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The Week Ahead: BlackBerry struggles to thrive

By Tom Hudson, The Miami Herald –

While technophiles bask in the light of Apple’s newest iPhone 5, the darkness may be growing at the owner of the BlackBerry. It was only four years ago when Research in Motion Ltd. dominated the smart phone market. But this week the company has to convince both industry insiders and shareholders that BlackBerry isn’t wilting on the vine.

It could be a tough sale. Building excitement for the new BlackBerry 10 device faces the hype around the first week of iPhone 5 availability. This poor timing comes after several delays with the new device. It’s not expected to go on sale until early next year. That gives Apple, Motorola/Google and Nokia/Microsoft head starts of at least three months for their newest smartphones.

On Tuesday, Research in Motion holds a developer conference. This is a pep rally for software developers and others to see the newest BlackBerry. The company needs these people to design and build countless applications to keep current BlackBerry users around and hook new customers. In their spring quarters, neither Apple nor Research in Motion had new phones on the market. Apple sold 26 million iPhones. Research in Motion sold fewer than 8 million BlackBerrys.

On Thursday, investors will hear how bad the summer was for BlackBerry. With no new device, stiff competition and a shrinking stock price, expectations already are pretty bleak. The company’s bright spots a

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