Could we see a return of Mike Lazaridis if BlackBerry goes private?

Mike Lazaridis
By Chris Umiastowski on 22 Aug 2013 12:06 pm EDT

Here’s something to think about just for fun today. With all the discussion of Prem Watsa potentially being involved with a privatization bid for BlackBerry, could this mean a return of Research In Motion founder and former Co-CEO, Mike Lazaridis?

Watsa’s firm, Fairfax Financial, owns about 10% of the outstanding shares of BlackBerry. Lazaridis owns about 5.7% of the company. So let’s think about this. It’s well known that Watsa and Lazaridis are friends. And we also know that Lazaridis did not sell shares when he stepped down from the board. BlackBerry is his baby. He built it and he doesn’t want to see it die, or sold for parts.

It stands to reason, therefore, that if Watsa is involved in a privatization deal, Lazaridis is probably going to be involved too. He won’t want to sell his shares. Otherwise he’s going to have to completely sever himself from the company just as Balsillie did. I think the former is more likely.

So let’s assume BlackBerry does go private, and that FairFax and Lazaridis are both involved in the privatization deal. Does this mean Lazaridis will return to the board? Or return to an executive position? Perhaps, but it isn’t something we can say with any degree of certainty.

We have to remember that Lazaridis was a supporter of Thorsten Heins. He and Balsillie pushed for Heins to take over as CEO when they stepped down. It seems unlikely that Lazaridis would then lead a movement to reclaim the top job. Instead, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lazaridis return as chief technology officer and overall visionary. I just don’t want him involved in the day to day design of products or features. He’s a brilliant man, but I think he’s also earned a reputation for designing products based on what he sees as useful. He never thought people would want cameras or colour screens or attachment viewing, or touch screens. But put the guy in charge of visionary industry changes in the M2M market or something else truly entrepreneurial and I think you dramatically increase the company’s chances of success in those new areas.

I’m not saying any of this will happen, and I’m not trying to start some kind of rumour that Lazaridis is returning to BlackBerry. But I am saying it’s possible given his relationship with Watsa, his shareholdings, and his likely emotional connection to the company.

What do you think, CrackBerry Nation?  Do you want to see Mike back at the table?

Topics: BBRY Editorial

Reader comments

Could we see a return of Mike Lazaridis if BlackBerry goes private?



That *is* crazy. Seriously. If there's anyone Mike should talk to, it's Kevin. I would love to see that interview.

The top person of the biggest blackberry fan site on the web and never met him. I mean he should have want to speak with the biggest and best cheerleader of them all.

The old management at RIM (now BlackBerry!) didn't treat the blogosphere as important.  They spent time with traditional media (Bloomberg, Reuters, print media) and analysts (I met both Mike and Jim many times).  I think this was a mistake.  But that's how they ran things.  Today things are very different, which is good.

I agree! Maybe they were just to arrogant just like they were with the iPhone. Anyways, it definitely makes sense for BlackBerry since CrackBerry is their biggest fan and has a good BB community. Just wish they would collaborate with you guys more on your opinions, advice and etc since you guys know your stuff! :)

Posted via CB10

I'd be shocked if Mike L' didn't sell any shares after stepping down May 1st. He would have known disastrous things were coming down the pipe. Most in the U.S assume that's why he left the board. A directorship is not time intensive. He only has to report next year so no one would know for some time.

Posted via CB10

No way Mike L would sell.

BlackBerry is his baby. Most people don't realise that Mike didn't start the company with Jim B but with another guy who apparently until not so long ago was still involved.

Mike focused on the engineering, Jim B was brought in originally to be the administrator (and because he brought cash to the table).

You're dreaming. The other guy sold his shares long ago as did Balsillie. Mike was probably advised to 'diversify'.

Posted via CB10

No kidding. Goes to show that RIM was completely disconnected from the consumer market. Time has shown that this mindset has not served them well...

Yes you have met him before,not one on one but in a crowd of reporters. I could swear at his last BlackBerry World he attended as a presenter you where photographed near him??

I say you reach out and find out what he would do to BlackBerry if gone private.

Posted via CB10

I've been near or around Mike L in the same room plenty of times... heck, last year at the AGM I sat right behind him (could have reached forward and touched his hair). But never spoken a word face to face.

Wow you would think he (Mike L) would have been all over you guys! Im on my 3rd BB and everything I've learned has come from this site.

Well considering what you are doing for the brand, this may explain the sales problem... so better for him to stay on the tech side.

Posted via CB10

The man has been praised by Thor as knowing so many people in Gov and industry,maybe he is the only one, who can fit in his shoes,and bring BB back.Funny you never met him.

Even after Mike L stepped away from the game he still never made an effort to say hello to the leader of the user nation. Couldn't take 5 minutes to step out of his office for a photo op during Kevin's first tour of Waterloo.

No thanks.

RIM made a big deal about having Mike at the world wide launch for the Z10,It was sort of a celebration to see his efforts bear fruit.Kevin had an opportunity right their and then to approach him, and congratulate, the great one,was kevin there?I'm sure on many other occasions Kev could have meet him and Mike probably doesn't approve of Kevin's drinking skills,which we all love, Kevin's a really nice guy.

You got that right. If they got people in a room and asked how do we screw it all up it would be hard to come up with a bigger marketing screw up than these guys came up with.
1. Don't really shown the new product.
2. Keep it a secret that the OS can now run apps.
3. Spend little to no money so that when sales fall flat we can still say we have money in the bank.

