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

January 27, 2012
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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.

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