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CEOs of RIM Step Down

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-long-farewell-aufwiedersehn-goodbye dept.

Businesses 164

An anonymous reader writes "After two decades of leading the BlackBerry maker, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balisillie are stepping down from their roles as Co-CEOs at Canada's Research In Motion Limited. Thorsten Heins will now lead RIM as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google."

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Too late? (5, Insightful)

methamorph (950510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38788947)

it seem's the decision they made is about a year too late.

Re:Too late? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789003)

Oh, it's WAY more than a year too late. Maybe 5 or so.

Of course, Microsoft is setting an absolutely terrible example for the industry. They should have at least demoted the dancing monkey way more than 5 years ago. Kodak board: Hm, there's been some serious financial reporting. We'd better fire the person telling us about it.

Of course, the only ones that take it in the shorts are the small investors.

Re:Too late? (5, Interesting)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789793)

You're absolutely right. They did nothing to react to the rest of the smartphone devices when they were pulling in money. It seemed as if years went by and their devices were exactly the same, as well as the same interface and services... all while the rest of the world was changing on a daily basis. That money should have been tossed in R&D while they had it, and now it's too late. With the interaction you can get from other solutions (exchange/web/etc) and better phones, they're way too late on switching out leaders. I don't believe they have enough revenue coming in to catch up. I'm guessing when stock drops more, a company such as Microsoft will gobble them up, considering MS is looking for a business platform for Windows Phone and has enough money to turn it around.

Re:Too late? (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790541)

The happiest scenario would be for MS to buy RIM, and run out of money trying to turn it around :) Then we could be rid of two of the worst UI offenders in one go.

Re:Too late? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789899)

> Kodak board: Hm, there's been some serious financial reporting. We'd better
> fire the person telling us about it.

*cough* that was Olympus. Kodak's board does seem clueless, but not evil.

Re:Too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790539)

Hey, the employees "take it in the shorts" as well.

Re:Too late? (4, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790595)

Oh, it's WAY more than a year too late. Maybe 5 or so.

Of course, Microsoft is setting an absolutely terrible example for the industry. They should have at least demoted the dancing monkey way more than 5 years ago.

I disagree. Microsoft's stock may have been stagnant over the last decade, but its also payed out an enormous amount of money in dividends. Ballmer wasn't holding the reins when the big drop in the stock happened during the dot-com bubble bursting, and the thing that Microsoft got out of it was a firm transition from a "tech" stock to a solid blue-chip stock. The type of investors who buy those securities are very different, and the responsibility of the board and CEO are very different. Microsoft showing solid revenue growth, relative stock price stability and consistent payment of dividends *is* what the stockholders expect. It means everything needs to be more conservative.

Contract that to Apple -- their stock graph, while steadily rising over time, has a sharp sawtooth pattern to it with quick-flip investors sinking billions into it, catching that wave. (I invested a pretty decent amount into Apple two years ago and have nearly *quadrupled* the amount by riding the sawtooth up!) But that pattern doesn't make Apple a better company or a better investment. I've got a lot of Microsoft stock, too -- that stock I'm equally happy with. I *expect* the Apple stock to crash. The investing pattern I follow (and clearly most investors are following, based on those cycles) is exactly that. We all *know* their value is based on transient hype, and not a solid foundation. Thats why people keep pulling money out, waiting out peak and buying back in the dip! The Microsoft stock, on the other hand, I know I'll get a steady return from and never really even consider selling.

For both of those, as an investor in both companies, I'm very happy with both Jobs' job and Ballmers' job.

Re:Too late? (2)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789099)

On the way home the radio said the new CEO is the current (err past, now) COO. It also said he's going to run it 'steady as she goes', so sounds like nothing will change, and the slide to irrelevance will continue... just with one less CEO.

Unless he's just saying that to not scare anyone off, and planning on big changes. Who knows.

Re:Too late? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789161)

If I were a RIM investor, I would be scared if he didn't make big changes. The old co-CEO's weren't tossed because they weren't liked. It was because they couldn't see how the iPhone was physically possible [AFTER it was demonstrated by SJ on stage].

Re:Too late? (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789293)

He will not make any big change. He said so. He's actually part of the problem, being COO for many years. The company will keep digging its own hole. RIM investors should leave the boat now, even though you shouldn't sell when it goes down. But this one will never go up again. Maybe unless they sell.

Marketing (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789317)

The big change in RIM is that they have been run by two people who really did not understand the need for marketing. Even when watching the Reality Distortion Factor at work, they didn't understand it. RIM's problem has been that they acquired consumer market share almost by accident and didn't cover it with love, hugs and kisses. They need marketing.