Posted via CB10

I meet him in the late 80's when I was delivering to RIM some electronic Equipment
Very nice man
the morale will improve a lot

Therein lies the deeper disconnect that old mgmt had with its users. The man should have been all over meeting you Kevin. Years ago when ya first got going. He could care less and no. He should sell out. Let Samsung give it a go.

Posted via CB10

Maybe thats due to Mike L doesn't care about blogs and websites … I wonder if he will change his mind when he comes back as a CEO again !

I think bbry needs to sell out and let get acquired by an innovative company or one with great vision and deep pockets.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10

M.L was a big part of the Research In motion!!!!
Don't doubt about his tech competences! We can thank him much to get all those innovations back that time!
I don't see him sale his part...

I was sitting behind him at the BB10 launch which was so surreal. His handler wouldn't let him talk to anyone, however.

Mike's loss for not taking the time to talk to you -- but I've told you as much in person already :)

Bizarre, Kev. In met Mike L in the car park of the Egham UK office. He then proceeded to assist my girlfriend reverse her car. Nice guy.

Posted via CB10

I'd like to see Dan Dodge as CEO or CTO of BlackBerry if they go private. Thorsten and Mike are part of the old guard, part of the "RIM mentality" - personally, I do not want Mike "back at the table" in any capacity.

Totally agree! I don't think really anyone wants him back as the ceo again. BlackBerry is where it is because of him! Thanks Mike!!!

Posted via CB10

Are you kidding? I think Dan's a likeable nerd, but he's not a CEO. He needs to focus on making the vision of mobile computing a reality for BlackBerry users. At this point, I can't think of a whole lot of things at the core that BlackBerry's QNX acquisition offered end users that Android OS -- which would have been free -- doesn't offer. Dan Dodge brought us a PlayBook OS that was little more than a Flash Player and more promises and blown delivery dates. This is the same guy who never delivered QNX based Amiga OS. And now BlackBerry doesn't have active tablet development and is watching as Canonical, rather than BlackBerry, cements Mike and Thor's vision of "mobile computing" with the Ubuntu brand.

Posted via CB10

Chris, very interesting article on this as I would agree and it could push BlackBerry back in the right direction!

Like you said, maybe in some type of visionary role. But on actual execution? Well...

Posted via CB10

He might have screwed up in the latter years he was with the company, but let us not forget that he was around when he guided the company to their earlier highs

Yeah he was so smart he fell asleep at the wheel when it came to the future of the industry.

Posted via CB10

I do agree that their combined arrogance put the company in the market position it's in today. But, look at the flip side(as mr_zed10 said below): Mike made BlackBerry what it is and, aside from market share, actually left the company in a pretty good position when he stepped down. Should he be CEO again? Not a chance. However, there are other aspects of the company that could benefit from him.

It will be good for Blackberry, at least he cares.. but he needs strong team is OS development, UI improvement and Apps availability

Do you want to see Mike back at the table?

I've been saying this in the forums for ages, all I get is, what? Let the guy who destroyed BB back in?

Erm, he MADE Blackberry, bought QNX and all the other companies to form BB10, left a few billion in the bank, put Thor in place to fulfil Mike's own vision.

Get this guy back in, as the article says, he's got the vision and drive, just don't let him deal with certain other aspects of the business.

Absolutely my thought too. He was part of that research in motion! :)
I want him back, not as CEO but as main character with more share holding too...

"He never thought people would want cameras or colour screens or attachment viewing, or touch screens. "

Some visionary you got there. Sheesh.

Posted via CB10

Hind sight is always 20/20. Think about it from their shoes(I say their since they were Co-CEOs): you are the dominant phone maker. From your tower it seems impenetrable. People are happy with your product. Why break a pattern that works? I don't think any one really predicted the iPhones popularity to be what it was.

I won't deny the arrogance that put them into the market position they are in now, but he still did many great things with BlackBerry. Had your shot, did not use it. Why give him second do what...go back to ignoring the competition and pretending everything is fine?

Posted via CB10

You could make the argument that his previous mistakes makes him valuable as he would be less likely to make the same mistakes (eg downplay the consumerisation of the smartphone) again.

Didn't that Apple guy work at Apple for a while, then go away and come back again?

And his product is nowhere near as good as the bb10!

Posted via CB10

I hope not. BB may be his baby, but BB needs someone with some charisma and enthusiasm. He may be a genius, and Thor may be a genuis, but they are not charismatic. BB desperately needs someone with a good "public face" to complete this turn around.

Sadly I think they aren't too. That not the biggest cocern fondamentaly, since yu can get a charismatic leader with sh*it products or services and sale nothing!
But sure if you want to be a big Multinatinal all around the world, and *respected* by lot, you need some charismatic leader indeed. And for M.L and Thorsen: that not a quality they really have.
One look as the "first guy in class" and the other as a "purist geek". Not offense here, they have the qualities of those "faults": competences and minds...

Mike's first move: "I"m going to get rid of the touchscreen and move back to the trackball! People HATE progress and staying modern! We are also going to get rid of LTE and move back to 128 megs of storage, since emails don't take up a lot of space and you don't need a fast data connection for little emails!"

Hell no stop moving backward. Right the ship make the proper strategic moves and push forward aggressively. Leave the dinosaurs at the door or in the past with the old R.I.M. where they belong.

CB10- BlackBerry Z10 -

Idk guys...

Mike did start the company and he made millions with his "visions"

Then it went public and then the downfall...

So theoretically... if BlackBerry went private he may make it big again....

Posted via CB10

Absolutely! Add him back, however add people around who are influential and plug into the new school thinking. It keeps thing in check and balanced. Best of both worlds.

Posted via BlackBerry Z10 Channel C00106B82

I hope he doesn't. Don't get me wrong, he is a genius with great vision, but that doesn't make him someone who knows how to run a company really well.

