It’s easy to beat up on BlackBerry, (née Research in Motion). Everything about the company, from its delayed re-entry into the smartphone market to its hair-cutting antics and celebrity schmoozing reads as a “kick me” sign to anyone paying attention. So it should come as no surprise that the company’s stock has been falling since yesterday’s event, despite a semi-favorable response to the company’s new operating system and devices.
The slump is hard to ignore, as it took BlackBerry/RIMM’s shares down 12 percent yesterday and then 10 percent today. Reuters, and the analysts it quotes, blame the slump on a lack of information on the new products — you know, like when people in the US will actually be able to buy the things.
Not offering release dates is a pet peeve in the technology industry. Companies that show off a new product without offering more info are often accused of peddling in vaporware, holding press events for no real reason, or needing more time to finish the product they’re “launching.” You can often watch this wave of snark and hatred roll out over Twitter and tech blogs as the events go on, and then see these same people blame a falling stock price on that very issue.
Hey, it makes sense. Check out what happened to Nokia’s share price the day it launched the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, its high-end Windows Phone devices:
That drop at the end is the day of Nokia’s press event. Now, that event gave investors plenty of reason to worry beyond the lack of a release date. Nokia infamously faked video spots claiming to show what the Lumia 920’s “PureView” camera is capable of, garnering even more bad press than if were just playing mum about when the devices would come out.
Let’s look at a different event, then. This one went off without a hitch, introduced a suite of new, well-received products, and included all kinds of information about each product’s price and availability:
The same thing happened. That’s the event where Apple unveiled the iPad mini, which is seen as the best tablet — or computer, even — ever built, updates to its Mac line, and a refresh of the larger, original iPad. Somehow, despite having neither the iPhone nor the Foo Fighters, Apple pulled off a juggernaut of a show.
Then again, Apple is the company that can post profits and revenues on par with a year-ago quarter that benefitted from an extra week (which is nothing to most people but everything to a company operating on Apple’s scale) and exhibit growth in emerging markets before having its stock trashed for “failing to meet expectations.”
Not announcing when products that supporters have been waiting for despite delay after delay will become available isn’t the smartest of moves. Neither is airing a Super Bowl ad despite that lack of information, or resorting to gimmicks to drum up excitement for a globally broadcast event.
While these could all be factors in BlackBerry’s slump, there’s a definite trend of dumping on any company that dares hold an event or release financials. Apple doesn’t suffer the same communication problems as either RIM or Nokia, and its revenues (and cash stores) are higher than some countries’ GDP. Yet the company’s stock slumps with new announcements and financial reports, like many others.
It isn’t like there’s an easy way to fix this. BlackBerry, Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, and any other large technology company isn’t going to stop announcing new products or, you know, following the law and stop their quarterly reports. Perhaps the best thing to do is accept that this doesn’t make sense and deal with the fallout.
Put another, meme-worthy way: If you hold an event or release financials and your company’s name doesn’t rhyme with “schmamazon,” you’re gonna have a bad time.