CBC Digital Archives

Research In Motion stays home

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In 1998, when the BlackBerry was invented, it was a wireless, two-way pager produced by Research in Motion (RIM), based in Waterloo, Ont. Today it's one of the most popular communication devices in the world. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are profiled in this CBC News report from 2000. The RIM founders say they are determined to stay at home while other Canadian technology companies are moving to Silicon Valley in California.
• Mike Lazaridis established Research in Motion in 1984 with fellow engineering student Douglas Fregin. The company was set up exclusively as a computer consulting business, but took a chance on the emerging wireless technologies four years later. • In 1988, RIM became one of the first companies in North America to become a wireless digital technology developer. Its earliest invention was a pager, but engineers realised that their device could be made not only to receive messages but to send them as well.

• Jim Balsillie joined RIM in 1992 with a personal investment of $250,000. Six years later, the first BlackBerry was made available to the public with a monochrome display.

• In 2001, a group of American investors filed suit against RIM Inc. for patent infringement regarding the building of its wireless e-mail network. NTP Inc., which held the patents, won the case and after several years of appeals that affected BlackBerry sales in the United States, RIM Inc. paid NTP Inc. $612.5 million.

• Jim Balillie's love for hockey came to the fore in 2006 when he made a bid to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. His bid was withdrawn when the NHL prevented him from moving the team to another city. A year later, Balsillie tried to buy the Nashville Predators and move them to Hamilton. That bid was also blocked by the NHL. 

• In 2009, Balsillie announced a bid to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes hockey club, which had filed for bankruptcy. The $212.5 million USD bid was conditional on relocation to a city in southern Ontario.

• At the time of this 2000 report, Paul Martin was the federal Minister of Finance. He became prime minister in 2003. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National Magazine
Broadcast Date: April 10, 2000
Guest(s): Jim Balsillie, Mike Lazaridis, Paul Martin
Reporter: Susan Reisler
Duration: 3:51

Last updated: January 31, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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