Friday, June 17, 2011

Morning Brief: Rough times ahead for BlackBerry maker; Maclean’s Ken Whyte takes over at Rogers Media

This should be the best of times over at Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of the Blackberry. The company has released a fairly well received new tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and in many parts of the world, their smartphones remain popular.
But RIM slashed its profit forecast yesterday and reported that it is continuing to lose ground to its new rivals. Worse, in a market that continues to expand as consumers replace their feature phones with newer smartphones, RIM was forced to concede that it had recorded its first quarterly drop in sales since 2005.

As a result of this, investors are fleeing the stock. Ahead of this morning's bell, RIM's share price is down sharply in premarket trading.

"As bizarre as this may sound and we admit we may be early, we believe there is risk that its much lowered FY12 guidance may still prove too optimistic," the AP reported Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu as saying in a note to investors. "That's because even the latest outlook assumes a strong recovery in BlackBerry unit shipments in the second half of the year."

Ken Whyte, currently the publisher and editor of Maclean's will be taking over the job of president of Rogers Publishing, effective Sept. 1. Whyte will be replacing Brian Segal who announced he was leaving the company back in April.

Whyte told Marketing, a Canadian publication, "I’ve been here six years, and I think that with Maclean’s it’s the longest time in my career that I’ve been anywhere. It doesn’t feel particularly rapid or swift to me. It’s fun to be busy, it’s fun to be trying new things, chasing new opportunities and working with new people."

Rogers Media recently sold off 15 trade publications, including Food in Canada, Le Bulletin des agriculteurs, Canadian Packaging, HPAC and Meetings & Incentive Travel, to Vancouver publisher Glacier Media. Marketing reported that "Whyte said it has whittled its publishing assets down to a core group."

Many tech writers are having fun writing about a judgement day for Amazon regarding their Kindle app for Apple's iOS devices. They say, without hesitation, that Amazon's Kindle app is not in compliance with Apple's developer rules and they the app will have to either be pulled from the store or updated.

In politics this called reporting the process, an obsession with reporting on, or inventing conflict where none exists.

Just last week, when Apple "loosened" its developer rules, writers were stating that the change was directly a result of making sure Amazon and Netflix remained with the platform. Now they are saying the opposite.

Yesterday I attended a webinar where I asked about those same rules and got a response that was essentially "we don't know" – that was probably the right answer. So why do some writers insist on writing this stuff? It's more fun than actually covering the news, I suppose.