Saturday, January 3, 2004

RIM founder credits his teachers: "Mike Lazaridis is an inventor and multimillionaire who has won Academy and Emmy awards. He has been described as a high-tech pioneer in the mold of Bill Gates, an entrepreneurial genius with a passion for science and research."

"Lazaridis is founder and co-chief executive of Research in Motion, one of the world's leading wireless-communications technology firms. He is considered one of Canada's greatest innovators, which has also made him one of the country's richest men. In August, Canadian Business Magazine estimated his personal wealth at more than $300 million.

"And while he was born in Istanbul and now lives in Waterloo, Ont., Lazaridis credits his success to his formative years in Windsor. 'The teachers I had in Windsor molded me,' said Lazaridis, 42. 'If it wasn't for them ... I don't know if I would have ended up where I am today.'

"He's the brains behind the BlackBerry, a handheld gizmo RIM introduced in 1999. … By late 2003, an estimated 865,000 of the devices were sold worldwide, with some analysts predicting the BlackBerry is on the brink of becoming a global phenomenon. The company says it is on track for one million subscribers within the next year.

"For those who remember Lazaridis as a Windsor schoolboy, the BlackBerry is the logical extension of the complicated contraptions he has been constructing since childhood, beginning with a Lego record player he put together at age 4 and a ham radio set he built a year later."

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