How many people understand the difference between pull and push email and how it affects them in the pocket? How many developers understand why Neutrino has advantages over iOS?

A serious marketing department would have launched the Playbook by giving them away to every Android developer who cared to ask for one. They would have spent money in product placement, developed a Curve phone optimised to work with the Playbook, and sold them as a single product so that people "got" the Bridge from day 1. Instead, they launched at far too high a price with a corporate advertisement that nobody understood. People saw the lack of native email as a downside, not seeing that with a BB phone you had one mobile connection that worked both devices. It was a classical launch by engineers who assumed that everybody was as clever as they were.

However, unlike HP, the tablet is pretty good, and there is still market share to lose. Their best bet is to spend marketing money outside the US in the emergent markets and Europe, since they cannot compete with Apple.

Re:Marketing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789493)

The big change in RIM is that they have been run by two people who really did not understand the need for marketing. Even when watching the Reality Distortion Factor at work, they didn't understand it. RIM's problem has been that they acquired consumer market share almost by accident and didn't cover it with love, hugs and kisses. They need marketing.

Marketing? It's maybe not the _last_ of RIM's problems, but it's pretty low on the list. They have worse issues: they kept coming up with a terribly obsolete and clunky phone interface for 5 years and they've been stupidly slow in trying to get their OS into this century, then also stupidly slow in replacing it with a better one they had to purchase outside. I had never used a BB in person until last June when my new workplace issued me with one. I could _not_ believe how primitive it was. It "welcomed" me with a java exception and a reboot, then I had a chance to practice on that famous keyboard. Shudder. Next day I offered to pay for an iPhone out of my own pocket. (Not possible at the time sadly. Maybe this year).

Also, the playbook: Marketing may have been awful (advertisement, price, etc) but the biggest issue is the damn email's missing. RIM's a one trick pony and their only trick, allowing them to survive way past their expiration date, is MISSING from their tablet? WTF. Just die quickly and stop making products or news.

Re:Marketing (1, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789867)

I have NEVER found anyone that "loved" their blackberry. They were winning simply because they were the only game in town that offered enterprise secure email.

notice they started their nosedive when they handed over the keys to Saudia Arabia. Their claims of "uncrackable" went out the window.

The other nosedive started with Iphone 3s and CEO's started carrying them. they did not want to carry 2 phones, so they ditched the clunky crackberry. Once that happens, it's game over.

Re:Marketing (4, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789969)

If you never found somebody who loved their blackberry, you just weren't looking very hard. For instance, frickin' Barack Obama.

They were quite popular and, among a shrinking subset of people, still are (particularly for BBM in social circles where sufficient people have that that you essentially get free texting without fucking with shitty 3rd party IM apps).

Re:Marketing (4, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790113)

If you never found somebody who loved their blackberry, you just weren't looking very hard. For instance, frickin' Barack Obama.

I've found the majority of those people didn't love the BB, they loved email on the go. They loved being fully connected all the time, and for a long time the BB was only device that did corporate email at all.

Re:Marketing (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790287)

Over here in the UK they got stuck between a rock and a hard place. Blackberrys initially became popular due to American companies fitting out their troops with the same tech used stateside. It quickly moved to UK based industries.

However, in terms of web, the crackberries were hard to develop for. The iPhone pulled a lot of custom after that. Then there was a slight reassurance as teenagers and social animals started using it for BBM messaging. And again, it earned a bad rap in facilitating last years riots in the UK, causing people to turn away from it further.

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790767)

Yeah. I hear they were popular in Kenya when he was growing up.

Re:Marketing (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790115)

Marketing? It's maybe not the _last_ of RIM's problems, but it's pretty low on the list.

when my new workplace issued me with one

RIM... its the microsoft of cellphones. Absolutely no one wants it and would never, ever, buy it for themselves, but they "need it for work".

They don't NEED traditional marketing at all in that environment. All they need to do is convince about 500 people at about 500 fortune 500 companies... etc

"No-one wants it" (3, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790205)

Ah, well, there you give away a level of ignorance. World wide, more Blackberries are owned by end users than by corporates. The entry level models are cheap, and cheap to operate. Android phones offer more but the battery life is usually much worse and the data plans cost more. Virgin Mobile in the UK, who ruthlessly limit their phone choices to reduce the chance of being stuck with unpopular stock, sell the 9810 as one of their flagship models. BB's new push with NFC is into the Turkish market - a developing country with 65 million mobile phone users and a lot to play for.

To succeed in this area, they need marketing.

I find it interesting that a number of people responding to my post simply don't understand why marketing is so important. I ask one question: How did Apple survive when it was in the doldrums and the products were pretty crap? Users were made to believe that there was a plan, and made to feel that in some way they had bought into a company that was going places. That was marketing, pure and simple.