According to Wikipedia, his net worth as of 2011 was $800 million, and a recent article claims his net worth is now in the $210 million range, so no.

Posted via CB10

Where'd all that $$ go? Is it losses from BlackBerry stock or maybe that giant monstrosity of a house/conference center he built on Lake Huron? That project had a substantial price tag no doubt.

Posted from my incredible Z10

I thought the message is 'keep moving? ' All I know is the confusion in the company is really getting on my friggin' nerves.

Because I zed so

No, I think the downfall began when other phones started adding cool features and mike with all his visions could not see the future of handheld devices and did not even try to cope up with the rest

Posted via CB10

When the iPhone launched, BlackBerry was being sued by NTP and was in a battle to keep their network up and running in the USA. It took another year before that was resolved and it cost the company about $800M. The execs spent most of their time speaking to lawyers and judges instead of focusing on products and features. Sounds like they were sleeping, huh? Not so. When they did get past that issue, they had a lot of customers to please on the business side, and a bunch of new potential consumers they had to get to know. Yes, they stumbled out of the gate, and they tried to make a go of it with the OS they had. That didn't work, so they went looking to build a new platform. Of course, a new platform wasn't what the industry needed when it was on the verge of exploding, but BlackBerry had no choice to make! They were cornered with an aging OS, built since 1999.
Even so, they didn't rush it, like Google did with Android and Apple did with iOS - though Apple did a much better job than Google did. It was very well thought out, building security from the core OS up through to the user interface - after all, that was their strength! Again, these critiques aren't fair because they miss the bigger picture. It's not one thing that caused the "downfall" but a sequence of unfortunate events. Please don't jump to arbitrary conclusions.

If true, well said. Most of the negative comments attacking RIM and their founders are shallow and off base.

BlackBerry will survive in the Corporate and Government Sectors! My Z10 is so much better than an iphone!

Few companies make a successful transition to a new platform for their core product. Most don't survive. BlackBerry is doing its very best to make this happen. They just need a chance - that's all they're asking for. But too many people are closed minded and have written them off - I think unfairly based on the great products and services they have today. Those folks never had to run a business of their own, so they don't understand just how difficult it is to win customers back. I still have faith because I love the direction they are headed with the technology.

Some of you are ridiculous with this rubbish. Consumers don't "owe" BB anything. BB makes a product to sell. Consumers will either buy it or not.

If RIM can't convince people to take their hard earned money on their products, that's just how it is.

This "sympathy" angle is ridiculous.

Well put.Now it make s sense.......... I could never work out how a company of such stature could make such irrational decisions and continue to put out product with such minor differences with their predecessors while Apple sailed away into the sunset.

Remember people wrote off Steve Jobs when apple went into the toilet. He left and they parachuted an executive with experience, only to tank further then he came back and look where apple is now because of his return. These guys that start tech companies have vision.

Posted via CB10

Great point! Again, it's easy to criticize others when you don't know what they're really doing or have done.

I wouldn't mind seeing him back and in charge of some sort of R&D area. I think I remember reading he was a pretty sharp as far as technology itself goes.

Indeed. Jobs proved the value of an evangelist, who can inspire people to work on cool stuff. However, Jobs was great at taking ideas from others - so was Bill Gates, but IMO Gates was a little more ruthless. Mike was a true engineer that came up with some brilliant ones of his own.

Oh God! If this did happen I wonder how many fanatics will compare it to Steve Jobs returning to Apple to "save the day".

Despite what I said above, let's avoid comparisons. It serves no purpose. If he returns, so be it. If it doesn't, so be it. I'd rather that than selling the company for assets to appease investors.

I think it is really important for a company to have people with passion in positions of importance. If Mike Lazaridis can bring a passion for Blackberry in to a specialized job then why not? If there is a way for him to increase revenue then of course it should be done. Not like things could get all that much worse (provided he stayed in his department).

This is guy is part of the reason blackberry is in it's current position. Sure he did some great things in RIM's prime but he let the time pass him by and showed no vision to adapt to changing trends. So while he's been a great asset and visionary IN THE PAST, both him and Mike showed they were not up to the task when facing real competition. No thanks.

I've never hated mike...just thought he was sorta closed-minded. I would actually like to see him return to the company, after all he is the guy who decided buying qnx, tat, and many other companies that are now used in BlackBerry 10.

I like the way the guy thinks on the technical side but he has no clue how to run a business and he seems a little paranoid.

Posted via CB10

Seriously, what do you know about it? Is the path to BlackBerry 10 with the acquisitions of QNX, Certicom, Torch Mobile, TAT, Gist, Tungle, etc. Some folks may have left the company, but the technology was acquired. Do you have a problem with those decisions? Think you can do better with all the negative press and harassment? Peek & flow - these were ideas from Lazaridis. Many BlackBerry developers did lots of great things with it to develop that idea. Oh yeah, Lazaridis also realized the app-gap being an issue and got that started. Alex did amazing things with that, and so did Thorsten, who Lazaridis appointed. Both those guys have done a fabulous job, but they BlackBerry isn't Apple or Google with tens of billions in assets and in cash. Get off the blame game and look at the good these folks have done. It's so bloody easy to criticize from the outside.

Still, the Discovery Channel & the History Channel are filled with unfortunate stories with great beginnings. I'm rooting for BB for sure, but business is business!

Go BB!

Posted via CB10

Agreed, things do change, but why is it that everyone thinks they could have done better? Hindsight is so 20/20!

He can say and do anything if it's private while as if it was public things need to be voted etc...

