Insiders describe RIM as paranoid, reactionary, and out-of-touch

“Let’s rewind a few years. Picture yourself sitting in an executive briefing at Research In Motion. You’d hear Mike Lazaridis unequivocally state time and time again that BlackBerry smartphones would never have MP3 players or cameras in them because it just does not make sense when the company’s primary customers were the government and enterprise,” Jonathan S. Geller reports for BGR. “‘BlackBerry smartphones will never have cameras because the No. 1 customer of ours is the U.S. government,’ Mike Lazaridis would say in meetings. ‘There will never be a BlackBerry with an MP3 player or camera.'”

“The fact is, that RIM didn’t only miss the boat in terms of product features and device trends as we now know, but the underpinnings of the company’s consumer failure began all the way back in 2005 with bold statements like these, combined with a lack of research and development in numerous key areas,” Geller reports. “Mike Lazaridis would say that the most ridiculous idea was to name a phone with a marketing-derived name, like the Motorola RAZR. ‘BlackBerry will never do that, it will always be a model number,’ he said to executives. ‘A BlackBerry with a name is ridiculous.'”

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‘Here we are, as young, brazen people, and we’re just like, ‘Mike, you’re missing out. There’s a trend here; it’s a social and collaborative scene in certain media circles,” one former executive said, describing the general feeling among other executives at the company,” Geller reports. “‘Now look at what’s happened 4 or 5 years later — an MP3 player, camera, name, all done reluctantly.'”

“‘Mike Lazaridis couldn’t imagine that consumers would be spending hours watching and streaming video to their devices, he couldn’t understand it,’ the former exec continued,” Geller reports. “This is why we don’t see RIM excelling in spaces like camera technology, or displays — because the company never even attempted to anticipate the smartphone trends we’re seeing today. ‘RIM is a reactionary company.'”

Geller reports, “RIM seems to be doing damage control in a bunch of areas right now. One such area is the PlayBook and trying to mitigate the negative response to that product, and I was told the company is even going so far as to selectively block different media and even social networking sites from being accessed by employees.”

Full article including half-CEOs screaming at each other in the halls and in restaurants, hockey team obsessions, and much more – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Gee, ya think BGR is accessible from inside DCW RIM? How about MacDailyNews? Any RIM employees reading this at work? Let us know:

Related articles:
RUMOR: Beleaguered RIM working on Apple TV killer for fall release – July 15, 2011
Did RIM half-CEO Jim Balsillie’s hockey obsession kill the company? – July 14, 2011
Half-CEOs claim ‘RIM’s foundation is very strong’ as shareholders grumble – July 13, 2011
More letters to beleaguered RIM as employees rally alongside anonymous exec – July 1, 2011
Research In Motion succumbs to shareholder pressure; agrees to ‘study’ half-CEO roles – July 1, 2011
Senior RIM exec tells all in open letter as beleaguered company crumbles around him – June 30, 2011
RUMOR: Beleaguered RIM axes 10-inch PlayBook tablet – June 28, 2011
RIM BlackBerry developers defecting to Apple’s revolutionary Phone – June 27, 2011
Beleaguered RIM slashes PlayBook production plans – June 22, 2011
Beleaguered RIM begins axing jobs in Waterloo – June 21, 2011
RIM half-CEOs: What did you know and when did you know it? – June 20, 2011
Former RIM employee: Company ‘brims with hubris’; ‘culturally blind’ to consumers – June 17, 2011
Beleaguered RIM misses on revenue, announces layoffs – June 16, 2011


  1. Dear MDN:
    Unless you can point to a below the belt attack from RIM/CEO-duo towards Apple, let’s just leave this company alone. They were never like MS nor Google. They worked hard, they prospered for a while on genuine innovation. Seems to be their primary mistake wasn’t that they were lazy, but weren’t prepared for a Jobsian tsunami. One can hardly blame them on that count.

    Sure they have been putting on a brave face in the wake of the storm still rising, but seriously, they didn’t trample on Apple’s IP, didn’t send a mole on Apple’s board, didn’t betray Apple’s trust as a manufacturer and then compete on the same product space; they weren’t cheats nor liars. Just poor strategists at the top. I say, this RIM must pay for Apple to win is a bit misguided here. Let’s really leave them alone, if not wish them well. Thousands of hard working RIM employees deserve better than snide remarks and constantly calling them out.

    1. While I agree with everything you just said, I think ultimately MDN is just calling out lack of innovation and vision. RIM used to be the shit. Now they aren’t. Nothing wrong with pointing that out.

    2. Right after the release of the iPhone 3G, the RIM corporate sales force came out swinging below the belt with brass knuckles. Working for a Fortune 500 company has given me experience with this. Their sales people presented a unified marketing message (obviously directed by C-level execs) that was rife with direct FUD attacks. I’d have trouble shedding even one tear for beleaguered RIM while chopping onions.

    3. I don’t mind MDN bitch-slapping those Co-CEOs but I agree with you that MDN and other commenters here should leave the company alone. RIM itself was brilliant… a proud Made in Canada jewel. It is heart breaking that ML and JB couldn’t maintain that initial innovative push and even worse that they weren’t booted out. Vision is a talent and some do not have bucket loads of it like Steve Jobs.

      1. No, MDN and other commentators should NOT leave RIM alone. It is pressure, criticism, and declining sales which force a company to change course before it’s too late.

        I’m sure MDN’s motives are not to help RIM become a true player in today’s smartphone business, but it’s sites like MDN, BGR, etc. which can help force change at RIM and help save a company and thousands of jobs.

        So keep dropping the hammer, MDN, and let RIM have it!

    4. So mocking the iPhone over and over and calling it a toy and a ad campaign called “amateur hour is over”, which is a direct shot at Apple’s inexperience in the enterprise world, don’t warrant MDN to be amused at the companies current struggles? Face it, Apple is the enemy of every tech company because no one can possibly understand how it manages to release blockbuster after blockbuster product and continue to grow on all fronts and they disagree with their curated garden approach.

    5. “For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.”

      RIM half-CEO, 2010

      1. Thank you, I remembered this. It was in response to Mr. Jobs predicting earlier that RIM’s competitive days were behind them or that Apple had finally outsold them and may continue to do so thereon.

        Responses like these from RIM CEOs are what I had mentioned as bravados in my OP. I wasn’t entirely sure if any potshots were taken (below the belt etc.), however, re-reading this comment again, I agree with you now: RIM CEOs have earned all the mocking going their way.

        I take back much of what I had stated earlier. Fire away MDN.

  2. I was at a meeting a few days ago. There were 2 of us from Waterloo, 2 from the USA, 2 from the UK and 1 from Europe. Guess what, we all had iphones and 3 had ipads. I leaned over to my partner and said “if this was two years ago, everyone would have blackberries”. It’s a shame. Living in Waterloo, I know many good people that work at RIM. The devastation will be significant if they start major workforce reductions. I hope they find their way and give me a reason to buy their products once again.

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