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If former co-CEO Jim Balsillie is smiling right now, it’s not because he’s holding a brand new BlackBerry 10 device — it’s because he recently sold off millions of shares of company stock, pocketing a ton of cash. Just how much did Balsillie dump? Every single share he ever held, which was somewhere around 26.8 million in total (as of December 2011).
The stock has been trading at around $14 to $15 per share, so that’s not a bad sack of loot to haul away from a business that Balsillie seems to be losing faith in . Balsillie may still have confidence in The Company Formerly Known as RIM, but the divestment certainly doesn’t imply as much. Could it be that he finally admitted to himself that the company has finally run out of steam?
That’s certainly been the prevailing sentiment in the tech industry for quite some time. The underwhelming public response to the BlackBerry PlayBook and the oft-delayed launch of BlackBerry 10 punctuate a spate of disappointments from the once-dominant smartphone maker. Even the recent launch of the Z10 has done little to restore confidence, though there’s definitely more excitement about the BlackBerry 10 flagship than there was about anything RIM launched in 2012.
It’s been a tough couple of years for the Waterloo, Ontario company. Balsillie’s decision to cut the financial cord and purge BlackBerry stock from his portfolio isn’t going to sit well with other investors. Once again it will be up to BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins to staunch the bleeding and assure everyone that BlackBerry is back — and that the Z10 is just the beginning, not the end.