RIM forced to change name of software

December 7, 2011 - 2:37 PM

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has been forced to change the name of its new operating system from BBX after the company lost a trademark ruling.

The name change is the latest in a string of bad news for the Canadian company.

RIM said in a statement Wednesday that "BlackBerry 10" will be the new brand name for its next generation mobile platform. Analysts say RIM's future depends on a successful launch of the new platform which RIM dubbed BBX in October.

A U.S. federal court judge in Albuquerque, New Mexico, banned RIM from using the BBX name at a conference being held in Singapore this week after finding that software company Basis International Ltd. had registered and used the trademark for 26 years.

RIM said the new name builds on the established BlackBerry brand. BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis called the forced name change yet another misstep by RIM.

"Is anything going right for this company?" Gillis said. "It shows the perceived chaos that's happening at the firm. It strengthens this perception of chaos and poor execution."

Gillis said products, ideas and direction are not being thought out with enough rigor.

BlackBerrys that run on the new operating system are expected to be released in 2012 after a delay of several months. RIM disappointed in October when they didn't announce a clear timeline for when it would release phones with the new software. The software was originally called QNX after RIM acquired the Canadian software-maker QNX last year.

The past few months have seen a variety of troubles for Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, which announced last week that is writing off much of its inventory of PlayBook tablets, since it has to sell them at a deep discount. It also warned of disappointing sales and earnings.

A widespread outage also frustrated tens of millions of BlackBerry users in October. Earlier this week, RIM fired two executives after their drunken rowdiness forced an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing to be diverted to Vancouver.

The head of its operations in Indonesia is also facing charges related to a stampede at a recent promotional sale where dozens of consumers were injured.

RIM continues to have success overseas but has increasingly lost market share in North America. Many U.S. users have moved on to phones with big touchscreens such as the iPhone and various competing models that run Google's Android software.

Shares of RIM fell 2.7 percent to $16.57 in afternoon trading on the NASDAQ.