Re:"No-one wants it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790981)

NO Apple was damn near dead in 1996. They hired Steve Jobs back and got a bunch of cash from Bill Gates. Then they began changing the world. Marketing was a huge part of it, but if your products are total crap you can't market your way out of this. Everyone Knows blackberry. The problem is all the marketing in the world will not make them want it.

Re:Marketing (1)

egork (449605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790577)

What you did not get is that the email is not "missing" from the tablet. The model is the separation of sensitive information (corporate email etc.), which stays on Blackberry and all the other stuff including your private data on the multimedia platform Playbook. But obviously due to the lack of marketing this was not really clear to a bunch of people.

Re:Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790603)

RIM's interface can largely be attributed to "Mike L wanted it."

The reason RIM didn't have a touch screen until recent days? "Mike L hates touch screens."

Meanwhile, the touch screen revolution not only passed them by, but grew retro-rockets and became airborn.

Re:Too late? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789847)

Someone needs to go down with the ship. Bet you he has a nice golden parachute to go with his suicide ride.

Re:Too late? About 4 years too late, in my case... (1)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790181)

it seem's the decision they made is about a year too late.

Oh sure, take me down with you!

Ironically, I just posted two Blackberry videos onto my YouTube portfolio channel yesterday that I had forgotten about (http://www.youtube.com/user/seanmurphydesign/featured#). I like the vids, but I tell you... my timing sucks! ;-/ If they had held off until I was gainfully employed again, I could at least try to forgive them. RIM was sinking anyways... why not give an old supplier a break, huh?

Re:Too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790195)

So, you're saying it's an issue of casualness?

Stock dump in 3...2...1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38788961)

Like rats from a sinking ship...

Re:Stock dump in 3...2...1 (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789175)

Not really... More like ejecting bilge water from a sinking ship. Perhaps since we're talking about smartphones, syncing ship?

Re:Stock dump in 3...2...1 (1)

baegucb (18706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790041)

Ah, a RIMshot ;)

Re:Stock dump in 3...2...1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790317)

More like a RIMjob.

Sinking below Windows Phone (1, Interesting)

thesuperbigfrog (715362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38788971)

It looks like Blackberry is doomed to sink below Windows Phone in terms of popularity and offerings.

They should still have US government customers for a while until the government-approved version of Android is widespread, so maybe a year or two left.

Beyond that, I don't see much of a future.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789031)

It seems to be the only way wince will go up a spot [4th?] is if somebody else will lose marketshare faster than they will, and RIM is working hard at doing it.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789079)

I just don't see that happening. I don't hold great hope for RIM's future, but I just don't think they could limbo under the WP7 bar any time soon.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789191)

I just don't see that happening. I don't hold great hope for RIM's future, but I just don't think they could limbo under the WP7 bar any time soon.

I actually do. Remember Microsoft still has Windows 8, Windows 8 Tablets, and Xbox 360 to use to push the Windows Phone 7 UI on everyone. All of that could fail... but "could fail" is still better than RIM's "tried it and already failed."

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789309)

still better than RIM's "tried it and already failed."

And being consistent at that !

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789989)

I'm not sure they're really pushing the Windows Phone UI. They're certainly pushing the Metro UI look, but the interface on the Xbox is so far from the ideas incorporated into WP7 (the information density on the Xbox is very, very low) that I'm not sure they know what they're doing well enough to get any sort of "synergy" going.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790011)

Just to clear up my other post, Metro UI on the Xbox is basically the old Blades with a facelift, and Metro UI on the PC is just a graphical style for big, simple, touch-friendly icons. I don't think either is going to drive people to try it out on the phone where it is genuinely effective at summarising information and letting you get things done.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790753)

This is what people refer to when they say geeks don't "get it". Continue working your 80-100k job, and spending your evenings recompiling your kernel.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

thesuperbigfrog (715362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789313)

I think that Windows Phone will slowly improve in market share using the same strategy that the Xbox did: pushing enough money into it until it eventually works. Whether it will actually take off to the same success as the Xbox remains to be seen. If they get a few killer apps (e.g. Halo for Windows Phone), then who knows what might be possible.

It will be a money sink for a while, but Microsoft can afford to continue to pump money and work into it. They know that they have to since phones and tablets are stealing some of the usual PC sales. They want to steal some of the market from Apple and Android and they certainly have the opportunity since the field is still changing.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (3, Insightful)

thesuperbigfrog (715362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789393)

[self-replying]

Just wanted to clarify what I meant by "the field is still changing".