Posted via CB10

Go PRIVATE!!! And yes, I'm an investor. Going private will get rid of those greedy investors who only care about immediate profits rather than growing the company and the brand. Go PRIVATE!

I'm not sure he would be interested in coming back at this point in his carrier Chris. When stepping down from BOD at Blackberry, didn’t he say that he wanted to pursue his new passion of Quantum Computing and physics?

Correct, he is heavily involved in nano-tech and his $100M Qauntum Valley investment fund. He still has like 5% or 6% equity but no formal ties to Blackberry anymore.

Back to the Future?? Both Lazaridis and Heins are architects of BB's current problems. What this firm needs is fresh thinking of a visionary outsider.

A yes for me. Afterall when they decided to start building a new platform for the future (albeit a little late), he was the one who acquired or at least approved the purchase of companies such as Gist, TAT, QNX, etc. I think he has vision that could be valuable in bringing some utilitarian aspect back into BlackBerry 10.

This is such a strange post. I remember when people were ecstatic when he left. Now they want him back. LeBron James much? Maybe it's just Jim everyone hated...

BlackBerry Z10 | Verizon |

No way in frozen hell. Folks that say yes are nuts!!!

BB needs to move forward and NOT repeat the mistakes of the past.

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is INSANE!

The is a reason he never met him is Mile L. is snot!

I can not tell you had bad this would be!

Bringing back MikeL would help to mitigate the same mistakes that the company made when he was in charge.
I think there can be great value in bringing on people who have known failure precisely because (you would hope) that whey won't make the same mistakes again.

How can Mike be successful at a "visionary" position if he couldn't see colour screens, touchscreens and attachment viewing coming down the pipe?

Fired from my Z10

+100 BlackBerry needs to try new things right? Maybe his r&d in quantum computing has bore some fruit that could be helpful to his BlackBerry baby in its time of need.?

Posted from my incredible Z10

There are two types of innovators; open ended and closed ended. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are the former, as evidenced by their numerous contributions in multiple disciplines across a wide time frame.

Mike Lazaridis seems to be a closed ended innovator, as evidenced by prejudices towards touchscreens, cameras, color screens, and even the dismissal of iPhone as a serious competitive threat. He had a specific technical background, saw an opportunity to innovate, and in a few years' span, did so. It was the right thing at the right time, and not something that could be repeated in different circumstances.

I think his big contribution has already happened. I'm sure he has more in him, but it's extremely unlikely he will come up with something truly game changing.

If he were put in the right setting, he could be an asset, but care would be needed to ensure his contributions are not regressive.

Posted via CB10

And how do you know all of this to be true? Yes, we all know the company was blindsided, but they were preoccupied with this totally unfair lawsuit and several similar patent lawsuits. Don't think you know what was going on at the exec level in the company. The same guys that brought you the intelligent smartphone and built this company weren't a bunch of yahoos that everyone is saying they were. I think Jim needed to move on because he no longer fit the role as co-CEO, but Mike was known for being innovative and somewhat of an evangelist.

Ya that's way Jim in 2009 spent a good portion of his team trying to acquire an NHL team. He was pure distracted with that instead of paying attention of the growing trend of iPhone's. As for Mike L he was just arrogant since they were at the top and controlled 75% of the market share.

Posted via CB10

Let's all look at Apple as the classic example. With Jobs return the company became the power house it is today. Jobs was the visionary and founder. So with Mike who also was the visionary and founder if he is brought back. Hopefully he will do to BlackBerry what Steve did for Apple. There may end up being such similarities here that people seem to jot realise that

Posted via CB10

Apple was in serious decline at the time Steve jobs was forced out of the company.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

I think it would be great to see Mike come back to BlackBerry even if they don't go private.

Posted via CB10

I think he's too busy chasing his quantum computing dream and thinking in ways mere mortals can't comprehend. ;)

Crackberry is now a propaganda channel. I will avoid the noise. Too much garbage here.

bcuffy. Q10, 9900, PlayBook 64gb, Iphone 3gs.

Bring him back in a particular role not as CEO maybe and advisor and like Chris stated in the M2M portion of the company and let's not forget he did basically invent the smartphone

Posted via CB10 with my Z10

Tech isn't there yet, it will be a few years before they get actual computers up and running(you seem to know what he's working on so this should make sense to you), and before implementing the tech in smartphones, they have another important contract coming from the states to develop a computer chip using their tech, just think of who in the U.S awards contracts to develop technologies and you'll get it(hint: The chips would be used in all of "their" vehicles...). Once everything falls into place it will be huge for them, and don't expect to make cash off of shares as they won't even need to go publlic they have enough funding for years.

Yes, definitively yes! I am sure that in his come back will have enough experience from his past mistakes .

Sent from my Z10

Met him a few years ago at a University of Waterloo event and spoke to him... I would love to see the company go private with Prem and Mike.... he's a genius and can turn it into a very profitable nishe high end Smartphone mobile computing player...

Don't underestimate him...

Posted via CB10

BB should steal an important figure from Apple. Maybe a marketing or design person and make it unable for that person to say no. Not that I want BB to look or work like Apple products but would possibly be a bigger influence for the future sales and life of BB. Some might not agree but its just a hair brained thought.

As a consultant .... a possibility! That's all. This is the man who initially ignored Apple, touch screens, an app ecosystem, etc.

I really hope the company does go private, and i would definitely welcome him back. There are not a whole ton of BIG successful Canadian companies and the one that is just gets bad mouthed in the media day in and day out. It angers me so much all the crap i read. I may not be the biggest fan like crackberry Kevin, but I do want to see and expirence BlackBerry in all its glory. So however they have to do it, just get er done, and let's get the media off your asses, and go back to what BlackBerry does well. Make awesome smartphones, and become the top dog again. I believe it can be done.

