices-only product.”

BlackBerry surprised everyone when it returned to profitability two quarters ago after cutting operating costs by an impressive $1 billion, but sunk back into the red last quarter, disappointing shareholders and falling below many analysts’ forecasts.

Bloomberg explains the Canadian company’s recent troubles:

The Z10—more than two years in the making and designed to win over the touch-screen users of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy lineup—sold almost a million units fewer than analysts had projected last quarter. … BlackBerry’s worldwide subscriber base slipped to 72 million last quarter, from 76 million and 79 million in the preceding quarters. BlackBerry’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 2.9 percent in March as it was bumped into fourth place by Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone platform, according to research firm IDC.

Also at the meeting, the smartphone maker changed its name.

When Research In Motion launched the Z10 at the end of January, the Waterloo-based company surprised people by also announcing that it was changing the name of its company. The antiqiuated “RIM” was changed to BlackBerry, formerly only the name of its mobile device lineup. However, while we’ve all already grown used to the change, it was never technically official.

During the meeting in Waterloo, the board of directors and shareholders voted to make it official. Even though BlackBerry’s stock tickers changed months ago from RIM to BB and BBRY, the company name didn’t truly change until today.