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BlackBerry to refocus on corporate sales

TORONTO - Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. said Thursday that it will cede most consumer markets after failing to compete with flashier touch-screen phones such as Apple’s iPhone and models that run Google’s Android software.

Instead, RIM said it will return to its roots and focus on business customers, many of whom prefer BlackBerrys for their security. RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, and chief executive Thorsten Heins said a turnaround requires “substantial change.’’

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Also Thursday, RIM said former chief executive Jim Balsillie has resigned from the board. David Yach, chief technology officer for software, and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, also are leaving in a management shakeup.

The Canadian company long dominated the corporate smartphone market and has sought to expand its appeal to consumers, but it has had trouble because the phones are not perceived to be as sexy as competitors.

BlackBerrys are known for their reliability as e-mail devices, but they have not kept pace with iPhones or Android phones when it comes to running third-party applications.

Heins made his remarks after RIM announced quarterly results that fell short of Wall Street expectations. The net loss was $125 million, or 24 cents a share.

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