Posted via CB10 with my Q10

Nothing like an original founder to re-ignite the passion and product design. The traders would love it.

Look at Apple floundering after Job's death; the traders are all poking the wound. Stocks are all speculation and trends.

Lazaridis has some interesting ventures on the grill as it stands, and his presence could only improve BlackBerry's odds of survival. (although I'd much rather see a transition from survival to actually competing).

Sent from the future on my Z10.

Lazaridis knows what it takes to drive the business portion of BlackBerry. Someone more aristocratic needs to shadow him on the same level, who can bring the 'what the common consumers wants' in order to have balance.

I still like TH. I believe he knows the communication industry better than anyone in a similar position. He just needs to let someone else handle the speaking.

In the end, I don't care what happens, as long as the share holder doesn't get shafted, and I get to still use my bb10 device.

There is no room for him at the new blackberry, his reluctance to embrace new technology and listen to consumers is why BlackBerry is here in the first place.

People need to stop talking about Jobs coming back and turning apple around, the difference here is that Jobs never drove the largest company in the market into the ground initially only to return to it later. Apple was always a small market player, he just built the company up. BlackBerry was by far and away the industry leader until Jims arcaeic policies drove it into the ground...

Posted via CB10

"I’m not saying any of this will happen, and I’m not trying to start some kind of rumour that Lazaridis is returning to BlackBerry."

But, this article is a blog post entitled, "Could we see a return of Mike Lazaridis if BlackBerry goes private?"

Too late, rumor started. LOL

Posted via CB10

I just wish they would make up their minds and announce something. All I hear now is...oh you have a blackberry? Aren't they up for sale? Then I get asked if I'm switching to android or iPhone. If this gets to public it has to hurt sales, who what's to buy a phone that's got no support

Posted via CB10

I know what you mean, but if anything happens to the company's direction or ownership, the BlackBerry phones and network will remain in existence and we will be able to use our phones.

Posted via CB10

I would love to see this happens more than anything else.

The move to private is a must or this company will be torn down. I don't think anyone here wants that. The perception of BlackBerry is bad strictly due to it being a public company (minus the PB), they need to separate themselves from this.

Finally bringing Mike back would be great for M2M as this is an area he excels in. Very few people have his vision and letting him back in would only strengthen BlackBerry chances once they were private

Posted via Z10

Mike Lazaridis could be the next Steve Jobs, showing up in time to revive BB. Lazaridis is no dumbie, all of us have a vision of when BB was on top and the leader at that time was Mike Lazaridis. He has mad a few mistakes, however he did a lot of things right and that's why we are all here.

He part of the reason BlackBerry are state they are, reacting so slowly to the development of blackberry competitors.

At least his heart is in the company so he will try more than others to ensure the company survives

Posted via CB10

Don't think Mike L can do anything to the company, yes he WAS smart in the early years but I believe that all what BlackBerry is facing today is due to him being stupid in the last couple of years. Maybe he was smart and good enough for quite time but I don't think he is the right man at this part of time.

I wouldn't be against this. So long as we can keep Thor as CEO. He comes off more confident and has a history of turning companies around.

Posted via CB10

I am sorry to say this but i don't trust in Thor, I think he will fail big.time. One serious issue BlackBerry has is delivery of products (hardware, software). Always late and one step behing. By firing all those people, won't speed up the process nor will make the company more flexible.

I'm not sure where your heading with this, since I didn't read the article, but I believe that the headline says it all. I'll put it this way, the day Lazardis (or the other goofball) comes back, is the day I (sadly) move on to another platform.

I respect that BlackBerry would not exist without either of them and it was their vision that introduced the world to the BlackBerry revolution. Unfortunately, it was also their doing that BlackBerry is in the state that it's in now. They failed to adopt to the changing market quick enough, which cost them significant market share.

Seeing, these guys return would show me that BlackBerry is not embracing its future but instead still dwelling in the past. We see signs of this now with the release of new BlackBerry legacy OS devices. A move like this would confirm (to me) that they don't have what it takes to develop what can be a bright future with BlackBerry 10.

Posted via CB10

According to the article, if this should be the solution to get back and solving the problem? then I have no idea how they will solve it. Not the right way.

Posted via CB10

i think mike returning back will not change the overall scenario ,but yes as mentor he will good for companies revival.

Don't want him back, not a great perception for the company. Sure he was at the helm of affairs when the company during BlackBerry rise and he was also at the helm when the company began to drop due to their lack of vision on the products needed in the marketplace leading to where BlackBerry finds itself now.
What BlackBerry needs are some young visionaries to lead it and not the old guard, just my opinion.

So, Mike L has a history of designing products based on what he sees as useful and missed consumer desires for good cameras and vibrant displays. Yet, you think he should be in charge of visionary changes and other entrepreneurial activities. Can you reconcile these two statements or explain how the industry would reconcile his past performance with future potential? Is it like a "light the torch" and then let others carry the torch kind of thing?

BlackBerry has about 524 million shares. Prem and Mike own about 82 million shares. That means if they wanted to take it private they would have to buy the remaining 442 million shares.

But 145 million of those shares are sold short which means that they were borrowed from somebody's brokerage account and sold to someone else. Those 145 million shares would have to be "covered" or bought back by the people that sold them short and returned to the accounts they borrowed them from before any privatization could go through. That means there would be an instant demand created for about a third of the remaining shares (145/442) as short sellers try to cover.

