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RIM CEO: 'There's Nothing Wrong With the Company'

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the reality-distortion-field-on-the-fritz dept.

Blackberry 230

redletterdave writes "Research In Motion is in trouble. The BlackBerry maker has been suffering from an identity crisis for the last six months, which has resulted in mass layoffs, lots of job shuffling, dramatic drop-offs in market share and a quickly decaying portfolio for investors. But not according to Thorsten Heins! The newly-appointed CEO published an op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Tuesday, and also appeared on a radio program the same morning, to deliver one message: 'There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.'"

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230 comments

Monty Python references, please! (4, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40534405)

"I'm not dead yet... I'm happpeeeeeeee!"

Ain't nothing wrong with this Titanic! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534979)

Sure we hit an iceberg and it is listing and taking on water, but as you see we aren't drowning yet. In fact I'm going to go get myself a gimlet and chill it iceberg shavings and listen to the band.

Re:Monty Python references, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535319)

This is called the denial phase of the illness. waiting for the pleading and begging phase.

Oh? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#40534427)

CEO: "But this ship can't sink!"

CFO: "She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can... and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

CEO (to shareholders and public): " Everything will be juuuuuust fine, folks! "

Re:Oh? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40534929)

Then it was off to the bar for his usual afternoon rounds of Maalox martinis and his gin and Alka-Seltzer.

Denial (5, Funny)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#40534435)

Why am I reminded of the Iraqi Propaganda Minister?

Re:Denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534553)

Lol, I loved that guy. We are still in total control, the Americans are not here! Meanwhile you see Abrams tanks rolling around in the background

Re:Denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535151)

The Americans are not here (Boom!). I have to go now.

Probably the last time I felt good about anything we did there...

Re:Denial (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#40535499)

It sounds like he is stuck on step one on the "12 Steps For Fucked Companies Program." Step one, admitting that your company is fucked.

"Hi, my name is Thorsten, and my company is like totally fucked."

Now, what is step two . . . ?

CEO's job is to sell... (0)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40534447)

Of course he's going to say that, what else can he say? We'll know by this time next year if they can pull it out of the fire.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (4, Interesting)

KPU (118762) | about 2 years ago | (#40534475)

Maybe it's better to have a credible CEO who says things are going poorly than an untrustworthy CEO?

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#40534849)

As someone else pointed out, after RTFA I noticed what was obvious, /. posted a sensationalist headline. From the article: (Talking about their promised Blackberry10...)

Those are big promises, I know; and some doubt whether RIM can pull it off. I am the first to admit that RIM has missed on important trends in the smart-phone industry - especially in the consumer domain, focusing on its core value system for successful products and services. We are working diligently on BlackBerry 10 in order to provide a compelling experience for our loyal enterprise customers and consumers. While we are in a very competitive and constantly changing market, customers benefit from this competition and continued innovation.

Which sounds just like a normal PR.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#40535011)

"We're fully behind yet another software release that nobody will care about, nor will have any impact on the company's future success.

Nobody cares RIM. Unless you're working to get android on your hardware, you might as well pack it up and go home right now.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40534975)

Maybe it's better to have a credible CEO who says things are going poorly than an untrustworthy CEO?

He is a new CEO as the other 2 CEOs (yes 2 of them) were fired by the shareholders. However, there is not much he can do right now. I doubt he can pull a Steve Jobs moment. That was only one time in business history was a company that far in the red that did such an awesome recovery.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534491)

are you thomas friedman?

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 2 years ago | (#40534575)

If it's obvious to everyone that a company has problems, the worst possible thing a CEO can do is say everything is fine, because it makes everyone think he's out of touch or not interested in fixing what's wrong. A good CEO would acknowledge the problems and present a high-level plan for fixing them. Whistling past the graveyard just makes things worse.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (4, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40534699)

Did you read what he said?

As we prepare to launch our new mobile platform, BlackBerry 10, in the first quarter of next year, we expect to empower people as never before...am the first to admit that RIM has missed on important trends in the smart-phone industry...RIM is undertaking a corporate overhaul that we expect will reduce annual operating expenses by more than $1-billion by the end of our fiscal year...

