The company is still profitable – it earned $695 million on revenue of $4.9 billion in its last quarter – yet some have begun to speculate on whether the Canadian government should step in to “save” RIM from the fate that befell Nortel Networks Corp., the last great Canadian technology company which filed for bankruptcy two years ago.
Given that RIM remains profitable, it seems premature to suggest that the government can or should do much of anything to assist it. The company faces mounting criticism over its product lines and its failure to address the competitive threats from Apple Inc. and Google Inc., business issues that lie beyond the expertise or mandate of government policy makers.
While RIM’s current problems can’t be solved by government policy, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) some of its shortcomings may be a product of Canadian policy [note not all – there is lots of blame to go around]. Indeed, RIM is the quintessential Canadian technology company, reflecting the market’s strengths and weaknesses [note that I recognize that Canadian revenues are a small part of the RIM’s overall revenues. However, the majority of its executives and workforce are Canadian. It is a company born out of a Canadian culture and market environment].