BlackBerry PlayBook Sr. Product Manager Leaves RIM; Now Director of Product Marketing for Samsung

Ryan Bidan
By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Jul 2011 04:40 pm EDT
Ryan Bidan

Wow. Another RIM employee has left for Samsung.  Just a month after Brian Wallace, the VP of Digital Marketing and Media for RIM, left for Samsung, another well-known RIM employee is packing up and leaving Waterloo for Dallas, Texas. Note, this addition comes less than two weeks after Samsung chief product and technology officer Omar Khan left for a job with Citigroup, so it seems things be changing like crazy here.

Ryan Bidan, formerly a Senior Product Manager on the BlackBerry PlayBook team, posted on his Twitter and LinkedIn today that he's now going to be working for Samsung Telecommunications USA as a Director of Product Marketing. Ryan Bidan was well known here on CrackBerry as he was one of the company's best personalities in dealing with the media. He first hit the CrackBerry blogs when he showed us the BlackBerry Presenter at CES 2010, and then from there he moved onto the PlayBook team where he made the rounds in the media (remember my first hands-on of the PlayBook?), including being on an episode of the Engadget show. Heck, there's even a thread in the CrackBerry forums calling for Ryan Bidan to be Research In Motion's new CEO

We've tweeted out to Ryan for feedback, and Phil is waiting for word back from Samsung on this movement. Let's hope this isn't a trend.. if Samsung keeps poaching RIM talent CrackBerry Kevin may have to do a Hulk Smash.

Sad to see you leave RIM Ryan... I hope Samsung bloggers appreciate the Bidan smirk as much as I always did (he pulls out the trademarked smirk everytime you ask him a question he's not allowed to answer).

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook Sr. Product Manager Leaves RIM; Now Director of Product Marketing for Samsung


Oh well don't I feel like an ass now! This is why I try not to troll!

Then I'll foot in mouth and rebound with... I saw him in some of the early playbook demo vids and he was well spoken!

How'd I do?

Maybe the PlayBook could use a new project manager? Too bad though, this guy did a great job at the major consumer electronics shows last year launching the PlayBook.

He seems like a nice guy.
Did he leave?
Did they push him to go?

I guess that the weather is nicer in Texas.

Apples iCloud senior product manager left apple last month can we apply the same logic?

Also this month a product manager for google left. Shall we again apply your logic?

Or should we just acknowledge that people change companies to progress their career. In this case I would say Director of Product Marketing > Sr. Product Manager.

Apple just reported 10x the profit of RIM, and its sales keep going up. Ditto for Google's Android (at least in terms of sales). RIM sales are heading in the opposite direction, and the PlayBook isn't selling. So the circumstances are not exactly comparable.

You're actually incorrect about RIM's sales. Their revenue has been increasing year over year. In Q2 of 2010, they had sales of 4.2 billion and, in Q2 of 2011, they had sales of 4.9 billion. Their income dropped slightly but they still made 700 million after tax last quarter....They are in no way a sinking ship yet.
Apple's after tax income was around 8 times larger than RIM's but that is also due to the fact that they are a much bigger company and sell products in many different segments. They aren't just a phone manufacturer...if you are going to compare financials of companies that are completely different, at least use ratios to normalize the scale and scope differences.
I don't know how you can call yourself an economist.

I don't understand why Samsung is going to RIM for marketing people when it is clear that RIM's marketing department has not quite shown stellar performance lately. In my opinion, RIM's barely existent marketing strategy is just as responsible for the current state of Playbook sales and RIM bashing as the actual product line. The old addage 'A good salesman can sell an icecube to an eskimo' still applies, although no one knows what RIM is selling! RIM - either let the creative minds you still have in-house do their magic, or find new minds, but either way - get your product in the public eye!

Well said, your comments are bang on. I don't see this as a loss. RIM really needs to shake-up their senior management positions with fresh faces that are ready to go out and kick some butt. Keep the changes coming.

I say this just shows that other companies want what RIM has, both in product and personnel.
Can't quite by the 'Playbook sucks so let's go hire the Product Manager of the Playbook and give him all of product marketing' theory.

i wrote this mean and scathing post on bgr about how iBGR is a boxcar on the gravy train to the APPLE bank volt, and he deleted my post and banned me. What a monkey. it's a damn shame what happened to that site man. a damn shame. Now it's all Tabloid Blogging, nothing else. #EpicFail

Well, he was everywhere before launch and noticeably absent after launch. Probably a good time to have someone else be a product manager for the PB given its lackluster marketing...