I read that to mean pretty much what you think a good CEO should say.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40534877)

I read that to mean pretty much what you think a good CEO should say.

^ this. No where did he say nothing was wrong, everything is fine. He said they are reducing expenses, launching a new platform, and new products, etc, etc, etc.

That's the opposite of saying nothing is wrong.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40535013)

If it's obvious to everyone that a company has problems, the worst possible thing a CEO can do is say everything is fine, because it makes everyone think he's out of touch or not interested in fixing what's wrong. A good CEO would acknowledge the problems and present a high-level plan for fixing them. Whistling past the graveyard just makes things worse.

At this time there is not much he can do. If I were him I would just sell his assets and give the money to the shareholders and turn off the lights and call it the day. BB has tried everything too late from tablets to putting full screen UIs like the IPhone. It is too late to do anything better or innovate as he is running in the red each day the lights stay on. The revenue is gone, his credit rating is gone, and only an angel investor can save it and why should one?

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40534791)

The last time I saw this much press about a tech company swirling around the drain, it was Apple in the mid-to-late 90s. There's a huge contrast between Jobs' approach in interviews and keynote addresses right after his return to Apple and what we're seeing here (this guy is reminding me of Gil Amelio, the CEO of Apple that preceded Jobs' return). Jobs was up front about the fact that the board of directors was almost entirely abysmal, that their executive team had become a wreck, and that they had too many products. He also made clear that the anti-Microsoft mentality needed to go and that if they were to survive they had to stop thinking of it as an "us vs. them", since that would result in "them" winning. In his first two years, he ousted the board, ousted the execs, and ousted most of the product line. In their places, he brought in great board members, excellent executives, and set them up with a handful of extremely focused products that could generate excitement for the company (e.g. iMac).

RIM can still recover, but it needs to stop flailing and actually start swimming in a direction. It also needs to realize that it isn't going to be beating Android and iOS any time soon, so it needs to think of ways to thrive with them still around, rather than trying to take them head-on. Most importantly, however, they need good leadership, and there's no indication they have it yet. This isn't the first dumb thing their new CEO has said. He's been with them for years and more or less expressed an interest in not changing anything on the same day he was set up as CEO. Rather disappointing.

Re:CEO's job is to sell... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40534949)

When do his options vest? He'll keep applying the duck tape and whitewash until that happens.

There's nothing wrong with the company as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534453)

There's nothing wrong with a company going bankrupt.

Well considering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534457)

Yes, RIM only posted a couple billion in profit. Time to get the headstone ready. Oh wait, people only hear about the bad stuff.

In all seriousness, did everyone forget Apple circa 1997? Or Microsoft circa 2006? It's actually possible for businesses to come back.

Re:Well considering (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#40534705)

Some small differences:

Apple in 1997 actually had a viable roadmap, and succeeded. They also completely shook out the incompetent CEO once Jobs came back.
Microsoft in 2006 had a metric shitload of money still sitting in the bank, and a lock on the desktop.

It is possible for a business to come back from the brink, but RIM has shown absolutely no sign that they'll be a business that does so. All they really have coming up is BlackBerryOS 10, and even that's not much to trumpet, considering the far more fluid competition. RIM has given zero indication that they're working to break new ground, nor any hint of innovation in any area which could be considered as having future potential.

Long story short, RIM is circling the toilet swirl, and shows no promise of doing anything but getting sucked into the drain.

Re:Well considering (4, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#40535389)

I was going to mod AC up but I'll educate you instead.

It is possible for a business to come back from the brink, but RIM has shown absolutely no sign that they'll be a business that does so. All they really have coming up is BlackBerryOS 10

You're obviously unaware of what RIM is doing except for what the doomsayers are trumpeting. RIM understands the work/life balance issue and the paradigm shift away from a work provided device to the BYOD [wikipedia.org] model. Despite this companies still have to be able to keep their data secure. RIM has introduced two new technologies recently to address these issues. BlckBerry Mobile Fusion [blackberry.com] is RIM's replacement for the BES/BIS. Mobile Fusion allows an enterprise to manage thousands of devices running anything from BB OS to Android to iOS all from one web console. In case you were wondering RIM has indeed incorporated ActiveSync connectivity into their repertoire. The second thing RIM has introduced is called BlackBerry Balance [blackberry.com] which let's you keep your pictures of your family vacation and the slides of your upcoming presentation on the same device while being secured separately. With this technology you can walk into a new job with your own device and get it activated on their BES/BIS/Mobile Fusion server and it will create a secure work related partition on the device separate from your personal data. When you leave the company they simply wipe the work partition remotely leaving your personal data intact.

