RIM’s Co-CEO Team Out, New CEO In, What Can RIM Do To Survive?

Unless you were busy watching yesterday’s heart-pounding football action, you may have already read the reports surrounding RIM’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie resignation from their positions as Co-CEOs. Taking over for Jim and Mike will be “little-known company insider,” Thorsten Heins, formerly RIM’s Chief Operating Officer. RIM is calling this “a board and management shuffle,” as Heins steps into one of the most difficult roles in all of telecommunications now. Heins has said he’s “confident” in the lineup of Blackberry’s existing handsets and that QNX will be the preferred platform of choice for the next decade.

Now, let’s add a dose of humor here and consider the CEO revamp a bold but ultimately questionable move. So how can RIM truly change their company’s position? As suggested by the man behind BrooksReview.net:

If I were CEO of RIM, here’s what I would do:

  1. Call a meeting of all top executives.
  2. Pull my iPhone 4S out and rest it gently on the table in front of me.
  3. Wait for dramatic effect.
  4. Fire anyone not patient enough to wait for me to speak first.
  5. Tell everyone left in the room that they have 3 months to bring me a working prototype that makes me want to use it over my iPhone. (While gesturing towards my iPhone already placed on the table.)
  6. Fire anyone that asks “How?”
  7. With everyone gone, hire a new executive team.

That’s some half-hearted humor and as we get serious again, I understand that RIM wants an insider, someone already intimately familiar with their processes, execution and just general way of doing business running the show. Bringing in an outsider can be just as dangerous as continuing to let Mike and Jim run the company — that being said…RIM still needs to change its way of thinking and doing business. They also need a complete refocus on marketing, a new way to express that RIM remains “hip” however contrary that idea seems to be. I’m not suggesting that RIM should go all-in with Android as they’ve made clear that QNX is their future for the next 10 years. The good news is that RIM knows how to make great hardware…they really need to sit down and decide if QNX is really the right software to match it.


RIM, Wall Street Journal 1, 2 (subscription need)

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  • Anonymous

     This guy just looks like the new face that will be taking the blows vs those two idiots, working the puppet strings on him behind the scenes.

  • Chad

    Even though your 7 step plan is humor, seriously, that’s how the first big meeting should go /should’ve went. Unless they can put something out that can compete against the iPhone..RIM is dead.

  • Masterpuppet34

    They should have fired the clowns a while ago (they are couple btw). “The good news is that RIM knows how to make great hardware”..seriously?? all BBs look the same, by know they do know how to make great boring BBs

    • ogopogo

      The hardware was in reference to how solid the hardware is – not the distinction between the models. RIM does indeed make very good hardware.

      Think of it along the lines of a Toyota Camry – a solid piece of machinery, but the most boring styling out there.

    • I think their hardware is awesome…the QWERTY keyboards are second to none.

      • Agreed. It’s the software they struggle with.

        They’re trying to find their own identity in a market plagued with competition.

        They need to stop pushing for their past identity and start investing in a real future.

    • CWC

      all iphones look the same too

  • Silk7412

    If I was an employee at that meeting I would pull out my android and say” I think this is the one to beat” and say ” you should be removed for thinking otherwise”

    • Guest911

      Good point. And since you will be fired right after that – great strategy. The goal is to become iconic like they once were, not get lost in dozens of Androids.

      • Once iconic -now dinosaur in a mudpit. Theres Android,ios and windows. where does RIM fix in this equation? I’ll tell you – DEAD LAST

  • Anonymous

    …nothing.  It’s only a matter of time before RIM folds.  BB’s have no appeal anymore and iOS and Android devices are now taking on the business world(Of course WP7 is already there).

  • Inchrist6

    BB with android OS would be the key to them surviving.

  • They just need to rebuild the Blackberry OS from the ground up. It works and works well, it’s just outdated and isn’t what people are into anymore.

    They have plenty of apps, and they make great hardware, but it’s very poorly implemented on their end as fat as the OS is concerned.