Why would anyone sell their shares today and let a short seller cover (buy) at these prices when a privatization bid would mean the shares could be sold at a premium? It’s uncommon for takeovers to generate anything less than a 20% premium so even if a privatization bid were to take a year or two I don’t know who would pass up on that type of return. I expect to see a lot of bad news about BlackBerry over the coming weeks and months as short sellers and potential buyers have the same incentive to say and do things that drive the share price down. A lower share price would reduce the cost for short sellers to cover (buy) and guys like Prem and Mike to take private. Has anyone noticed if the tone of media coverage of BlackBerry has gotten any worse lately? I wouldn’t fall for that trick.

I don't think THAT's called for, "foxfoxcool" ... You're not being fair to Mike L. AND disrepectful to boot: here's my "community" reason why:

Now, Frank Boulben, on the other hand ... THERE is a guy "whose work" has sucked.
In fact, as a Marketer, I think saying "it's sucked" is an insult to the concept of something sucking.

I've already written at-length that Mike L. isn't the right person to go back to the top, but to say he sucks is just simply WRONG. I couldn't disagree with you more.

THAT's my 2 cents worth from our penny-less country.

Cheers and Keep Moving!

Different circumstances ... plain and simple, so - sorry: NO!

Steve Jobs understood the critical importance of "innovation to solve lifestyle problems" AND - most importantly - he built a corporate culture to exoll its virtues with feelings and emotions.
"For the most part," Mike L's philosophy ("was?") that he/we will "innovate because we can" - with a Marketing approach like: a) it'll maket itself, and b) the logical business case is clear, thereby causing point a).

THAT's my 2 cents worth from our penny-less country.

Cheers and Keep Moving!


Anyone comparing this jack to SJ is fishing for trout in a salmon stream.

I think whenever Mike L. was in office they done a better job at marketing than the new guys do today. I didn't think the commercials where that bad, just had a different way of telling people what the new devices were about. With Mike L. back I think the marketing would show BlackBerry's vengeance.

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Sorry Jerale, I couldn't disagree more "on SOME of your points."

Yes, the current Marketing ab-so-freakin'-lutely misses the boat in terms of "message" and "targeting" as well as "visibility/frequency," BUT you're missing ONE CRUCIAL POINT:
Mike L. and his team oversaw AND approved the "Tools not Toys" campaigns of 2009-2011 ... and precisely THOSE did the most damage by putting the final nails into Rim's BRAND coffin.

Before "the good ol' days" you mention, the company policy was "we don't NEED to Market" because the carriers are our b*tches and WE force THEM to dance to our marketing requirements tune.
SIMPLY BAD ... and THAT is at least partly responsible for why the carriers are pulling the rug out from under BB10 this time around.

THEN, around 1999-2002, that attitude was complimented with a policy where "Marketing" pros were told that "you don't qualify for this Marketing position because you don't have an Engineering Degree" (well, that's what I was told, anyway) ... Oh, and I also don't have a PHD or the Order of Canada, but I DO understand BlackBerry & its technology, the Business Case AND USP of the platform, AND I can run creative messages in targeted campaigns to get results. But that's not important right now.

Arrogance will ALWAYS come back to bite you in the a$$ - right after it kicks you in the giblets - because we allknow that Karma's a b*tch.

I WILL agree that the current Marketing - especially the Launch earlier this year - was an unmitigated disaster; in business terms, it WAS the "Fukushima" of Business thinking and Marketing execution: an absolute melt-down.
And, Frank Boulben as well the entire hiring committee responsible for bringing him in should be tossed out of whatever door or window he is, and they are, nearest-to for absolute and undeniable incompetence - unless he can irrefutably prove that he was rigidly instructed (by his masters) to carry out THAT specific train wreck of a Marketing campaign.
Next, the Ad agency that raked in MILLIONS of $$$s in fees for its - puking here - "creative," and the advice that resulted in it, should go immediately thereafter.

While Mike L. is a brilliant Engineer, even visionary, and I respeect him immensely, I do NOT support the notion that he should "lead" the organization from the top, and especially that he should have ANY involvement with, or say 'in' Marketing.
Let him lead the development & innovation, as he did before leaving so unceremoniously last year, and give him the status and reverence he deserves. THAT alone will already do wonders for stability and morale.

ANYTHING more in that regard I would fight against tooth and nail aginst.

Respectfully, THAT's my 2 cents worth from our penny-less country.

Cheers and Keep Moving!

I like everything you wrote,and I,m sure he doesn't have the time for any, hands on ,day to day duties.Chairman of the Board, for a private BB seems like a more realistic scenario. Great for the company .

While this is a reasonable premise and not at all far-fetched, I would argue that it's beginning to look a LOT like too little much too late.
Besides, I'm not convinced that Mr. Lazaridis - with all due respect - is the right person to rescue and resurrect the company. He’s an amazingly smart man and extremely personable and accommodating in conversation; a true role model and inspiration, but I have reservations about THIS strategy.

Unlike Kevin, I HAVE met and discussed with Mr. L. a number of points, and his attitude was more "operationally focused" than "innovation and raison d’être centric," and when it was, he put the cart before the horse.

Before the iPhone was announced, there were rumours that "such a device" c/would be forthcoming from Apple, and at (actually 'after') the 2007 RIM AGM I asked Mike what he thought of the potential threat that Apple's supposedly newly revamped music player AS A phone WITH browser device would pose.
He flatly discounted it as a non-issue and expressed more concern with managing the growth of the company - valid concerns, no-less, but completely misappropriated under the circumstances.