I think that Apple will not increase much further in smartphone market share because Steve Jobs is no longer leading the company. The last time that Steve left Apple things did not go well and the company nearly went under. I don't think Apple is headed downhill yet, but without the visionary man who made the company in the driver's seat, it will be run differently, and I believe, not for the better.

Android is constantly changing, partly because there are so many players, but also because Microsoft and Apple are applying pressure to most of the Android players through patent lawsuits and license agreements. I expect that Android will continue to hold significant market share because Google wants it to succeed and several of the OEMs have already had success with it.

With these two dynamics in play, the smartphone market is still changing.

BB now - Apple pre JobsII (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789675)

Apple indeed nearly went under, not just because of Jobs but because they were stuck on an obsolete platform with its legacy ties to the 68K architecture. Apple then went through a lot of pain while making the transition to BSD.

BB is currently stuck on a legacy platform with, I suspect, vast cruft to support. They are transitioning to a new platform, based on QNX Neutrino, which is potentially a much better phone/tablet OS than either iOS or Android. In effect, they need what Apple got; a genius marketing director who was ruthless about ensuring that products met the needs of the marketing department, coupled with a platform that was good enough to support what he wanted to do. They have the platform. They need a Jobs.

Re:BB now - Apple pre JobsII (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789779)

You say RIM needs a Jobs? There's a tired joke in there somewhere...something about comparing apples and blackberries.

Re:BB now - Apple pre JobsII (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790189)

oh you mean this? [youtube.com]

Re:BB now - Apple pre JobsII (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790359)

I don't see how you (or the GP) could have blamed a hypothetical Apple bankruptcy on Jobs. He was pushed out in 1985, and Apple continued doing well until the early 1990s, half a decade later. It wasn't until the mid-90s that Apple was starting to look like a trainwreck in slow-motion.

Jobs was brought back with the NeXT acquisition, Apple was in dire straits then, but if it had failed it wouldn't have been a direct result of Jobs' actions (if he'd done the same things, but say hypothetically Apple didn't have the cash in the bank to tide itself over). That would be like blaming the incoming president for the mess the previous one left, a mere six months after the new one took office.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790199)

There's quite a few differences between the Apple of 1985, and the Apple of 2012.

#1 is that Steve Jobs spent a decade clearing out projects that were going nowhere, instead focusing the entire company on a handful of projects that all tied together in order to increase each one's value.

#2 is that Steve Jobs spent a decade clearing out the stiffs that were "managing" the place in the 90s, and installed people that had the same drive he did, and set the whole company up to focus on design and proper function, rather than shoveling out products for the sake of announcing products. There's no John Sculley running things today.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789549)

Depends wether MS are willing to go all in on phones and tablets, or intentionally try to hold them back to prevent them eating into PC market share, which is what they generally seem to do.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (2)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789985)

Not sure about phones, but for tablets by all appearances they're so "all in" that it's the opposite: they're going to hold back the PC to chase the tablet.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790137)

The next win phone OS looks pretty good. I think it could provide a decent uptick for MS on mobile devices if they can get it on some okay hardware. Having it available on the nearly free t-mo phones will help get it out the door at least.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789789)

That government contract would sweeten the price if they sell the company now. An established company like Samsung (for example) could end up as the defacto supplier of Android phones to the federal government. That's gotta be worth some bucks.

Re:Sinking below Windows Phone (0)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790081)

I'm personally not a fan of Blackberry smart phones (android for me) but from what I see around day to day are blackberry's android phones (mainly Samsung variants) and iPhones.

Blackberry's seem to be very popular with people who are under 30 and not geeks.

Blackberrys are easy to use with web pages and have a physical keyboard which is easier than most on screen keyboards to type with and they are a reasonable price and do what most people want them to do.

The other interesting thing about blackberrys is that a lot of owners had iPhones and Android phones previously and chose blackberry for their upgrade. Maybe it is a fashion thing, iPhone and Android were cool to have last year I really don't know.

Slow down, slow down, one step at a time ... (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38788975)

... will now lead the BlackBerry maker as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google

Slow down, slow down, one step at a time. How about we get the company nice and healthy first and work on dominating the industry after that.

Re:Slow down, slow down, one step at a time ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789001)

Perhaps they can get nice and healthy by not trying to compete.

But yes, the quote is a bit of a funny statement, and your response is funny. Perhaps a better way of putting all of this is that it would be more realistic and acceptable for RIM's goal to have a healthy market share alongside its rivals. To coexist, rather than beat or be beaten.

