The recent declines in profit, sales and RIMM stock -- which has plummeted 51% in the past six months -- has sparked mounting anxieties that the end for Research in Motion is imminent.
Speaking to these fears, RIM's new Chief Executive Officer, Thorsten Heins, vowed yesterday (Tuesday) that he will lead a turnaround for the beleaguered company, starting with a successful 2013 launch of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 phones.
Like a preacher on a pulpit, Heins maintained in an address to besieged shareholders that he would convert RIM into a "lean, mean, hunting machine."
"I have assembled a leadership team for RIM that's truly capable of taking us into the future," Heins promised.
BlackBerry fanatics, who helped coin the catch phrase "CrackBerry" to refer to their "addiction" to the iconic mobile phones, are pleading for RIM to make it - but it may be too late.
"If RIM continues to be run as it is, we believe that the company will eventually fail," wrote Nomura analyst Stuart Jeffrey in a June note to clients.
When Apple debuted the iPhone 4 on June 24 it broke sales records. In the first three days, the company sold 1.7 million devices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Germany, the most for any version of its top-selling product.
But the popular device has been plagued by misfortune - including the suicide of a Chinese worker, lost prototypes, reception problems, and an inauspicious introduction to the press and public when Chief Executive Steve Jobs could not get the phone to connect to the Internet.
The deal will catapult H-P, the world's largest tech company in terms of revenue, into direct competition with a handful of other tech giants - including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) - in the rapidly growing smartphone market.
H-P said it would pay $5.70 a share in cash for Palm, representing a 23% premium over its Wednesday closing price.
This may be the year when cheap prices finally drag millions of behind-the-curve consumers into the blossoming smartphone market, unleashing unprecedented strains on broadband networks as handset makers wage a price war in the midst of booming demand.
"The smartphone market will become ultra competitive in 2010," analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics told Reuters.
More than 1 billion mobile devices will access the Internet in the New Year, research firm International Data Corp. (NYSE: IDC) says. That's catching up to the 1.3 billion users that use a PC to go online, and the rate of growth for mobile users is 2.5 times the growth rate for PC use.