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Senior management at Research In Motion Ltd. faced fierce criticism at its annual general meeting in Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday amid declining sales and an uncertain future with a delay of its new smartphone platform

Research In Motion Limited President and CEO Thorsten Heins listens during the annual general meeting of shareholders in Waterloo, Ont. on July 10, 2012. Senior management faced fierce criticism amid declining sales and an uncertain future with a delay of its new smartphone platform.

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Barbara Stymiest, RIM’s new chair of the board, began the meeting by stressing that she knows some shareholders are frustrated with the smartphone maker’s troubles but that the board has faith in the revamped management team.Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press

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“We understand that the company’s performance has not met expectations,” Ms. Stymiest told the capacity crowd at an auditorium on Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus. “For the board’s part, we remain committed to the management team.”

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During a somewhat confrontational question and answer session, one investor asked why members of RIM’s board had let the company’s continuing problems fester for so long, and argued that none of the old members of the board should stay on. Here, voting ballets are collected.

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Vic Alboini, of Jaguar Financial, first asked whether the board was searching for additional technology talent to augment the board – to which Ms. Stymiest said they were searching, and had enlisted a firm for such a task.

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Following the formal part of Tuesday's meeting, CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage to address investors. As he did in the company’s most recent earnings conference call, Mr. Heins acknowledged RIM is facing serious challenges.

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Although he did not reveal many new details, Mr. Heins updated investors on the company’s plans for the year ahead – chiefly, the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, which has once again been delayed. Originally scheduled for launch early this year, then this fall, the new phones will now not hit store shelves until the first quarter of 2013.

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Mr. Heins said the reason for the delay is the challenge of integrating large amounts of software code into the new platform. Once again, the CEO said he will not compromise on the issue of release dates, and argued that some telecom carriers prefer a 2013 launch because next-generation wireless networks will be more widely operational by then.

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RIM’s board has come under pressure over the past couple of years as Apple Inc.’s iPhone and a variety of smartphones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system began to take market share from RIM.

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In the past, shareholders have perceived the board as weak, once dominated by RIM’s former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie who both served as co-chairs of the board. Pictured here, from left, is Thorsten Heins President and CEO of Research in Motion with CFO Brian Bidulka and corporate secretary Grant Gardiner.

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