I'm sure you're probably saying that won't be enough to save them and you are right it won't which is why they are making the switch to BB OS 10. A lot of people are asking...even demanding that RIM just adopt Android and move on but as is evidenced in the market today none of the players in the Android space are making any money except for Samsung and they are making money on the handsets they sell as well as the chips they sell to their competitors.And despite the death knells being sounded by every industry "expert" developers are still lining up every day to develop for the PlayBook/ BB OS 10 because the few people using the PlayBook are actually paying to get the apps they want unlike the majority of Android users who want their apps to be free.Do they have a tough road ahead? Hell yes but considering they still sold more handsets in 1Q 2012 then they did in 1Q 2009 despite the RIM faithful all holding out for a BB 10 device I'd say they are far from toast. Most government agencies can't even consider another device because there aren't any that are FIPS 140-2 validated. There are a few here and there and there are third party solutions to make devices secure but they are far from optimal. We have a program where I work where they bolt on a security layer to iOS to meet the security standards and it is the biggest PITA I have ever experienced. Not to mention cumbersome and intrusive. Even people here who love their Apple device can't stand using it to access the network because of the hoops they have to jump through.

Re:Well considering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535531)

So a $20 Android app can also restrict the amount of damage a remote wipe causes by containing it to only the relevant data to ActiveSync and associated attachments. This has been around for about two years now - nothing new.

Re:Well considering (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40535117)

While this is absolutely probable, it is highly unlikely. Blackberry was the business phone that was on top for ages and did a damn good job of it. However, since iPhone and Android have hit the market they have been slowly pulling the rug out from under RIM. RIM either was too confident in their product or simply failed to change and is now a cumbersome device. If they had changed along with the tech and developed new services, a better OS and possibly even upgrading some of the hardware, they may not be in this position. Apple and MS had to change strategy and they did good at it. IMO, I believe RIM is too far gone to recover. I could be wrong and I do hope the best for RIM as they are/were a fantastic company for a very long time.

Comical Ali taught him all he needed to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534479)

It probably sounded like this [youtube.com]...

RIM .. no problem (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40534499)

They're as good at positioning and marketing in the mobile information technology market as Microsoft is in the on-line advertising market.

Of course (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 2 years ago | (#40534501)

Of course he's going to say that, he's the CEO and he's expected to say that.

Coming out and saying "we're screwed" may be technically more accurate - but it'll only hasten the demise of the company even more. Who knows? Maybe BB10 is amazing - but if he says anything other than "we're doing just fine" then he's running the risk of his careless talk meaning that it'll never ever see the light of day.

Re:Of course (2)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#40535143)

Of course he's going to say that, he's the CEO and he's expected to say that.

A good CEO in this situation would say rah-rah things like "Our team has great people working hard on our brilliant strategy to return to market dominance" or somesuch. Yes, a CEO should be eyeing a pie the sky but the given quote is head in the sand.

The next Blackberry ad (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40534507)

"I'm Thorsten Heins! Try our new Blackberry. I liked the phone so much - I bought the company!"

Re:The next Blackberry ad (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#40535385)

I bought the company!

Given the way their stock price is headed, all lot of folks will be able to buy the company, like, real soon.

this proves it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534527)

they got good dope in canada.

"Nothing Wrong" (2)

Kenshin (43036) | about 2 years ago | (#40534537)

Sure, there's nothing wrong with RIM. You could argue that. Just as you could argue with any company that's seen their market disappear from under them due to inaction. If things simply hadn't changed, they'd still be rolling along nicely.

But that's the problem: Things change.

Re:"Nothing Wrong" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534881)

"There's nothing wrong with RIM. It's the damn customers that are all fucked up!"

Its the Customers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534589)

Nothing wrong at all with the company or device, its all those darn customers that would rather have an iPhone or Android!