Beat? (4, Insightful)

addie (470476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38788987)

"as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google"

A strange choice of words. I think "as it attempts to compete with the likes of..." would be more accurate and desirable - the last thing the technology market needs these days is a single, clearcut winner (at least, if you're a consumer). That aside, as a Canadian I'd like to see RIM survive on its own and if this helps to shake things up then it's a welcome move; I don't fancy the thought of the Samsung chaebol gaining even more power than it already has.

Re:Beat? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789011)

In a free market, the ultimate objective of every company is monopoly and the untold wealth that position brings. It is a game that everyone must play, but none may be permitted to win.

Re:Beat? (3, Insightful)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789167)

I'm not sure this is really accurate... Sure, a pie in the sky goal is to make 100 billion dollars and marry a supermodel. But in terms of realistic, achievable goals, these are what you need to be successful. So op is correct, a better goal may be to be a peer in the smartphone game rather than trying to dominate.

Re:Beat? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789227)

Indeed. That's what I always say: "Free market" is the polar opposite of democracy.
It is the perfection of the law of the jungle.
Yes, primitive animals might work like that.
But we humans found out, that working together brings a huge evolutionary advantage.
If only me and some single other guy are left, fighting over the last piece of bread that has enough energy to allow only one of us to get to that spaceship, on a otherwise dead planet, then I can start thinking about beating him.

But in a business, in a OK country, every dollar I pay my employees, is a dollar they will spend on the economy, including me. Every client I treat nicely and don't betray or disappoint, will be a friend that's there for me. (Unless he's such a "free market" dick.)
And with the competition: Hey, if they actually make better products, they deserve to succeed. Not "win". Succeed. Since one succeeding doesn't mean the other must die off.

I guess what I want to say is: I want some people to make business with, that are not dicks, but that I can trust to treat others right, so that I can treat them right too, and know I'm not gonna be the idiot in the long run.

The only groups I found that offer anything like that, are:
- The Pirate Party - Simply because they dare to say that they are only humans, imperfect, biased, emotional, normal human beings, but with the same dreams that I have. (Not sure they'll survive intensive lobbying though. :/ But I'll say they will!)
- Those guys: http://en.gandi.net/no-bullshit [gandi.net]
Honorable mentions:
- Fair Trade and similar efforts
- Frosta, Frozen fast food that doesn't disappoint when you open the pack, because they use actual normal ingredients you'd buy from a farmer too, instead of industrial crap. But I wish they would be a bit more open about how they treat their employees. (Not saying they treat them badly. Just saying that I don't have enough information to truly add them to the list.)
- Perhaps this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konosuke_Matsushita [wikipedia.org]

Feel free to add yours to the list. (They should be friendly to their employees, clients and competitors, as far as you know.)

Far from insightful (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789941)

That is just tired, neocon Randian fluff. And there are still some economists and consultants who will tell you so. In a free market, the ultimate objective of many intelligent company managements is to identify a profitable niche and fill it.

This is because any market with a complete monopoly means that customers will try to get out of that market altogether. Dell does not really want to be the only PC maker, because then anybody who really hates them will try and find an alternative to PCs, and that alternative may become the new norm. End customers actually need choice, because the perception of competition in the market generates buzz. The mere fact of competition brings the segment to the attention of people who would otherwise not hear of it. It increases the size of the market and enables companies to grow without having to do so at the expense of the competition.

Also, of course, there is no such thing as a "company" in terms of objective; there are people. Even the best CEO (who doesn't know he is going to die or retire before long) is aware that without competition he doesn't have a plan B if things go wrong, and his salary is likely to be lower than it would be if the shareholders think he might jump ship.

Re:Far from insightful (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790157)

identify a profitable niche and fill it

So shrink your market to a niche and monopolize that instead? The goal is still to crush all competitors and achieve monopoly position even if it's only a smaller market segment.

Re:Far from insightful (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790399)

That is just tired, neocon Randian fluff. And there are still some economists and consultants who will tell you so. In a free market, the ultimate objective of many intelligent company managements is to identify a profitable niche and fill it.

No it's not. Any company, if given the chance, would prefer complete market dominance over anything else. In a completely free market, there's nothing stopping you from buying up all your competitors, and that kind of power snowballs. You can start to buy up companies in completely separate market niches. And that's even with "intelligent company managements". Yours is just tired old Randian fluff.

Re:Far from insightful (2)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790483)

Concur. Just look at Apple as example--although several of their actions look like they're bordering on monopoly abuse, history has shown they don't care that much about market share. They're after revenue/profit share, market share is a bonus along the way that may (or may not) help with that.

