They say everything is a matter of perspective. Well, the leadership at Research In Motion (RIM) has definitely been heavily investing in rose tinted lenses. In his first public appearance as the new President and CEO of RIM, Thorstein Heins said the company is doing just fine.
RIM Is Doing Better Than Android?
There seems to be an almost constant stream of news about RIM’s continuing downward spiral. Despite the many signals to the contrary, RIM’s leadership insists that the company is performing well.
Heins took the company’s reins in late January to the disappointment of many investors who had hoped that new transformational leadership would turn the company around. The soft-spoken Heins’ first statement only deepened disappointment and skepticism about the company’s future. Heins suggested that RIM was not in need of any drastic changes and the real issue was that RIM had been “too innovative” -- without even a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Impressive.
The optimism seems to be continuing and spreading to the rest of RIM’s leadership team. At RIM’s first European developer conference, BlackBerry DevCon, Heins told the sold out audience of 2,000 attendees that he was, “absolutely convinced that RIM has an exciting future ahead of it.” He also pointed out that BlackBerry is still the number one smartphone brand in certain countries like the Netherlands, UK, Spain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and South Africa. He continued by mentioning that 180 million BlackBerry phones have been sold to date and there are 75 million active BlackBerry subscribers.
The new CEO wasn’t the only RIM leader enamored with the company’s performance. Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP for Developer Relations informed the crowd that there were over six million daily downloads from the BB App World for a total of 174 million downloads per month or 30 app downloads per BlackBerry user per year. He also cited that the App World generates 40% more revenue for developers than the Android market.
The Road Ahead for RIM
I’m not sure if RIM’s leadership really believes the company is doing A-OK or if they’ve been subjected to some amazingly effective mind altering technology. In either case, the result seems to be the same.
Everyone except RIM’s leadership can see the company is headed for disaster. RIM was a market leader -- it essentially drove the smartphone revolution, but its lead is long gone. RIM has failed to keep pace with market contenders like Apple and Android. Although RIM’s BlackBerry still has a foothold in the enterprise market, consumerization is quickly eroding that lead. If RIM is to survive, they will have to quit ignoring the negative signals about their performance, especially with Microsoft about to make a new with Windows 8.