In his previous job, he was heard saying.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534593)

"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"

Sensationalist Headline (5, Informative)

kae77 (1006997) | about 2 years ago | (#40534597)

I'm not sure why we're seeing all of this. But if you RTFA, you'll see a totally different message. Heins gets that they are in a lot of trouble. He's simply saying that they aren't going anywhere. They are executing their strategy in the midst of a transition. All of the negativity is expected. But they haven't lost their head, they know where they're going. The headline should read: "RIM CEO Acknowledges past, hopeful for future" Nice to see a CEO be candid about their problems.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#40534937)

Well, there's "hopeful for future", and there's "blowing sunshine up the market's and shareholders' collective asses".

History will tell which is which in this case.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#40535503)

It honestly doesn't read like that. As the GP said, it's a very sensationalist headline. It'd be more accurate to say that the CEO takes the view that there is nothing wrong with the company that cannot be fixed.

They don't have any debt, they still have revenue and while they have problems, there's plans in place to deal with them.

Re:Sensationalist Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535185)

Exactly right. The CEO never said there was "nothing wrong".
What disturbs me is that the submitter put the phrase in quotes, deliberately making it seem as if the CEO uttered those words. Hence I consider the title to be an attempted troll (which is working for the time being).

they halted stock trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534661)

I don't ahve the link handy, sorry, but a few days ago the news reported that they halted RIM's stock trading because it was in a massive freefall. Investors don't believe the missed the ball as the world transitioned to smartphones, dominated by Android and iOS. Nokia and RIM are both suffering severely financially because of this. RIM is laying off 30% of its workforce and haemorrhaging money.

There might not be room for more than 2 big players in the smartphone space and those slots are already taken by iOS (80% of smartphone profits) and Android (20% of profits). Everyone else is fighting over the table scraps.

I've said so many times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534671)

It is obviosuly PEBKAC

Investors disagree (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#40534717)

I feel for RIM... I really do... this whole iphone thing has f'ed them. And the android isn't helping... and a resurgent interest in smartphones by microsoft is just more bad news.

The competition for the smartphone has increased exponentially and RIM might well not have a place in the future of it.

I don't see how they compete with the cool factor of the iphone or the adaptability of the android.

They still have a pretty solid lock on having the most secure phones but how long is that going to last? And more importantly, will the IT departments that care be able to enforce a RIM only standard over the cries of "But I want an iphone!!!"

The whole situation is pretty desperate and I don't know how RIM gets out of it.

BB10 will NOT save RIM (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 2 years ago | (#40534731)

RIM is betting it all on BB10. But BB10 will not save RIM. Why not? Because the *only* people looking forward to BB10 are RIM investors.

Re:BB10 will NOT save RIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534811)

Having heard a bit about BB 10 I have to say the platform is cool from a geek perspective. I mean, QNX is cool stuff. The APIs they're exposing will be very familiar to developers with a POSIX, C, and C++ background. It reminds me of Meego in that regard.

Unfortunately having "cool tech" and nothing else to show for it is not a winning strategy.

Re:BB10 will NOT save RIM (1)

Ohrion (814105) | about 2 years ago | (#40535167)

It might be cool, but it's also too little and too late. They've already alienated the majority of developers that would be writing apps for this platform.

RIM adopt Android! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534733)

Very simple - adapt it and make it tune to commerce/corporate - so obvious ...

oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534735)

obligatory waynes world 'and monkeys might fly out of my butt' quote

The G&M is a national newspaper (1)

addie (470476) | about 2 years ago | (#40534751)

Slightly off-topic, but to avoid making Toronto even more of the center of the Canadian universe than it already is...

The Globe & Mail is only a Toronto newspaper insofar as it's published in Toronto and is utterly obsessed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would be much more appropriate to label it a national newspaper, as it's read and distributed throughout Canada, and attempts (not always successfully) to provide a balanced perspective from all regions.

Wordsmithing FTW (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#40534771)

"There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now."

BUUUUUUUT, there will be something wrong with the company when all those delayed write-offs hit the books in 6 months to a year, then you are all fucked. Haha!