This is why they don't really care that Mac market share is only around 10% (globally), or that iPod nano cannibalized the hugely successful iPod mini market, or the iPhone cannibalized standalone iPod sales. History abound with companies that failed to invent and/or capitalize on the next big thing, deny or try to bury it, and are left in the dust. Kodak with digital photography; RIM with consumer-friendly touchscreen phones; and to a lesser extent Microsoft, which still pulls in record revenue and profit and are successful by Wall Street standards, but have "lost" the browser wars and with it control of consumer computing (they also lost the mp3 player war, and it'll be several years before we see if their phone strategy works).

Re:Beat? (4, Informative)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789107)

"as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google"

A strange choice of words. I think "as it attempts to compete with the likes of..." would be more accurate and desirable - the last thing the technology market needs these days is a single, clearcut winner (at least, if you're a consumer). That aside, as a Canadian I'd like to see RIM survive on its own and if this helps to shake things up then it's a welcome move; I don't fancy the thought of the Samsung chaebol gaining even more power than it already has.

I thought you had made a typo with chaebol but no http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaebol [wikipedia.org]

"Chaebol (from chae: wealth or property + pl: faction or clan)[1] refers to a South Korean form of business conglomerate. They are global multinationals owning numerous international enterprises. The term is often used in a context similar to that of the English word "conglomerate". The term was first used in 1984.[1]"

About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789015)

A day late and a dollar short....

As much as I enjoy some friendly competition.... (1)

mynis01 (2448882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789033)

...I'd rather see google buy them out and crush the competition. Just sayin...

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789157)

Ouch, a little bit of late night hatin'! When I'm trying to fall asleep, I prefer to think warm fuzzy thoughts. - Sent from my iPad.

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789325)

So, what makes you think that Google having crushed competition will bring a better overall landscape of smartphones? What could we possibly gain from such a thing?

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789357)

What could we possibly gain from such a thing?

Depends how much you'd enjoy seeing your telcos bent over and squealing like pigs.

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789381)

We already saw that with the iPhone. But that was Apple. Now, as far as telcos are concerned, I don't think Google has had anything to make them bend over and squeak.

Please try again.

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789425)

We already saw that with the iPhone. But that was Apple. Now, as far as telcos are concerned, I don't think Google has had anything to make them bend over and squeak.

Please try again.

Hence the need to first crush the competition.

Y'know, that precondition already mentioned in this thread? You do comprehend what you read, don't you?

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789501)

But so far, Google is in the game for profits, not for some noble quest against telcos. At least, all pointers seem to indicate that. So having Google crush competition will more likely result in nothing good for the customers - both in the smartphone and the telco arena at least.

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789767)

We already saw that with the iPhone. But that was Apple. Now, as far as telcos are concerned, I don't think Google has had anything to make them bend over and squeak.

Please try again.

If you bend them over and they only squeak, you're either doing it wrong or you're poorly equipped.

Re:As much as I enjoy some friendly competition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790861)

Yea cause I'd love for a single mammoth ad network to have my (everyones) mobile. You do remember google is an ad network right?

Perhaps you should return to rolling back and forth in the fetal position while muttering 'do no evil', a pro-Microsoft article might be on the way soon.

Hmmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789039)

I'm looking for a good RIM job... do you think being CEO would suffice?

Re:Hmmm (1)

Zanterian (1624397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789109)

in the office or on the streets, you're still be paying to get a RIM job...

Headline should have been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789091)

"Top RIM jobs now two for one"

And nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789143)

You know your phones are going to burn and die when Windows phones are doing better than yours.

Really weird. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789225)

Just give this generation of developers a better share on their applications than the competition and see how things shake out.

Classically they might be considered business phones, but snag one exclusive that makes you stand out...

Bye bye RIM... (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789253)

I guess that'll be the end of RIM. Last year it was REM. What's next? RAM? ROM?

Re:Bye bye RIM... (5, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789419)

I guess that'll be the end of RIM. Last year it was REM. What's next? RAM? ROM?

Oh dear God, please don't let it be rum!

Re:Bye bye RIM... (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790411)

sskay, ther'l ollways be vodka

Re:Bye bye RIM... (2)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790883)

<pirate>But why is the rum gone?</pirate>

Must be a sad day for these guys (3, Insightful)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789259)

Their will be a lot of snarky "too late" comments today for this news, but it's a sad day when you have to step down from the company you worked so hard to build -- a company that must feel an extension of yourself -- and it must have been a really tough decision for these guys. No doubt they still wanted to prove themselves (and who wouldn't, given their situation?). I feel sorry for them. It's easy to be an armchair CEO, especially when you have hindsight.

Re:Must be a sad day for these guys (4, Insightful)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789281)

Surely there's some truth to that, but... as CEOs they've made their millions, and they probably will receive millions more as a severance package. Hard to feel that sad for them.

