By July 26, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

RIM Fights Back: My Interview with Canada’s Global News Network

RIM’s first Beavis and Butthead moment dates as far back as 2007 when it should have asked itself why it didn’t invent the iPhone.

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...

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RIM fights back with a new Blackberry 7 smartphone announcement

The once iconic tech giant continues to take a beating in the North American smartphone market thanks to insatiable consumer interest in competing products from Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others.

Bob Egan is an expert in mobile computing technology. Egan heads the Mobile Computing Strategies service at The Sepharim Group, a market research and advisory firm.

Q: How did RIM lose so much ground to competitors?

BE: RIM’s first Beavis and Butthead moment dates as far back as 2007 when it should have asked itself why it didn’t invent the iPhone instead of spending a lot of energy predicting Apple’s new offering as dead on arrival. In a similar way, Sony should still be asking itself why it did not invent the iPod.

BE: RIM’s arrogance about its technical expertise has caused the company to completely miss a market shift where consumers have overwhelming said that an elegant, simple rich experience matters most.

Q: So where did it all go wrong?

RIM became a big company that let mobile operators and lawyers, the anti-gods of innovation, get in the way.

Q: Was RIM’s failure to evolve and compete (with new products from Apple, Google, etc.) an issue with management?

BE: RIM’s operational leadership team have been great school teachers to the market.The problem is the students have become the teachers. The abilities of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to cope with that in a positive fashion for RIM stockholders seems elusive.

Q: So what do Lazaridis and Balsillie need to do right now for RIM?

BE: First and foremost, Mike Lazardis and Jim Basillie need to ask themselves if they have the patience, passion and tenacity to turn this battleship around. So far, they have both been pretty hormonal in a market where high growth competitors have placed a bull’s-eye on RIM.

Second, they need to get a new board of directors in place who know something about growth, innovation and operations. And they need to listen to them.

Q: Some analysts are calling for the company to be split in two, with Lazaridis and Basillie giving up part of their duties on the board. Others say both CEOs are stuck in the past and new leadership is needed to move RIM forward. Do you agree with any of these positions?

BE: Splitting up the company is nonsense. Unifying the company leadership at RIM is key.

Mike and Jim work very hard, but to turn this company around, they need to work a lot smarter and efficient

RIM also has an operating management team that needs fresh talent. This manifests itself in a whole string of poorly executed. strategies and stillborn product launches.

RIM is continuing to lose market share in the consumer smartphone segment, primarily in North America and its first entry into the emerging tablet market has so far been a fiasco.

RIM is continuing to lose market share in the consumer smartphone segment, primarily in North America and its first entry into the emerging tablet market has so far been a fiasco.

Its core products are aging, its pace of innovation has slowed, there have been serious design and execution missteps related to new products such as the Blackberry Storm and the Playbook tablet

Q: What will it take to turn things around at RIM?

BE: There is a large untapped opportunity to develop mobility-aware applications for vertical industries such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, defense, public safety, etc. This would particularly be relevant for industries where security and reliability are of paramount concern.

It is inconceivable that RIM would be the one company that develops all of these apps, but it could certainly create a few showcase solutions and enable apps developers to succeed at making such ventures a real market and financial success. A successful example could help capture interest from other developers and drive momentum in apps development.

Q: RIM is poised to announce a new set of BlackBerry devices tonight, the first time the company unveils a new Blackberry since Aug 2010. Could this be the beginning of RIM’s comeback or is it simply too little, too late?

BE: RIM’s inability to compose and articulate a compelling, differentiated, and credible vision of its place in the rapidly growing mobile market is investor concern Number One.

We need to hear more than just device announcements tonight.

I do not believe that with over $2 billion in cash, no debt and a consistent profitability, RIM is going out of business any time soon.

The question is one of relevance and leadership. Can RIM retain a meaningful leadership position in the new mobile computing landscape and generate above market growth and profitability? Can it defend its position in the consumer markets and successfully penetrate the tablet space? Or will it roll back to being a niche provider of mobile access solutions for secure enterprise-class e-mail? These are the real wait and see questions.

Read more at www.globalnews.ca

 

 

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