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RIM updates Fusion while founder drops $100M on nano lab

RIM's official product news drew scant headlines compared with the huge financial donation by Mike Lazaridis

Remnants of Research in Motion’s glorious past are still garnering more headlines than its present efforts to get back on track.

Case in point: RIM released an update today of its Fusion mobile device management service to add new features for its own PlayBook tablet as well as for iOS devices. It also rolled Fusion out to another 37 countries, making it available in a total of 81 nations.

Yet all the big headlines (including the one from our source story by Bloomberg) went to RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis, who pledged a personal donation of $100 million to a new nanotech lab opening tomorrow in Waterloo, Ont. Not surprisingly for that massive chunk of change, the facility will be named after its benefactor and his wife under the moniker The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. A very long name for a facility that will do research into the tiniest technology.

According to Bloomberg, the RIM co-founder, who stepped down as chairman in January, still owns $214 million worth of RIM’s weakened shares – less than the value of $250 million he’s donated overall to local IT research and academic initiatives in the Waterloo area.

The most interesting gem comes at the end of the story when Lazaridis tells Bloomberg he “still regularly consults with (Thorsten) Heins,” the guy who replaced him and co-founder Jim Balsillie as co-CEOs.

We’d love to listen in on those consultations.