Perspective on RIM


I’ve always considered myself someone who has a super-natural ability to put things in perspective and explain them to others. After all, I’ve taught adults for 13 years, and EVERYTHING must be put into perspective when you teach adults ;-)

However, it is difficult to put a large situation in perspective when you are too close to the action (for lack of a better phrase). And I’ve been close to RIM for many years both physically (I live 15 minutes from the RIM headquarters in Canada) and mentally (I’ve dealt with them for years on the academic program front and used their products).

So when I saw Christina Warren’s post about RIM on Google+ called The Year that RIM Bit the Big One, everything got pieced together perfectly. All of the points that she makes in her post are well placed and explained. She begins by stating what RIM has done in the past few years:

  • RIM did was RIM always does: Avoid reality.

Later, she points out the unrealistic “speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil” culture around RIM and RIM’s affiliates when she details a call with the BlackBerry Developer’s Fund people about investing in getting apps created for BlackBerry:

  • Despite being a BlackBerry user, everyone on the call was offended that I dared speak realistically and point out, in the Spring of 2009, that the app situation on the BlackBerry was sucktastic.

Then she drives the point home:

  • … it’s easy to say that RIM was blind-sided by its success and unable to see what was coming, what with iOS, Android taking charge. Except, it wasn’t. I was a longtime BlackBerry user. I saw how much the apps sucked and I watched for YEARS as RIM did absolutely nothing to make it better. And they cut off anyone in the press who would point that out.

Then she drives home the problems with the current strategy:

  • Now, RIM has delayed BB 10 AGAIN, the phones continue to be outdated, app support is drying up and the only markets that seem to care are emerging markets that don’t generate any money. Seriously, that’s not a sustainable model. Volume does NOT equal profit. Just ask Nokia.

Fantastic! However, you are probably nodding your head thinking “I knew all this already, so what makes this a good article?”

Well, what makes it a good article is what she does AFTER she establishes the facts - she continues to broaden her scope to the general tech industry. She first reminds the reader that in almost all tech industries, there are always communities of people who use a particular technology that react fervently to defend their choice of technology when problems arise:

  • It’s the same thing with RIM fans now. Reading sites like Crackberry, I can’t help but giggle at the comments of the wayward fans who are still trying to find a silver lining in RIM turning to shit. “You’ll never catch corporate America using an iPhone.” Yeah, um, they already do.

Then she adds that affected tech companies have traditionally had a prescribed way of dealing with these problems:

  • They peddle out the same old arguments, the same justifications, all with the hope that those glory days will return.

Finally, after stating the facts about the problem and reflecting upon the tech industry in general, she attacks the source of the problem: that developers don’t care anymore, likely because RIM executives really don’t care:

  • I don’t get that the whole RIM and BlackBerry ethos is part of their DNA.

And of course, the obligatory ending which adds credibility and closure:

  • It’s a shame. I have fond memories of my BlackBerry.

I can honestly relate to nearly everything in the article - in a few years, I hope someone (maybe Christina Warren) writes a biography of the company - it could be called “How the Creator of the BlackBerry Collapsed Under Its Own Ego: The Story of Research In Motion” (I’d buy it for sure ;-)

Now, for those who read my previous post (which had plenty of great headlines from Google News), here are some more headlines from just this past week (sad, really):

  • Research in Motion stock hits 8-year low. BlackBerry users leaving.

  • Could RIM’s survival mean abandoning the BlackBerry?

  • Too many models hurt Blackberry sales, analysts say

  • A Boggle of BlackBerrys

  • Americans losing addiction to “CrackBerrys”

  • BlackBerry delay darkens RIM’s future

  • RIM’s burning platform moment

  • Investors shun RIM as it tries to win back customers in important US market

  • BlackBerry Delay, Weak Sales Weigh On RIM’s Future

  • Disappointment mounts for Research In Motion

  • Another Bleak Outlook for Research in Motion

  • Research In Motion: The Real Story Behind Its Sad Ending

  • Looks like ‘game over’ for BlackBerry

  • RIM is rotting from within

  • Bracing For RIM Earnings (RIMM)

  • Watch Research in Motion Crash in Slow Motion

  • RIM’s Forecast Misses Estimates as BlackBerry Loses Luster

  • Why RIM Needed To Fire Its Co-CEOs Months, If Not Years Ago

  • Research In Backward Motion

  • RIM: Don’t Expect Things to Get Better

  • The Wreckage That Is RIM

  • BlackBerry enters the last chance saloon

  • Blame the board for RIM’s woes

  • RIM stock sinks yet again as floor proves elusive

  • RIM delays BlackBerry system overhaul

  • Blackberry – How RIM destroyed a great brand

  • RIM Needs Courage to Escape Clutter and Confusion

  • RIM Delays Phones, Hits Crisis Point

  • RIM now worth less than Apple’s App Store alone

  • Is It Over at RIM?

  • Deals of the Day: RIM Rescue Plan?

  • RIM Will Die an Old Maid

  • Developers: RIM’s legacy platform ‘cumbersome’

  • We’ll fix our own problems - RIM

  • Are RIM’s best years behind it?

  • Don’t Count on an Acquisition to Bail Out RIM

  • Crooks steal RIM PlayBooks (But can they fence them?)

  • BlackBerry Maker RIM Ripe for the Picking

  • Hey, RIM, I would use a DroidBerry

  • RIM endures annus horribilis

And my all-time favourite:

  • RIM CEOs lied about BlackBerry 10 delay, report says