Seas boiling! Skies falling! The dead rising from the grave! Yes, we are all sensitive to apocalyptic and eerie portents and signs on Halloween. That looming dread is part of the fun. It’s a great counterpoint to the sugar-rush/comedown portion of the holiday. “Horror, then sweets” goes the formula.
The world might not be ending and the dead might not be rising from the grave on Halloween 2011, but for some technology businesses, it certainly feels that way. As the year careens to a close, consumer spending remains tepid and the competitive landscape in a number of technologies — especially mobile devices — is changing with alarming speed. If Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are the happy trick-or-treaters in tech, then who are the publicly traded ghouls and goblins of the day? Consider these lost souls:
Can changing tastes and an unwillingness to change be considered a curse? Judging from the company’s performance over the past 12 months, it certainly seems that Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is living under a bad moon. The BlackBerry maker has seen share prices crumble from $70 in February to below $21 as of Monday. The pre-crash trading price of $145, hit around July 2008, seems a distant memory.
While RIM didn’t diss a gypsy queen to earn its declining fate, it has failed to transform its smartphone business and enterprise services into competitive products that can go head-to-head with Apple’s popular products or the openness of Google Android-powered devices. RIM’s share of the global smartphone market shrank from 19% to 14% over the past year. It isn’t coming back, either. Research firm IDC expects that share to shrink to 13% by 2015. RIM’s lonely future is to be devoured by a competitor for its juicy patents.