RIM's marketing department has been garbage for a while. I guess I don't see this move as shocking.

I guess Samsung want's there marketing to be like RIM... sh1tty lol

now wondering whether I made a mistake,,,

BOLD 9000


I can see why Ryan jumped ship to Samsung. I did the same thing lol. Got my Samsung Galaxy S2, Wow what a difference over the 9700. I can see why RIM is so far behind. I know I am comparing a 1.5 year old phone with a new phone but it's night and day to anything RIM has to offer. Amazes me at the differences and advances in technology.

Right run along and play with the toy. Hope you can get an update when the next one comes around, in a reasonable amount of time.

better to have a Samsung G2 , wich he can probably use for the next 3 years without the feeling of his phone being from ancient stone age times , then have a underpowerd weaks ass dead on arrival 9700 blackberry bold (bold stands for brave enough to release such a crappy ass falling behind product, compaired to it's peers).

He can now decently browse , view flash websites and get things done. That's hardly a toy ,by any standards. Now go update your weak playbook without native e-mail.

Understood nothing about this, did you? Everyone of us who uses a BlackBerry made his decision definitely against all of of these 4-Inch-Touch-Screen-Flagships. Yeah. Imagine there are still people who want a great messaging device with an awesome keyboard, great network performance and a great battery life. Security and Speed-of-usage on top. All things a shitty Galaxy S2 cannot give you. And at least music, little games, capturing photo and video, apps and surfing the web (i.e. to read the NYT or visiting the forums) is also on board. I dont need a damn desktop experience when I'm on the go. And I dont need a 4-Inch screen. So what do you need that big hi-res-display and a dual-core-processor for? Right: playing games and surf large, playful websites. And you wont use a Galaxy S2 for 3 years, cuz 4 months later Samsung releases the next flagship against which your nice Galaxy S2 looks pretty sh1tty. A BLACKBERRY is the phone you use for 2 years - satisfied.

I'll just say this, Ive had the pleasure of meeting Ryan, and he really is a great guy, with great ideas. This is a definite loss for RIM. I dont think RIM used him to his full potential, so he had to do what was best for him. I hope he does well in his new position.

He did a corporate demo for me a while back and I have to say I wasn't really impressed by him. He seemed to blow off questions and wasn't very helpful. However, he is probably a nice guy.

+1000 x 42 = 42000

Yeah, I agree.. Ryan really was good. I feel betrayed... such a #jerk Ryan. I kid, I kid. All the best at Samsung Ryan. Definitely a loss for RIM.. 



I seriously don't know why this is making into a big deal? Executives at this level changes all the time. Why don't we say that Samsung is also suffering because their employee went to Citigroup? Perhaps we are looking way too deep than we should...
just my two cents

RIM lost all the way!!!!

This guy was slick in everything I ever have seen him do, AND. Kevin and Shao speak highly of him, and I don't think either are the kind to pump a guy up who doesn't deserve it.

Did anyone on here see Apple's earnings? Over 20 million IPhones sold in the latest Quarter and they sold EVERY IPad they could produce. RIM is sinking and fast. Two years from now they won't exist. I am not an Apple lover or BB hater. Just observing what is so painfully obvious. Those 2 assholes running the company are pathetic and they deserve to go down the tubes.

I'm trying to understand this, some people say that RIM does a terrible job of marketing their products. Then when a marketing executive leaves, people say it's a bad thing for RIM. That line of reasoning doesn't seem to make sense.

+ 1 million. this is so dumb. people are ragging on RIM now cause the guy that didnt do his job to promote to PB well is leaving the company. How do we know he didnt get the boot? Like someone said above, "who really lost here RIM or Samsung?" People bitch for no damn reason!

If the"open letter" was real, then it points to a corporate culture that is not allowing good, talented people to do their jobs well. This leads to bad morale and then people jump ship when they can for greener pastures.

Or he just likes to move around. Or Balsillie is cleaning house now that he's CMO. Or Samsung offered him more money.

Samsung just lost their CTO, Apple lost several executives including the man that developed the Apple Stores, are their corporate cultures in bad shape as well?

