RIM’s Balsillie named Business Newsmaker of the Year

Jim Balsillie may have failed to land the NHL Coyotes last year, but his tenacious pursuit of the team gained the Waterloo billionaire both notoriety and the admiration of Canadians eager to see another professional hockey team in Canada.

Off the ice, the co-CEO of Canada’s most successful technology company, Research In Motion, proved that he could recover from repeated stumbles, both in his pursuit of a hockey team and at the highly successful BlackBerry maker.

Balsillie’s struggles have earned him the title of Canada’s 2009 Business Newsmaker of the Year, as chosen in an annual survey of editors and broadcasters by The Canadian Press.

RIM had ups and downs during the year. The company added 15 million subscribers as it grew into the consumer smartphone market. Unfortunately at the same time, it suffered two network crashes in less than a week near the end of the year and came under intensifying competition from rivals such as Apple and Google.