There is a lot going on with Research In Motion right now. And that’s just from what the public can see. Things within the company must be at a frenzied level, especially with the major transition that is being called for. While we have no real idea of what’s going on inside the walls at Waterloo, the public perception of RIM doesn’t seem to be that great anymore. More to the point, there are a lot of questions as to what the company plans on doing from this point on, and how they plan on actually competing with the competition. Unfortunately, an open letter from an employee at RIM to the executives of the company isn’t doing much to bolster the confidence of those questioning the company’s standing in the mobile market.
The open letter to Research In Motion’s executives was penned by an unnamed employee, and is a list of what he or she believes the company needs to do to get things back on track. It ranges from employee retention to software and hardware development. The letter points out glaring flaws (that he or she believes exist) in the way that RIM has put itself up against the competition of Apple and Google. It even suggests that marketing for the company’s products aren’t going in the right direction, especially when it comes to the company’s first tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook.
There are a lot of interesting points in the open letter to RIM’s executives. And for the public who have been keeping an eye on RIM, to read the letter may bring plenty of “I see…” moments to the fore, especially those who believe RIM isn’t doing all that well these days. The author of the letter even points out that the company should change their name to “BlackBerry.” It may seem pointless to some, but outside the United States the BlackBerry name isn’t as synonymous with Research In Motion as the company would probably like – even if RIM is the manufacturer behind the phone. BlackBerry is attributed to BlackBerry more often than not.
Many people seem to think that RIM is simply “resting on its laurels,” and that the company hasn’t done much at all in the way of actually competing with the likes of Apple, or Google. There’s no denying that Apple and Google have continued to ride a wave of success over the years, while RIM’s presence in the market has seen a steady stagnation, if not out-right decline. The letter points all of this out as well, the point drive home with several different strikes from the proverbial hammer. The author writes, “RIM has a lot of people who underperform but still stay in their roles. No one is accountable. Where is the guy responsible for the 9530 software? Still with us, still running some important software initiative. We will never achieve excellence with this culture.” That is a very revealing statement, no matter how you look at it.
If RIM is indeed resting on its laurels, then the outcry from the public –and investors—is a warranted one. People expect a company to always perform, to always strive for greatness; and when a company stops doing that, even for a moment the results are quick to appear. And they are generally never favorable. When it comes to the mobile market and the speed in which it moves and evolves, a company that stops trying to stay on top, to create the best devices it can, is a company that’s destined to find a comfortable spot at the bottom of the pile. Is that what is happening to RIM? It would seem the general public thinks so, and this open letter won’t do much to change that perspective.
There may be some out there who say that the letter is nothing new to the executives at RIM. That there’s no way that they don’t already know this is happening. That’s probably true. Unfortunately, that means that they’ve known this has been going on, but have done nothing to change it. If that is indeed the case, then that’s worse than not knowing this was happening. Is happening. So should we expect to see a major shift in the company’s tactics from here on out? Should we expect to see high-end devices that can actually compete with the high-end devices that promote Google’s or Apple’s mobile OS?
Or is this the blind-hope of folks who don’t want to see RIM fail? Should Research In Motion start considering licensing BlackBerry OS to other manufacturers, like HP is doing now? And would other manufacturers even take BlackBerry OS under their wing? Where do you think RIM stands right now in the market? Let me know in the comments below.