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REUTERS - Research In Motion Ltd has named chief marketing and operating officers as it looks to fashion a unified message ahead of the launch of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphones later this year.
Shares of RIM rose more than 3 percent after it said Kristian Tear, who was an executive vice president of Sony Mobile Communications, will take over as chief operating officer.
Frank Boulben, who was executive vice president of strategy, marketing and sales for LightSquared, will assume the role of chief marketing officer.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has been without a marketing chief since March of last year, when Keith Pardy left the company just ahead of the launch of the PlayBook tablet, an iPad competitor that has sold poorly.
RIM's stock has tumbled about 75 percent over the past 13 months as the PlayBook flopped and smartphones made by Apple Inc and those powered by Google Inc's Android have steadily eaten into the BlackBerry's market share.
RIM's share of the global smartphone market has slipped to 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from 13.6 percent a year earlier, according to research firm IDC, and it desperately needs a hit with its next-generation BlackBerry 10 devices.
For RIM, it's crucial to get developers excited about the platform so they will create a wealth of apps to operate on it. A dearth of apps for the legacy BlackBerry is one of the big reasons RIM has suffered huge market-share losses.
RIM has around 15,000 apps for its PlayBook tablet and 70,000 apps for its smartphones or the tablet, compared with 200,000 iPad apps, and half a million for the iPhone.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Frank McGurty)