The New RIM CEO Is Worse than the Ones He Replaced. There, I Said It

by: LucianJanuary 27, 2012
4 38 4


I’ve had a very bad feeling about the change of CEO’s at RIM since day one. And the more I see the new CEO talk, the more I think RIM can only be worse off after this transition, even though the whole reason why they even did this was to change things for the better.

The reason I initially thought it’s a bad change, was mainly because he seems to want the same thing the former leadership wanted, and not to rock the boat too much. But this vision is exactly why everyone from the outside thought RIM should get rid of the 2 CEO’s in the first place. The current “vision” of the company is exactly why it’s in trouble now, and it’s on a downwards hill.

So you’d think that if you wanted to improve  things, you’d first go after the vision that led to this mess. But apparently that’s not the case at RIM, because they think that the way to make the company healthy again is to do more of the same. And that’s pretty much what the new CEO said in the first day. So now we have a new CEO that wants to follow the same vision as before, but is more inexperienced than the 2 CEO’s who built the company before him. So why change in the first place then? Just as a PR move? Well that doesn’t seem to have worked so well for them either, because most of the blogosphere didn’t like the change, and neither did their shareholders, because their stocks dropped 8% in that day.

But as I said, the more he talks the more he looks like he doesn’t really understand why he got the job. He just said that RIM will not use Android going forward, because all Android phones are the same. This pretty much mirrors what Nokia said a few years ago, and just like Nokia they are completely missing the point.

RIM still think they can live in their own dreamworld, where the competition doesn’t affect them, so they can have whatever they want. They can have the cake and eat it, too. Well, sorry RIM, but you can’t. They seem to think that having their own OS will provide them “true differentiation”. First of all, that is far from the #1 priority for any smartphone manufacturer right now. There are more important factors they should be concerned with.

And second, even if did provide them differentiation, their sales would still be cannibalized by Android devices, as they already are. The same has happened with Nokia, too. They said having their own OS would give them differentiation, and they would somehow maintain higher profits. Well, none of that has happened. Their profits are falling, because now  they have to heavily discount their own phones to compete with Android phones. If anything that “differentiation” has only hurt them, because they are in a much smaller ecosystem, whether we are talking about Symbian or WP7.

Does RIM honestly think they can dig themselves out of the hole and fight against Android and iOS with their own QNX/Playbook/BB10 OS? How has that worked for the Playbook so far?

RIM needs to wake up that this is not 2005 anymore, where every manufacturer can mind his own business and do whatever he wants, and still be successful. No. That’s all gone now. Now you can only compete with the iPhone, which is already aggressively moving in the enterprise market, RIM’s best market, by joining an ecosystem that is just as strong – by joining Android. This is simple logic, RIM. It can’t get any simpler than that.

Of course, I realize RIM won’t listen to this, because they refuse to listen to this type of device, just as they’ve refused to listen to it for the past few years – and look where that has gotten them. If they were really ready to listen, they would’ve replaced the 2 CEO’s with one that actually wants to turn RIM around, and not with one that just wants to continue the legacy of the previous two.

  • BigRedMachine2

    Trouble is that Samsung is the only Android manufacturer that is making any kind of decent money. Not sure that RIM moving to become another Android manufacturer is going to help the bottom line….

  • AppleFUD

    I really like the QNX platform. It’s very successful in the automotive and medical industries and RIM can really leverage that to their advantage.

    They’ve made three major mistakes with the new platform, IMO.
    1. They started on a new platform late.
    2. They introduced the new platform via the PlayBook before it was ready and then marketed it very very poorly.
    3. Developer tools were slow to get out for the new platform.

    I personally don’t think they should go with Android. If they go that route then they might as well kill their hardware division and become a service & software provider.

    The key for them, IMO, is developing great developer tools that make it as easy as possible to create apps for the new platform and/or port them over from iOS & Android. Along with great business tools to maintain their edge there.

    The PlayBook is a great tablet imo, and I would purchase one today if I had a clear picture of what they are planning to do–that’s the killer. They haven’t given a clear picture of where things are headed and gotten the necessary tools into developers’ hands to get quality apps on the platform, thus they are falling further behind every day.

    And it looks like it’s going to be very tough for anyone to compete with Samsung in the Android ecosystem–they are pumping out high-end products at break neck speeds and RIM won’t be able to keep up with them.

    Finally, I don’t want to see a two OS world again–had enough of that with Mac Vs Win. Four in the mobile area would be great–WP/Win, iOS, Android, and RIM. I think it’s possible since the smartphone industry will become much larger than the PC industry ever was–it’s still a very young area.

    As for the new CEO at RIM. I’ll leave judgement out till he’s had some time to implement a few things. At least till I hear his presentation to the board and his plans for moving forward. Right now all we are hearing is a bunch of PR.

  • guest

    so you wrote this article because you’re offended by the RIM CEO when he didn’t want to use the android OS? You also took what he said out of context. In later interviews, he has suggested that by major chance, he meant things such as breaking up the company or selling it.

    Yes, they have been behind, and they did miss the point, they understand that point now and are trying to fix it. hence Android app compatibility on the next generation BB10 os. If it’s anything like the qnx on the playbook, it should be stellar (especially with e-mail etc).

    They’ve had a bad run, you shouldnt rip on the new ceo before he has had opportunity just because he hurt your ego. I love android, so i should tell you that this arrogance with what got RIM into trouble in the first place.

  • Maxmz02

    Don’t blame CEO, they want RIM win.

    RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.

    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.

    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

    So don’t blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs’ expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.

  • joe

    you are completely wrong here reporter. Android is apparently a stolen product. i see that in android 4 they’ve got even more stolen features, ex. their swipe to kill running apps, isnt that taken from blackberry? android doesnt have any own innovation, they have taken every piece by piece from blackberry and apple, and combine them to become the new os namely ics4.0, now, im seeing the future of android being not distinguish from apple and blackberry operation system. Althought bb is not that popular on the market right now but that just in the us market, and at least they always have their own design and no other system is like bb os right now which still offer their own operating system and style as well as personality.

  • philosopher

    You have opinions but no argument. “RIM should join Android because they should.” Hardly an insightful or well reasoned position.