Re:Must be a sad day for these guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789407)

Lazaridis has used some of that money wisely, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perimeter_Institute_for_Theoretical_Physics .

Does this mean... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38789329)

...that there's now a high-level RIM-job available?

Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (4, Insightful)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789375)

Thorsten Heins is a RIM guy through-and-through, he was personally responsible for a lot of RIM's decisions in past years. His introductory video [youtu.be] basically shows a guy who is out of touch with RIM's fundamental problems.. he promises more of the same, which is really just a recipe for disaster. Compare this with Stephen Elop of Nokia and his "burning platform" [wsj.com] memo which showed a new CEO who realised just how screwed their company was unless they made very radical changes.

Although it isn't certain that Elop will manage to save Nokia, he at least understood that painful changes needed to be made. I'm not sure that Heins understands the dangers that RIM finds itself in though..

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789525)

To put that in a clearer context, Elop was an outsider that the Nokia board hired precisely because they understood their own ignorance about the situation and needed someone willing to make changes. Promoting from the same board that's been screwing up RIM for the past half-decade is a mistake.

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (5, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789723)

You talk about Elop like he is a good thing, when he is either a complete idiot or a Microsoft shill (I estimate the latter).
He was correct that Symbian was a difficult environment to develop to (my company gave it up for that reason), however Nokia had explicitly asked Symbian developers to hold on and they would provide a unified dev environment for all their platforms based on QT, so things were getting better. So, with one announcement he breaks the promise and alienates the thousands of Symbian developers. Developers are the only thing more important than consumers, by alienating them he most likely guaranteed Nokia will fail. He is probably confident that Windows developers will jump to Windows OS so he doesn't really need the traditional Nokia developers. He is probably wrong.
Then, his only problem with MeeGo (that he admitted - not being a Microsoft OS is more likely the true reason) is that at most Nokia would have one MeeGo device this year. Hey! Do you know which other company does not release more than one new device per year? Perhaps the one you are trying to go after? How do THEY do it? And of course, let's not mention that it was a lie - they had TWO devices to release, the N9 which was released in very small markets (Kazakhstan, Denmark etc lest someone might notice how good it is) and the N950 which was not sold but given to a few select MeeGo developers (you can't even find it on ebay at any price).
And have you seen the N9? Probably not since it was not sold in any major markets, but it is truly an awesome device mainly due to its OS. My company currently mainly works on iOS so I have all the Apple devices at home, but when my wife saw the N9 it was the only time she was impressed by a device. (Her words after trying out "hey, compared to your iphone this looks like it came from 2050!"). So while the N900 was the perfect geek tool, the N9 is the only device I have tried that is easier, more fun to use and much much more powerful than the iOS devices (sorry Android...).
So, yeah, while Symbian had to go, the developers should not have been scared away. They should have been first moved to MeeGo, which was the original plan with the QT platform being the common denominator, and all resources gone to MeeGo which (sadly, because it is stillborn) is the best current mobile OS, although the limited resources behind it kind of show up as some instability...
If you think I talked to much about Nokia, you should see how much I could say about RIM. However, current litigation prevents me from doing so, so commenting on RIM's outgoing "NIH" leaders or their successor will have to be deferred to a later time...

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789859)

It was a great plan, but Nokia simply did not execute. They needed to start delivering on that plan in 2009. Qt was supposed to be a stopgap between 2008-era Symbian and 2010-era Meego, right? Well, they didn't start shipping Qt on phones until 2010. The stopgap was two years late. And then the first Meego device appeared in 2011! Software development on Nokia devices was dead as a doornail long before Elop became involved.

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790341)

> Qt was supposed to be a stopgap between 2008-era Symbian and 2010-era Meego, right?

No; Qt was bought to make Symbian development *tolerable*.

The original strategy was to make Symbian open source, so that third-party phonemakers could adopt it for free and provide additional development resources (i.e. what Android managed to do), and then lay Qt on top to make it look good and keep the worst bits of Symbian away from application developers. There was no real plan to ditch Symbian.

The Maemo / Meego project was a skunkworks operation, run by "some linux people" with very limited resources; it was started as a *tablet* OS, which was so successful that they started thinking it could have worked on phones as well... maybe... one day... in the remote future... if we are lucky... etc etc. When it became clear that the iPhone was not a fluke and Android was on the rise, the Maemo project all of a sudden became "the future of Nokia", mostly because it was the only thing they could show around without being laughed at. A system built on GTK components had to be rebuilt with QT, to provide a path to Symbian developers. A strategic agreement was struck with Intel by marketing people with no realistic insight in the engineering process (or misled by engineers under-estimating the required effort), in the desperate attempt at getting some market share, and so a system built on Debian was rebuilt on RedHat, losing another year of development in the process.

