Since Research in Motion’s (RIM) conference call yesterday, when the Canadian smartphone company announced lower than expected earnings, a $125 million GAAP loss and that three top level executives, including former co-CEO Jim Balsillie, were leaving the company, the tech industry has been signalling the beginning of the end for the Waterloo crew.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who’s only been in charge for 10 weeks, has said he is aware that there are some rough quarters ahead, but that he is taking the steps necessary to prepare and that the company’s next OS, BlackBerry 10 is one of the key components. The problem is that even Heins himself, doesn’t sound confident that BB10 will even be enough to save the struggling company. When asked, Heins said he couldn’t guarantee the company’s success. Whether it’s true or not, a CEO needs to lead a company with confidence, reassuring not only stock investors, but employees and customers, that things can be salvaged. With Heins saying he can’t guarantee anything, it sounds like he’s already given up.
To make matter worse, another unnamed execute within RIM has said that he believes they [RIM] need to ditch the experiment that is BlackBerry 10 and switch to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, much like Nokia. This statement alone shows the lack of solidarity and confidence within RIM, when its own executives are suggesting they scrap their “long in development” OS and use one from another competitor. It’s not secret that RIM makes one hell of a quality device, so the idea that they could potentially run Windows Phone on one, is very tantalizing. On the flip side, would RIM’s “enterprise customers” be up to using the casual and more youthful Windows Phone Metro UI?
Anyway you look at it, RIM is in a bad spot, with obvious internal struggles, no faith in their long-time success or in their own operating system and executives fleeing the company like rats from a sinking ship. I think the question should be not “whether” RIM will fall, but “when” will RIM fall.