Whether willingly or knowingly, and entirely out of the blue, EVERYONE at the top inside the old RIM were caught completely by surprise by the iPhone and THEN subsequently decided to do 3 things: 1) tell people what they do and what they do not need - in pure Steve Jobs emulation mode, 2) miscalculate and misstep every development opportunity to at least keep up with the pace of technological and societal (and business) change driving the mobile computing paradigm shift, and 3) make themselves absolutely unpopular with "people" everywhere at every opportunity: Balsillie with an unpolished image as well as misguided distractions involving becoming a high-profile socialite, divorce and hockey teams, and Lazaridis with an elaborate cottage-build, and stunts like walking off a crucial BBC interview – seen around the world.
The corporate culture became one of myopia and “we’ve done it all”- rooted arrogance” – THAT’s a human reaction to success that only a handful of people are immune to. It’s not an excuse, but rather the way these things go by nature (Justin Bieber, anyone?).

Together, Mike and Jim (I'm thinking “mostly Jim”) burned M O S T of the bridges that would now be essential in bringing BBRY back from the edge of the abyss. I'm thinking of the PEOPLE, many even former employees (??), who are now with App Developers and even Companies like Netflix, Yahoo and Instagram just to name the 3 most obvious.

To be clear, I'm not trying to discount the innovations and achievements BOTH gentlemen have created, earned and achieved, or belittle them personally.
Au contraire: they both deserve their recognition and accolades, and respect for ALL they’ve done for technology, innovation and all the great things they've done in the communities they operated in.

But it MUST be pointed out that they also (unintentionally) ran this ship aground in a blind rush of egos and arrogance, newly found wealth and power, misguided know-it-all attitude, personal distractions at the wrong time, as well as surrounding themselves with people whose egos and 'credentials' were bigger than their abilities. So, putting one of those captains back in charge of the whole ship seems a little risky to me, “right now.”

Let’s agree that bringing a/the founder back to the sinking ship HAS worked at times for others: Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz, Michael Dell, etc., .... a few notable turnarounds just there. Like those, greats, I would expect Mr. L. to be wiser, more diligent and more “on the ball” in some ways, but you know, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, or to become a lion.
We're NOW also in a different environment where the BlackBerry name is soiled under the shoes of people who have never even held one, simply because of what the prevailing attitude and Brand/reputation is.
Like shooting fish in a barrel, kicking BlackBerrry has become an easy popular sport for everyone from Facebook surfers to business news casters and casual consumers who just know what they’ve heard and not what they’ve experienced, and not for technological factors or usability or – let’s be honest - the (mega-hyped lack of a full) ecosystem, but for EVERYTHING ELSE the name has now & historically come to embody and stand for.

I do NOT foresee Mr. L. at the helm to be the saving grace needed to right the listing ship. To the contrary: BBRY MUST undergo an absolute hard-core theological transformation AWAY from "we create great technology because we’re smart" - because they really haven't in a Loooooong time - TO a "we create AND MARKET great technology TO IMPROVE YOUR life, lifestyle and ability to do business efficiently, securely and with fun" philosophy.

As an engineer passionate about his craft, I don't see Mr. L. as THAT transformer, THAT personable and likable communicator, or THAT driver of seachange thinking.

Creator of great technologies, "yes!"; Manager of development teams; "absolutely!" ...but, driver of a corporate culture paradigm shift ... "naaaahhh, … not convinced, sorry!"
I would put Mr. L. at the head of ‘technology development’ (etc.) in a heartbeat; but give him any say on Marketing: not if my life depended on it.
And THAT opinion is still a 100 times kinder than what I have in store for Monsieur Boulben.

Now, taking BlackBerry private is the ONLY thing that will save its prospects; staying in the public eye and under constant scrutiny is killing the Brand faster and more completely.
Get out of the public eye and discriminating headlines for another 8-10 months to REALLY focus on bullet-proofing the platform in ALL regards with just TWO (max. three) high-build-quality devices and an OS upgrade to make it unbreakable. Make the network crash-proof. Give it complete Android x-platform apps-compatibility WITHOUT using Google’s OS. Add another 50,000 apps from ‘different’ developers – incl. the “big ones” everyone is demanding. Crawl, beg, dole out ‘favours:’ whatever it takes to get them on board.

Then re-launch in mid-Summer 2014 with a Marketing Fanfare that would raise the dead, and have devices available IN-STORE on Day One - even in the USofA. Give loyal users some say in the reboot AND goodwill AND the guarantee of a Top user experience without disappointment. And publicly show some humility and a down-to-earth human face of BBRY.

Oh, it just occurs to me that I should drive this turnaround: I UNDERSTAND what’s going on and what’s necessary to fix it, the Technology and its demise-Issues, Marketing Messages and Sales, as well as Re-Branding and Company resurrection requirements - ... but also that I'm a passionate Marketer, already located IN Waterloo AND available.

If you want this company to “make it back” like a Phoenix, I’m the key to your solution.
Alec Saunders, CB-message me!

Kevin, next time you're in Waterloo, contact me; we should have those chicken wings I've suggested these last 2 AGM visits ... you have my card.

That’s my 2 cents worth from our penny-less country.

Cheers & Keep Moving!

I just would have said "F*ck L.", but YOUR way of expression is also accetable! BTW- I LOVE your sidekick to the worst marketing-shmock ever Frank "French Roll" Boulben...

My only personal dealings with him were in the lead-up to the PlayBook launch. He was SO excited about the ability to plug it into a TV for presentations and stuff. Like, my colleague who was with me agreed -- it was odd.

Still, it might serve the company well in a private position if one of the largest shareholders was at least on the board. I don't think he has the executive chops to bring the company back to success -- BB is where it is because of Mike and Jim -- but depending on the strength of his relationships with potential partners/buyers, it could also be a good thing, I suppose.