Meanwhile most of the company simply went about their ways, pushing Qt-on-Symbian as the only development platform you'll ever need. The cultural and strategic disconnect inside Nokia was huge. Eventually, board members got nervous and brought in Elop to clean up the place, and the rest is history.

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790421)

Wow, there is somebody on Slashdot who sees the Meego history in realistic light.

And Elop just may be doing a few things right: we finally get sales figure estimates for Lumia not entirely pulled out of some banker's orifice, and they show some respectable numbers [businessweek.com] , this before US sales have rolled in.

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790237)

The problem was that Nokia's lunch was being eaten by both Apple and Google on all fronts.

They couldn't hold in. With Windows Phone 7 they're risking irrelevancy. With Symbian/MeeGo/Qt, they ARE irrelevant.

Re:Heins and RIM vs Elop and Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38791079)

Nothing better than an extremely bitter nerd. Somehow I'm not sure anyone should take business advice from a Greek.

Can't get much worse (1)

xombo (628858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789489)

At least someone is going to have to start taking responsibility for what's going on over there. QNX is going to be interesting to see on their devices next year. I think the big thing driving smartphone sales right now is price, and RIM hasn't been able to release an appealing device with a price point low enough to drive people away from the alternatives.

This action creates two new jobs (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789531)

I hope I'm considered for the role. I've always wanted a RIM job.

Yes, re-arrange those deckchairs (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789593)

And the band will keep playing all the way into the vasty deep.

Nonono. You mis-spoke yourself. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38789995)

He will lead RIM as it attempts to get bought by someone for the IP and then forgotten like every other IT relic out there.

Hope Thorsten can right the ship (1)

StatusWoe (972534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790369)

After these 2 trip into their lifeboats. I'd love to see some life breathed into this great company.

Correction: (2, Funny)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790575)

There was a typesetters' error in the last sentence of today's RIM article. It should have read "Thorsten Heins will now lead RIM as it slogs toward inevitable bankruptcy and asset fire sale to the likes of Apple and Google." We apologize for the error.

first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38790735)

to trying to sell the company

I don't see the problem, enlighten me? (4, Insightful)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38790969)

I don't really see any major problems with RIM. Their target market is businesses who need security and granular manageability. The company I work for happens to require those things. RIM is the best choice I'm aware of to meet those requirements. I will qualify that by saying I am a BES admin so maybe a little blinded by that, which is why I'd like fellow technical people to let me know what the real issues with RIM are and how the competition is superior.

As for devices themselves... I use a Bold 9900 currently and I like it. The touchscreen is great for navigating, though every now and again I have to tap something twice which seems due to slower processor taking a moment. This does not bother me. The built in browser now supports tabbed browsing, a plus but wasn't a big deal for me. The trackball is now a touch sensitive input, like the 9700. Before this phone I thought the 9700 was great with the upgrade from trackball to touch sensor. I disliked the smaller screen and size of the 9700 as I went to that from a 9000.

The Bolt 9900 meets business needs as I see them and as I use my phone. It provides secure email, whole device encryption, excellent remote management, and a functional level of referencing pdf/doc/xls/ppt... As functional as can be on a small screen. Android/iOS devices are marginally better at this due to the larger screen, gained from lack of a physical keyboard, but still not great. For referencing or especially editing those types of documents you're into tablet or notebook territory simply for the larger screen.

The only downside I see to the 9900 for the time I've had it, is battery life sucks. If I use it lightly I can get a day and change out of it. If I use it heavily I have to charge before the day is through. If you plan for it you will pretty much always have access to charge, but it's unacceptable to not make it at least a full day of moderate to heavy use. By that I mean phone calls, email, attachments, corporate IM, light web browsing, etc. Not playing games or watching multimedia all day. The 9900 has a much lower capacity battery than the 9000 did. I believe RIM did this to keep the device thin. Personally I don't care about having a thin device. Give the most MAh you can, to be sure it'll last at least two full days of use between charges, preferably longer. I don't care if it's as thick as an old "dumb phone". It stays on my belt out of the way, along with my personal phone ( a 5 year old dumb phone that can make calls and text), knife, flashlight and wahtever else I may be carrying. Smaller/lighter is nice but not at the detriment of battery life.

So please, /., if I am out of touch with how RIM is not meeting the needs of businesses please let me know. For personal devices, sure, Android and iOS have an edge. What are the real issues with RIM being inadequate for business use, particularly where central manageability and security are critical? To expand on that, if you believe iOS or Android are competitive there, what tools does one use to have easy centralized management and security comparable to BES if managing a few hundred mobile devices?

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