Even today, after nearly tripling over the past 6 months, Research in Motion (RIMM) remains one of the most hated - and shorted - stocks in the market. Its problems and diminished stature have become so prominent, that the term "Blackberry shame" has been born out of RIM's troubles, and a whopping 86% of analysts still rate the stock Hold or Sell.
To say a lot is riding on this week's unveiling of its latest phone, the Blackberry 10, would be an understatement because this product launch is literally do or die.
"If this thing gets ignored or is seen as a nothing phone, what do you have... a few Playbooks? This thing has to work," says Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital in the attached video about the Wednesday debut of BB10 as the new device is often called.
He not only admits, but relishes the fact that he has "a more contrarian view than most of the street," on RIM, a position he started in November and believes "still has room to run."
While pre-launch press has been largely positive, Jackson believes skeptics are overlooking one key aspect that the Canadian phone maker has that other extinct and ailing competitors don't.
"There is a big difference between RIM and (Palm and Nokia), which is that RIM's got this huge installed base of about 80 million globe subscribers," he says. And it is because of this loyalty that Jackson thinks these diehards will continue to support the company they know and love.
"RIM doesn't have to sell many of these things for this to be a huge home run this year," he says, suggesting that if only in 1 in 3 existing subscriber buy the BB10, RIM will earn $4 to $5 per share this year, versus estimates of a loss of 47 cents for the year ending Feb 2014.
And there's another angle in Jackson's earnings surprise story: The carriers. In fact, he says, RIM enjoys 600 carrier relationships worldwide, many of which badly "want to see a third horse in this Android - iOS race."
While not sure what new licensing deals - if any - might emerge in the weeks and months to come, Jackson sees RIM shares headed to $45 and believes this turnaround story will continue to catch people by surprise.
"By the end of this year, RIM could be a pure play software company," he predicts.
- Technology & Electronics