Re:Wordsmithing FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535093)

If you read the article you'll that the CEO never said that.
The "nothing wrong" statement was created by someone else, probably to increase the rage of people who didn't RTFA.

Could be worse... (1)

horza (87255) | about 2 years ago | (#40534815)

At least he didn't announce, "Good news! The company is now safe. Microsoft has decided to invest $1bn in RIM"...

Phillip.

Re:Could be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535015)

At least he hasn't yet announced "Good news! The company is now safe. Microsoft has decided to invest $1bn in RIM"...

Phillip.

FTFY

First sign something is wrong with the company: (1)

billlava (1270394) | about 2 years ago | (#40534827)

The first sign that something is wrong with the company is when the CEO feels obligated to say, "There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now."

It may not be the thing that he's trying to reassure us about (it probably is,) but RIM sure looks and acts like a duck that isn't going to be saved. Now Mr. Heins is just quacking like one.

Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534847)

The title's phrase in quotes is a fiction -- it does not appear in the article.
As far as I can tell, the RIM CEO never said "There's nothing wrong with the company."

Better headline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534915)

Company Gives Away RIM Jobs, CEO Claims its Making Lots of Money

I think we figured out what went wrong at RIM (0)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#40534963)

Their CEO isn't very well plugged into reality. Somehow they went from being THE phone for business customers to going out of business in just a few short years. Bravo!

I'll bet he has a college degree.

Re:I think we figured out what went wrong at RIM (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#40535051)

Their CEO isn't very well plugged into reality. Somehow they went from being THE phone for business customers to going out of business in just a few short years. Bravo!

I'll bet he has a college degree.

He's only been CEO for six months. The problems didn't happen on his watch and he has an impossible task to fix them.

Re:I think we figured out what went wrong at RIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535559)

Er, except he's been with the company 5 years. He joined as Sr. VP of BlackBerry Handheld Business Unit then became Chief Operating Officer of Product a few years before becoming CEO. I'd say he was in charge of the problem divisions during the time in which the problem happened... roughly 5 years ago when the iPhone came out and disrupted the market... What had he been doing for 5 years in charge of the handset business?

The man gets no sympathy from me, and I was previously a shareholder who spoke with his wallet...

Hard to regain lost market (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#40535029)

The brilliant thing about apps, from a manufacturer's perspective, is they lock the consumer into using a particular platform. Apple users are reluctant to abandon their app libraries, as are Android users. Folks who have already left RIM for the others over the past couple of years won't be be coming back without something really extraordinary coming from RIM. Which does not appear likely. At best they can hope to mitigate the exodus in order to buy enough time to win some market share back. Personally, I think it's hopeless.

False material statement (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#40535043)

I wonder if this, at some later time if the stock plummets, could be seen as a false material statement, an attempt to defraud the stockholders. The stock seems to be 10% of the value at the beginning of 2011. Another drop like this puts in the dollar stock.

The Company is absolutely fine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535149)

...our products on the other hand are getting a little long in the tooth...

They bet on Flash and they bet wrong. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | about 2 years ago | (#40535211)

I remember I had this discussion with a friend when RIM announced that the Playbook relied heavily on Flash. It was the wrong strategy because the logic of the strategy was "Let's do the exact opposite of Apple. If Apple was not going to support Flash, we will support it everywhere in our OS." They could have moved and maintain old Blackberry OS down the line to feature phones and develop BBOS10 as the "smarter" phone platform with technologies they could control.

Of course (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#40535225)

And then he leapt onto his mighty unipeg and flew off into the night shouting "second star to the right and straight on till morning!".

So, what would you do if you were CEO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535333)

So, the excrement's hitting the fan and you just took over as CEO after the last d-bag CEO bailed out on his golden parachute. What do you do?

A) Say your company is in really bad shape in gory detail.
Guess what happens?
-Your investors and creditors bail out, giving you zero financial room to maneuver. It's the business equivalent of running out of gas in the middle of the freeway.
-Your engineering staff bail out or get headhunted by your rivals, gutting your ability to make new products. The people who stay are the least capable ones.
-Your competitors start circling overhead looking at whether a takeover would look good, which you now have to deal with
-Your shareholders call up their lawyers and you have to spend time staving off shareholder lawsuits. Remember, whatever details you just gave about how bad the situation is, is admissible in court.
-The press writes you off for dead, meaning that no one will touch your products or technology. Your revenue dries up.