    • mrmiddl

      with the losses they have incurred lately, would that even be viable? can they afford to rebuild their bland OS and make it sexy, or is it easier to integrate into WP or Android? these are the questions this new CEO has to answer, because that’s their main problem. Hardware is easier to come by because its linear, meaning just pick CPU,Display, and Camera. they already have the know how to make sturdy handsets. they just need some software to push that hardware to the limits and make us all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • ogopogo

    Typical “CEO”s. They are all a bunch of asses that are just in there for the short term gain. The business world really needs to change their model and make CEOs more accountable for any long term impacts to companies.

  • Anonymous

    Release a BB Torch 9810 variant with WP7.5, a 800×600 res, and a FFC and I’ll buy it.

  • Anonymous

    Nada. The best thing for them is to bring their secure elements to other OS’ and hope that their software is in a better position than their bland hardware.

  • Nearmsp

    RIMM is like a typewriter company wanting to do “marketing” in the face of onslaught from AT computers. RIMM products are outdated. At the very least they should move to a windows or Android OS.

  • Mark

    I would absolutely buy a 9900 running Android.

  • nerdlust

    They make great hardware. I just wanted a bigger screen when I switched from my 8900 to the clip2 to the htc sensation. Bb should make a 4.3 inch dualcore phone with its great security and battery life. I would be all over that.

  • Anonymous

    Rim should drop their OS and use android with their current hardware. 

  • Anonymous

    RIM’s has two critical issues: they have an inability to execute on software releases. It has been that way forever; literally. Folks thinking that it is only the Playbook are foolish. Secondly, they have an inability to connect with the carriers and public especially in regards to device pricing. As you can see, a Bold 9900 (which is an EXCELLENT piece of hardware) costs more than the most advanced Android Phones. That type of business model simply won’t work in the competitive smartphone market.

  • Twistmycaps

    RIM should hand over there hardware to Android, drop BlackBerry OS, add blackberry apps to the android market. Such as there email software they should specifically make it for only blackberry branded devices. They should Create apps with android to enhance there marketshare, Lets face it, no one wants that hourglass every 5 minutes. Drop the software!!!

  • I am all for more choices. We have iOS, Android, and WP7. Why not a fourth choice for an OS? We have four nationwide carriers. Choice is good.

    So they shouldn’t just go Android or WP7. Just rethink BlackBerry OS. Make it more modern. RIM has enough first-party software to make a really badass experience if they put their minds to it.

    • “RIM” and “badass” in the same sentence? You’re certainly the first to use them this way, and I can assure you you’ll be the last.

  • Havoktek

    I liked RIM and still do,they provided me my first smartphone. I feel angry and pissed when good business are ran into the ground from lack of vision and stubbornness.
    I had hope for the new CEO, but he is still gonna reference these guys and has no fresh ideas or vision. It’s the same soup….different bowl….end is inevitable.European pride keeps them from adopting anything else, the board of investors is hapless, and their views are outdated. just because you led doesn’t mean your still leading…savvy?
    It’s not what they can do, it’s what they wont do to save themselves…..

  • HannaBB

    The #1 thing to do is, to drop phone prices dramatically! They are GREAT phones but the prices are ridiculous! #2, make most pf their the apps available FREE like android apps….
    I like the OS with all the possible settings and options…. 

    Perhaps with the BB 9850/9860 they will get somewhere but only if they don’t charge an arm and a leg for it and if more providers would carry it…. 

  • I don’t want more Android phones on the market. I’ve been through three “high end” Android devices, and as much as it’s changed, it certainly hasn’t matured much. If RIM were to adopt some other, non-RIM OS, I’d vote for Windows Phone. RIM could add in its BBM and whatever other BlackBerry apps it chooses (similar to how Nokia is using its own in-house apps to differentiate Nokia Windows Phone devices).

    But alas, this likely won’t happen, as they seem firmly committed to QNX.

  • My only real question is why is taking to long to get the new OS ready on a phone? If they can’t get the OS working right maybe they need to try adapting something else like maybe the secure android that the defense department wants to use. This way they can avoid all the hassles of trying to manage the own app market etc. They seem to have a lot of problems multitasking. Personally they need to create two phones a year that are awesome. One with a keyboard and one touch screen. Just my two cents.  

  • 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.