RIM employee pens open letter detailing the company's issues and how to address them [UPDATED]

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| June 30, 2011

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If you haven't heard by now, BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion has hit a bit of a rough patch as of late. The company's been losing market share to Apple and Google and the PlayBook hasn't been selling like hotcakes. Some feel that a shakeup at the CEO level is what RIM needs to turn things around, but today a letter allegedly from one of the company's high-level executives has emerged with suggestions on what the ailing BlackBerry maker needs to do to improve its situation. Some of the exec's proposed changes include:

  • More focus on the user experience: "Let’s obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care. 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."
  • Focus on a smaller number of projects to aid in releasing more complete, user-friendly devices: "On that note, we simply must stop shipping incomplete products that aren’t ready for the end user. It is hurting our brand tremendously. It takes guts to not allow a product to launch that may be 90% ready with a quarter end in sight, but it will pay off in the long term."
  • Court developers in order to bring better apps to the platform
  • Create a better, more engaging marketing campaign: "25 million iPad users don’t care that it doesn’t have Flash or true multitasking, so why make that a focus in our campaigns? I’ll answer that for you: it’s because that’s all that differentiates our products and its lazy marketing."

Overall it's a very interesting letter and offers a great insight into how some RIM employees may be feeling and what they feel needs to be done to return the company to its former glory. I highly suggest reading the letter in its entirety, which can be found at the source link below. What do you all make of the exec's suggested changes? Do you think they'd help RIM better take the fight to Apple and Google or do you think the Canadian firm is doomed no matter what it does?

UPDATE: RIM just sent us this response to the letter:

"An “Open Letter” to RIM’s senior management was published anonymously on the web today and it was attributed to an unnamed person described as a “high level employee”. It is obviously difficult to address anonymous commentary and it is particularly difficult to believe that a “high level employee” in good standing with the company would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the web rather than engage their fellow executives in a constructive manner, but regardless of whether the letter is real, fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations, it is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company’s challenges and its opportunities.

RIM recently confirmed that it is nearing the end of a major business and technology transition. Although this transition has taken longer than anticipated, there is much excitement and optimism within the company about the new products that are lined up for the coming months. There is a fundamental business reality however that following an extended period of hyper growth (during which RIM nearly quadrupled in size over the past 5 years alone), it has become necessary for the company to streamline its operations in order to allow it to grow its business profitably while pursuing newer strategic opportunities. Again, RIM’s management team takes these challenges seriously and is actively addressing the situation. The company is thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead with a solid balance sheet (nearly $3 billion in cash and no debt), strong profitability (RIM’s net income last quarter was $695 million) and substantial international growth (international revenue in Q1 grew 67% over the same quarter last year). In fact, while growth has slowed in the US, RIM still shipped 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones last quarter (which is about 100 smartphones per minute, 24 hours per day) and RIM is more committed than ever to serving its loyal customers and partners around the world."