CANADIAN SMARTPHONE COMPANY Blackberry co-founder Jim Balsillie sold off his stake in the struggling smartphone maker within a year of stepping down as co-CEO of the firm.
Balsillie, who co-founded Research in Motion (RIM), which recently rebranded itself to Blackberry, decided to relinquish his position as co-CEO of the firm in January 2012 under considerable market pressure. According to a US regulatory filing, he didn't wait long to dump his shares in the firm, effectively severing all ties with the company he help build within a year of leaving his post.
Balsillie was known to have a 5.1 percent stake in Blackberry, the value of which had eroded considerably as the firm's stock price plummeted due to its inability to mount a challenge to Apple's iPhone and the army of handsets running Google's Android operating system. According to the regulatory filing Balsillie had no stake in Blackberry as of 31 December 2012.
While Balsillie's decision to sell his stake in the company last year seems to be another in a long line of questionable business decisions with the firm's prospects looking slightly better since the launch of its Blackberry Z10 smartphone, its share price hasn't moved much in the last three months, aside from a very dark period from August until October. Nevertheless, his decision to sell out last year suggests that he lacked faith in the firm being able to turn its prospects around.
Blackberry claims sales of its Blackberry Z10 smartphone have been higher than expected in the UK and the firm is gearing up for the US launch next month. The firm's performance in its core US market will show whether Balsillie made the right decision to walk away from the company. µ