A private BB is odd to me because unlike scenarios like Dell (or the failed attempt at Best Buy), there isn't a founder in the wings begging for one more shot to fix stuff. Instead, it's like "well, we can't deliver as a public company, let's go private."

I dunno.

I'd be very favorable to Mike returning for all the positive reasons presented by Chris and in these Comments. I find the nay sayers seem to be very closed minded to his immensely positive qualities, proven innovative and visionary mind, and his capacity to learn ... which would be a ridiculous position, given his scientific credentials.

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Absolutely not! The former CEO's are representative of the "old order" that led them to where they are. History remembers them as asleep at the wheel. Remember DEC and Kodak. Two major players, innovators of their industries and now almost relegated to footnotes in history. When Dell was rolling out pc's and wanted to market to the home market, then CEO of DEC, Robert Palmer's thought it was a waste. To paraphrase, "why would you want a computer in the home...RECIPES"! Yeah Robert, recipes. His background, education and experiences could not lead him (DEC) to the promise land. Today our homes are full of computers. There has been a whole 20 year revolution in computing that saw bulky desktops, small form factors, laptops, tablets and now smartphones. Some of which had more processing power that the mini and mainframes offered by DEC at the time.

Sorry folks, but people like him believed in "corporate computing" for corporations that needed "big, powerful" computers. They can never envision something that Dell was doing. Also, MIchael Dell was much younger and of the generation that said, "why not"! Bassilie and Lazaridis (like Palmer) are too stuffy and don't think outside of the box enough to bring BB back. They represent the old blood and what BB needs is a transfusion. They need "blue jean" wearers and not "suit and ties". Younger, boundless energy to propel them into the future.

Just sayin!

Go BB!

Been there, done that. Being friends is not a good financial reason to do anything in fact usually its the wrong motivator.

FF is not taking this thing private nor with the CN Govt be very open anything apart from BB making it on their own.

If you want to see real change and better execution pray for Amazon to buy BB. They are the only Google like firm that has the money, skills, reach and savvy to pull it off.

Samsung is a device MFR not an ecosystem builder, full stop. BB needs a compete ecosystem retool not parts bin spec chasing owner who will just slap BB on a GS4 and say done.

... Mike's return to a capacity using his known talents to influence moving forward, not as CEO or other powerful position influencing the business model.

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If Mike comes back in any position of power, it is the end of BlackBerry as a company. What is needed is not old thoughts and ways but new. If BlackBerry goes private (which I don't see happening at the moment) then one of the first things to be done is new management from outside with fresh ideas and processes, out with the old (yes, including Heins).

Could anyone let me know how to start a thread.
Have joined Crackberry after buying a Z10 and still don't know how to start a threat/post...

BTW; the marketing guy is a Accounting guy and he failed miserably true,

But what about the hardware;
Poor PCB quality - heats up, reboots; battery drains amazingly fast;

why are we not focusing on that; why do we continue spending lavishly on supplier parties and unncessary travel of employees.
Who is going to work on these?

Cut down your cost BB and focus on indigenous hardware and software, Waterloo is the place to be and let the Canadian flag rule this technology in the world.

Consumer's want that "Proud" feeling of buying your products and investors want that "Belief" in the best technology company. Don't run yourself down.

Good call Chris.

I think it's time for Mike to get back to the frontline and help push the innovation in the company forward.

At the absolute minimum, the captain has the right to go down with his ship.

Perhaps in the MDM sphere like what you suggested but day to day? Aren't we in this because of them having their heads up their collective a**'s for two years? Apps aren't important... now look where we are...

10 days of BS speculation isn't doing BB any good,how are Z30 sales going to be affected by this?Back to school,Xmas around the corner,bad timing.Something has to happen fast.

Isn't this the "guy" who was in charge of RIM when the company took QNX over?
BlackBerry needs some love and for a while doesn't need to panic if they reach just the 2 or 3 % of market share. the most companies don't reach the 1.... LG it's around the 6 % with its actual third place.
I think this is the better option for the future.
take BlackBerry private, give it some love.

Yeah that would be cool to have him back. Maybe he'll be the one to turn it all around and come out on top, like Steve Jobs did haha

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This would be cool however I don't know Mike shares the same vision as the current CEO and we could see things going from bad to worst as he tries to fix the tarnish vision of BlackBerry.

Mike Laziridis, Prem Watsa and Thorsten Heins are on the same page.

If the corporation was taken private, I have no doubt Mr Heins would remain as CEO (his deal is probably designed to prevent him being released), and he would continue to keep the company as a single BlackBerry entity as at present.

And yes, Mike Laziridis would be on the board.

Looks to me as if that has been the Plan B position all the time assuming Plan A (BB10 being successful quickly) failed.

Chris, I don't even know what value there is in raising this as speculation.

Personally? I think Mike could add value to a newly-private BB, but the optics are horrible.

You know ,I was thinking about how Certicom could be the key to all this BB bashing going on for quite some time now.Imagine how all the credit card Co's would have to pay a Cdn,company a small piece of the pie that they would charge for user fees.Most credit card companys are owned by American banks,thus all the bashing from their affiliated analysts.Trillions of $ in transactions are done every year,think about it!!! Visa,Mastercard,American Express ,and countless others.

This is like the Jays bringing back Gibbons to manage. Doesn't work. BlackBerry needs new blood in the mix. They need a big player company that can show them the way. Mike not meeting Kevin speaks volumes of the old stuck up company. I give Mike full credit for creating BlackBerry . I also give him credit for destroying BlackBerry's name. He and his buddy's just don't get it. They're already moving backwards with launching old operating systems. This whole thing does not smell right?

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