Mr. Biden likely wanted the CMO position and when it became clear he wasn't going to get it, he decided to move on.

Not that I am going to Apply as I am sure it will be an Internal promotion
But I would love to be a Project manager for the Playbook moving forward for RIM, so much potential, so many avenues to move forward,

Product management can be so rewarding

I love all of the fanboys who are making is sound like RIM fired the guy...from the looks of it, he left RIM, not the other way around.

Ok, here's my take. Executives com and go.They go where the opportunities are. RIM is terrible at marketing. They are so tied to their business customers, which are still their bread and butter. In that realm, they don't have to market too much because they've been proven and established. Along the way, they got into the consumer market, which is way more fickle. RIM doesn't know how to effectively market to consumers. RIM may have stifiled/may stifile their marketing folks. Who knows. Fact is, we see where they are and they need marketing help. RIM is stable enough between their business clients to survive. Even if they had to give up on the consumer market, as they got along solely in the business market for years. Frankly, if they were to get the Playbook OS onto a phone platform, they'd probably have the best platform on the market. However, if you can't market it, the "consumer" won't get that. We are flooded with Android and Apple ads all the time. How many Blackberry ads do you even see? They rely too much on word of mouth and in the consumer market, bombardment works/helps. At best, you see ads around launch times from Blackberry, and those are slim. No large scale press events for devices like Apple and Jobs does for any iDevice they launch. The point is, RIM needs to get some folks who understand the consumer market and utilize them to market their stuff. We have no idea how hogtied any RIM folks may be by the top brass. RIM just needs to realize that they are failign at marketign to the consumer market. You can't market to consumers the same way you market to a business. Period. Until RIM realizes that, they will not only lose good people, but will never really draw top marketing talent. They need to address that first before any progress can be made. I wish Mr. Bidan good luck. If he makes any major strides at Samsung, then we will have the answer to the question of it it was him or RIM holding him back. If he seems to push on from Samsung soon, then we know he is not the marketing genius he tried to say he was, either. Either way, ultimately, RIM needs to learn to be a bigger cheerleader for themselves, or watch their consumer market continue to simply crumble.

People keep saying this is not a loss: The marketing team are leaving left and right because their voices aren't being heard by the management at top. Mike and Jim want to continue with the same song and dance and it's clear by the letters from internal employees that many people are unhappy.

Samsung, who is about to become the number 1 smartphone maker, is snatching these people up because they obviously have talent that is not being used. Clearly.

It would seem that it is possible even likely, that the good talent at RIM is just tired of hearing fromJim and Mike " What YOU need to understand is this" instead of listening and taking some ideas and advice from within their own company.

It is not "just bad luck" that these people are leaving. If you get tired of banging your head against "the wall" you go looking for a new wall.

Again, Jim and Mike are not getting it and need to be told" What YOU TWO need to understand is this!" Your stock is dropping, your App World is messed up, your PB is not making it yet, you can't release an OS right now to save your soul, you lied at the last stock holders meeting and you haven't hit a "self set" deadline yet! All the while they praise themselves on how good the BB phone sales are going in Cambodia!

God save RIM. Send Mike and Jim packing.


RIM sucks at marketing...Wallace leaves

PlayBook has a rough launch...Bidan leaves.

I say let this trend continue.

samsung is a cell phone maker, not a platform provider. he will be better off there. most likely this was in the works for quite some time already. flush out a few more and get some new blood.

The guy was a great personality. However looking at this now, he was the product manager for the Playbook, and I think we can all say that the past 90 days haven't produced much for this product. If he was a part of poor decisions made in the past 90 days then this could be good. Maybe he is good a marketing products and not managing the products themselves. Who knows. If the RIM seemed to have their act together with the Playbook then I would say this is a bad loss, but since they didn't, I'll just say that hopefully the new Playbook product manager can take the ball and run with it.

Having followed RIM since their very first phone, my comments are as thus: does RIM even have a marketing team? Let's be blunt, the marketing of any RIM product, not just the Playbook, is an utter disaster and failure.

Some of the members on the Crackberry site, I am sure, have been able to sell more RIM products by themselves through their support and believe of the product line at rates higher than any of RIM's own self promotion.

