Common wisdom has it that these aren't the very best of times for RIM and the eponymous BlackBerry brand. In fact, depending on who you listen to the company's prospects range from decidedly average to positively bleak.
Well, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has had enough, and has spoken out in frustration at all the negative sentiment that seems to be surrounding the Canadian firm at present.
“Why is it that people don't appreciate our profits?” Lazaridis commented in an interview with the NY Times. “Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth? Why is it that people don’t appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global? Why is it that people don’t appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages?
“I don’t fully understand why there’s this negative sentiment, and I just don’t have the time to battle it. Because in the end, what I’ve learned is you’ve just got to prove it over and over and over.”
That's all fair and well, but surely it's not unreasonable to ask why it should be any other way. After all, this is what consumer electronics is all about: you have to prove it over and over and over because that is how you get people to spend money on your products year after year, and how you build that global presence in the first place. It doesn't matter what you've done before.
It's a lesson that Palm, Motorola and Nokia have had various levels of difficulty grasping, and clearly it's one RIM is only getting its head around now.
The other half of RIM's two-man leadership, Jim Balsillie, seems to be focused on the more philosophical side of what it means to be a success, using the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to illustrate his point.
“To be pretty blunt about this: how many people in the world have computing devices in phones, and how many do we have to sell to ensure that we’re a rip-roaring success over the next five years?” Balsillie mused. “You’ll find that you don’t have to be all things to all people.
Just to remind you, when they're not debating the more abstract characteristics of success and railing against the fickle nature of the human spirit, Lazaridis and Balsillie also head up a little tech company called Research In Motion.