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Investor lobs sueball at BlackBerry, says it 'misled' shareholders

Class action claims execs shouldn't have talked up BB10

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A BlackBerry shareholder has filed a lawsuit accusing the company and its chief exec and CFO of inflating its share price with unrealistic promises about BB10, leading to thousands of investors getting burnt.

The suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan, New York, by one Marvin Pearlstein, in the names of "thousands" of investors who had bought BlackBerry shares over the year between September 2012 and last month. The filing alleges that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins and CFO Brian Bidulka "misled" investors with statements in a 27 September press release that said the company was on the road to recovery and that the new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS would prove popular.

Lack of precognition is not a crime, but the claim asserts that executives "published a series of materially false and misleading statements" spurring the public into buying shares before prices collapsed following the firm's 20 September admission that things were going pear-shaped.

Lawyers will obviously enjoy crawling over the wording, but at a first read-though, it looks as though Pearlstein's claims are based on two assertions regularly repeated by BlackBerry during the period – that BB10 (the new mobile OS based on QNX) would be terribly popular, and that this would lead to a resurgence in the popularity of the company's products and services.

BB10 was certainly a contender. On devices it's a very nice platform and arguably better than the competition, but only a bit better - when it needed to be spectacularly better to make up the ground lost.

According to recent reports, BlackBerry is currently being given the once-over by several companies who wish to buy its parts or swallow the whole. ®

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