In short, game over.

B) Say your problems are minor and you've got a plan to fix them that's proceeding smoothly
Less of the above still happens but you get a lot of benefit of the doubt depending on how persuasive you are.

In short, panic kills. This is just as much true for a corporate crisis as it is a fire in a building or evacuating a sinking aircraft. An organized group of people can still solve a problem, even if they're individually nervous; a panicked mob can't.

And all the /. crowd can manage to say is "HURR DURR DENIAL LOL!!!1!1!!". You people are such a sad lot.

RIM will rise again. (4, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | about 2 years ago | (#40535369)

...although I doubt they'll ever rise back to pre-iPhone prominence.

Allow me to preface this by noting that I'm not a fan of RIM's current devices or software. I don't own a Blackberry, or any other cell phone for that matter (I truly have no desire to talk to on the phone. I have a 3G iPad and an iPod touch for messaging and Internet access). I find their phones uninspired, and their existing OS lineup and development environment to be highly fragmented, with older OS based devices often available at the same time as newer OS based devices, and little upgradability to newer OS's on older devices -- not exactly the most developer-friendly sort of environment.

I'm also not a fan of how they cow-tow to carriers, particularly here in North America. Specifically here in Canada (RIM's home country), newer phones and devices are often available elsewhere first, and Canadians frequently have to wait months for newer models to be made available, after they've already launched elsewhere.

All that being said, RIM still has over $2 billion sitting in the bank, and they still have a lot of talented people, and own some impressive technologies. I was particularly heartened when I had heard they bought QNX Software Solutions. QNX is quite the powerhouse of an OS that most PC users aren't familiar with, but which has made quite the name for itself in the embedded space as an efficient and extremely stable microkernel based RTOS (Real Time OS) which has powered PC's, vehicles telematics systems, and carrier grade routers, along with a variety of industrial embedded systems. In short, it's an excellent OS for driving smart phones and tablets.

So RIM has the money, they have the technology, and they have the talent -- and now they have an excellent POSIX compliant OS to base their devices off. I think they're in the right space -- assuming they can execute successfully. They really need to get their software game up, make the OS front and centre, provide best-of-breed development tools and systems, and wean themselves off the idea that the carriers are their device customers. Where Apple really succeeded with the iPhones was in their being able to tell carriers how things were going to work, and in many regions selling their devices directly to customers completely unlocked (which was a real breath of fresh air here in Canada), cutting the carriers out of the loop when it came to device features and functionality. RIM needs to play hardball with the carriers, and if the carriers don't want to play by their ground rules, they too needs to sell unlocked devices directly to consumers, so that their biggest fans don't have to wait for nearly a year (or more) to get the latest and greatest devices. And if they're not going to take older devices out of the sales channels as soon as they're replaced, they at least need to ensure those devices can be upgraded to the latest OS (i.e.: they shouldn't be permitting the retail sale of new devices that can't run the latest and greatest OS. A mishmash of BB OS options available simultaneously on new devices isn't good for a software ecosystem).

If they can do those things, they have all the things they need to persevere and even return to some form of prominence. Their devices could be great and even desirable once more, and even the Playbook could find a useful niche. But they have to get their software strategy on track, based on a standard OS core across devices and device families, make it friendly and easy to develop for, and start putting the end-user first, and the carriers second. Then they'll be able to produce devices more people will actually want.

As such, I don't feel the death spiral is inevitable. The pieces are all there for them to get back on track, and as a Canadian I hope they get their development plans in order, get the right people working on the right projects, and execute a smart plan to make devices people want to own.

Yaz

Re:RIM will rise again. (1)

acoustix (123925) | about 2 years ago | (#40535565)

I wish I had points to mod you up. The writing is most definitely NOT on the wall. They have a chance to redeem themselves with their new line of phones based on QNX and their new mobile management server software appears to be very promising. We'll know by next summer.

As I recall... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535461)

...the Titanic was unsinkable.

There is nothing wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535485)

"Rumors of icebergs of any shape or form coming into contact with this vessel are complete fabrication. Return to your cabins."

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