Open letter airs RIM's dirty laundry in public

Open letter airs RIM's dirty laundry in publicOver the last couple of months, following the tirals and tribulations that have beset RIM has been like watching a train smash happening in slow motion: it's gruesome, and you know it won't end well, but you just can't help yourself.

The latest chapter in this sorry saga is a 1,700-word 'open letter' to RIM bosses Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis from a RIM executive, in which the company's troubles are laid bare for all to see.

Most of the time, the dreaded 'open letter' is little more than a calculated publicity stunt that invariably says more about the author of said letter than whoever it's addressed to.

But that's clearly not the case with the letter from an unnamed RIM executive to his bosses that's been all the talk of the interweb this morning.

Surfaced in full by BGR, the missive begins with the ominously simple sentence “I have lost confidence”, then goes on to break down RIM's current plight in detail.

Here are a few highlights:

Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time.

We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work.

When was the last time we pushed out a significant new experience or feature that wasn’t already on other platforms?

Just look at who our major competitors are: Apple, Google & Microsoft. These are three of the biggest and most talented software companies on the planet.

We simply must stop shipping incomplete products that aren’t ready for the end user. It is hurting our brand tremendously.

There is no polite way to say this, but it’s true — BlackBerry smartphone apps suck. Even PlayBook, with all its glorious power, looks like a Fisher Price toy with its Adobe AIR/Flash apps.

An important note regarding our marketing: a product’s technical superiority does not equal desire, and therefore sales… How many Linux laptops are getting sold? How did Betamax go?

The public’s questions about dual-CEOs are warranted. The partnership is not broken, but on the ground level, it is not efficient.

There's plenty more, and the whole letter is well worth reading. And it certainly seemed to hit a nerve, as less than 24 hours later, RIM issued an official response. You can check out the full text for yourself, but to sum up, it's sadly predictable: first the company questions why the employee couldn't raise their reservations openly, then throws out some numbers in an attempt to show that things are actually going well, and closes by claiming it is “more committed than ever to serving its loyal customers and partners around the world”.

The words “head” and “sand” come to mind...

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4 comments

Infinite Element  Jul. 2, 2011 at 11:08

I'm really into technology, but I've never even been remotely tempted into getting a BlackBerry. I don't see why a company that clings to QWERTY keyboards (with a few exceptions) and unintuitive menus is as successful as they are.

Also, I hate the "Flash" advert that they're circulating at the moment. So, you have a device that can do something an Apple device doesn't? Is that really the way you're going about promoting your products? If Flash was that important, you wouldn't have millions of iPhone users waiting to upgrade to the next iPhone.

I wish manufacturers would stop comparing their tackle to Apple products and just concentrate on making decent devices.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 2, 2011 at 13:19

Infinite,
I personally couldn't care less as to whether MY phone supports Flash or NOT.
BUT - "can I get Flash on my iPhone" and variations thereof is one of the the most frequent questions on phone support forums.
It is also one of the most frequently reason given for why jailbreak - to get (some) flash.
As to qwerty - c'mon, are you the typing governmentor? :p
A lot of people like FULL hardware QWERTY input devices.
(though,personally,tbh, I find RIM's Qwerty keyboards overrated. )

jim19544  Jul. 3, 2011 at 05:52

I was a temporary employee at rim untill the 20 of June . I worked in the production plant at rim 8 in waterloo . I was layed off without any notice . Is that the way to treat an employee . They dont care about life in Waterloo . The latest I heard was they closed the plant in Hungary . The layoffs are alot more than what the media is led to believe . I will never purchase a blackberry . They are to unfair to their employees . They get temps in from agencies and use them to there full advantage . They wont close the plant in Mexico will they...........

dq1967  Jul. 3, 2011 at 23:31

Typical...all the family are on Blackberries and now it looks as if its on the slide....Android Ahoy!!

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