Case in point - I went to the Playbook Tour Vehicle in Coquitlam, BC (outside Staples) this afternoon: ten visitors were in the trailer; three workers with blue playbook shirts were inside. Two of these workers were knowledgeable, polite, and dressed well. The other individual had food coming out of his mouth and on his face; looked unkempt; and could have served as a bouncer at a rowdy biker bar. His appearance aside, it was clear that he knew nothing about the Playbook, was unable to communicate about the device, and was, in general, unfriendly. No class. That's not how you create interest in a product as he was a total turn-off for the device.

Yet he exemplifies, exactley, the ineptitude, arrogance, and ignorance, of RIM. RIM's own worst enemy is themselves and their inability to properly connect with the public and even its own products.

How is this a loss? Given the total failure of PlayBook messaging pre-launch and today seems more like he got while the getting was good.

Is it time to send the Co-CEO's packing, maybe. Is it time for a shake up at RIM in most senior management, yep starting with marketing. RIM see's that it has huge market potential in developing markets where their sales are huge and strong. They are hoping that this along with large and medium size corporates keep them going until QNX. We can all hope, but if they let QNX phones flop, they would/should be bought. RIM needs to focus on its core businesses and possibly do it with two "divisions" business and consumer. RIM does not sell itself well to consumers. When my wife wanted her first BB it was because all of the other management had them not that she liked it or knew anything about it. I thought that BB's were only for executives and sales. We moved on to the Palm Pre and then iPhone but I always wanted a BB. I got one and now I am hooked. I want RIM to succeed along with Apple, Android, and HPalm. Why, because when one tops the rest if forces the others to do better, except BB in the past. They may have learned their lesson as we see with the 9900/9930 getting a processor upgrade, that is a sign of hope.

Hopefully they replace him with someone who can market the products in a way it deserves. He was great at talking the talk but did he walk the walk? I don't think so.

Samsung needed someone, he probably thought that it might be a better job, maybe a bit more pay.

Maybe his hands were tied up at RIM, he is a great marketing person but still Playbook Marketing was minimal.....frustrated from such working environment he may have decided enough is enough......

Anonymous letter from an Employee, was it Ryan?

This doesn't have to be a bad thing you know. i see it as out with the old and in with the new. Maybe these guys were dead beats who didn't believe in the brand anymore. Who wants to keep a paper weight like that around. get new blood in man, is what i say. people wanna prove themeless, i say let 'em. We'll see in six months if my enthusiasm is warranted.

Worst case scenario, Dell buys Rim to compete with HP and WebOS. Excuse me while I go hang myself.

Adieu RIM!
Why waste your time with a Company which you know is sinking and refuses to face the issues that it needs to tackle? This guy is gone simply because there is nothing left to do while working with RIM. The best RIM does these days is release OS updates which are buggy and have to be pulled from its servers!

“BlackBerry smartphones will never have cameras because the No. 1 customer of ours is the U.S. government,” Mike Lazaridis would say in meetings. “There will never be a BlackBerry with an MP3 player or camera.”

“BlackBerry will never do that, it will always be a model number,” he said to executives. “A BlackBerry with a name is ridiculous.”

“One of the main reasons RIM missed the mark with the browser was because
they were always proud of how little data usage a user would use,” a former executive said. “There was no three-year plan at RIM.” RIM would be proud of the fact that someone would only use 1MB of data in a month in 2005, and as a result, there wasn’t ever any extensive R&D done within the browser space.

“Mike Lazaridis couldn’t imagine that consumers would be spending hours watching and streaming video to their devices, he couldn’t understand it,”

This is why we don’t see RIM excelling in spaces like camera technology, or displays — because the company never even attempted to anticipate the smartphone trends we’re seeing today. “RIM is a reactionary company.”

“When you hear Mike talk about the latest and greatest, it’s been the same thing for ten years: security, battery performance, and network performance.

“Mike is convinced people won’t buy an iPhone because battery life isn’t as good as a BlackBerry,”

These are quotes extracted from the article "Inside RIM:..." at BGR, said by actual and former RIM employees. Just read'em and you will instantly know that it isnt the marketing which is shitty, its just the lack of innovation.

People leave companies for a higher position job all the time and it doesn't mean they're jumping ship... it just means they got offered a better job with, more than likely, more money... like Apple iCloud Product Manager who left Apple recently as well. Someone taking a better job elsewhere happens all the time.