Former RIM employee Mike Kirkup speaks about RIM, their current issues and what it all means to the Waterloo community

By Bla1ze on 30 Jul 2012 10:09 am EDT

Mike Kirkup, former Senior Director of Developer Relations at RIM has long since left the company and moved onto becoming the Director of Student Innovation at the University of Waterloo's Velocity program. As you can derive from the title, that means he's still involved within the Waterloo region and gets to see how RIM's current situation is impacting the area around him. Taking to CTV's Canada AM today, Mike got to speak about RIM, their current issues and what it all means to the Waterloo community as a whole.

Personally, I've always held some emotion for those who seem to actually want RIM to fail, never looking at the situation as a whole. If RIM for whatever reason fails, it's not a good thing for anyone. Many people across the globe will be affected. It was nice to see someone else actually address that fact to a broader audience rather than just placing a Canadian perspective on it.

Source: CTV

Reader comments

Former RIM employee Mike Kirkup speaks about RIM, their current issues and what it all means to the Waterloo community


I like how Mike points out how RIM contributes to the community. If RIM were to fail, the City of Waterloo would start to crumble. I am a graduate of the University of Waterloo and I know how much RIM has helped to make this community and city known in Canada and the world. If you personally want to see the change, just travel to south Waterloo (almost north Kitchener) and then to the University of Waterloo area and you will see first hand how the two areas are vastly different.

Couldn't disagree more with the above post. While RIM is one of the major players in Waterloo, they are by no means the only one.

U Waterloo continues to push out entrepreneurs so there will be new companies in Waterloo. For example, the Pebble watch, which set Kickstarter records is teh product of a U Waterloo grad:

KiK messenger is also from U Waterloo, specifically the Velocity program that Kirkup is now associated with:

Finally, Kitchener (just south of Waterloo) is now doing *very well*. It must be a while since the above poster lived in K-W

Google is in Kitchener:

and Facebook is coming to Kitchener.

But without the involvement/investments/donations from RIM, would these start-ups and entrepreneurs have had the chance they have had?

Absolutely! RIM is definitely has its presence with its many buildings especially along Phillip Street. RIM employees and their nametags are always a common scene especially during lunch time!

Not just Canada, RIM has support of emerging markets. Matter of time till BB10 hits the market. RIMPIRE will strike back.

@veeru789 (and also some of the BlackBerry lovers out there).

Surely I'm not the only one to think the whole 'Rimpire strikes back' phrase is totally stupid. Yes, the Empire did strike back, but then it lost out in the final instalment, Revenge of the Jedi. Remember that?

Then there's the small matter of the Empire being evil.

And then there's the whole 'Rimming' Rimpire syntax...which is an adult conversation for another day.

Personally my favourite parody of late of evil Apple has been the Apple Death Star
...thereby making my case of let them be the evil Empire!

Big picture though RIM would do well to unify the brand and company under BlackBerry. Plus it would still be consistent with the whole BB10 OS numbering convention.

Meantime I hope they get the boot up time to improve on the Dev alpha devices because it is truly frikkin aweful! Otherwise the first video review unboxing will start with a fat fail.

Dear BlackBerry, Good isn't good enough. It's time for greatness.

Whilst your on the subject of Star Wars and RIMpire etc, you also have to remember that the Empires Stormtroopers wore glossy white and Luke wore black.

i doubt people will care how the fall of RIM would impact other people. most people don't give a crap about the person next to them even if that person is in a direct relationship with them.

most are going to say "let RIM burn better look for a job now"

It is a sad state our world is in when people (aka trolls) proclaim how they want RIM to go out of business. People losing their jobs and struggling to feed their families isn't something ANYONE should wish for..even on your worse enemy. All I say to those people is "karma is a B*TCH!!".

agreed but look whats happenign in the US with their bit of hard time and people struggling to find work. i'm canadian and i found myself otu of work for 3 months before we got busy again. seemed that our market was afraid the same thing would happen here and not many wanted to start new projects and have the funds cut off.

as for the karma's a bitch its true, look what happened to RIM i'm sure the same thing will happen to apple, the mentality of controllign the market and thinking consumers will always buy our products even if they do not change.

I think RIM is waiting for the stock markets to crash, this way they won't have to worry anymore its share holders. Think of it what the world will be like without money! :)

Loyalty has been removed from society. If the company you work for identifies you by a number and behaves as if a monkey can do your job, you are expendable and deserve no loyalty. Therefore the employee shows no loyalty to the company, only a paycheck.

It's silly separating Kitchener and Waterloo. The two cities are so close you can't tell where one finishes and the other starts not to mention that they're within the same metropolitan area "The Region of Waterloo".

And the regions well-being is only partly linked to RIM. With a population of around 500,000 losing 5,000 jobs is painful but not catastrophic.

On a different point it's a real pity RIM let Mike Kirkup go - and a strategic mistake in terms of developer relations.

There was a vote two years ago to see if kitchener and waterloo should join to be one city. Kitchener wanted to waterloo didnt want to. Waterloo was on their high horse back then. Now look whos crawling back.

"former Senior Director of Developer Relations at RIM "?
So he formed the core of people who failed to see the signs whilst RIM lagged behind the apps race? For a while RIM was despised for not listening to its developers until the work to turn things around became this big?
Learned and as experienced as he is I'm afraid his opinion is one to run away from.

How do you feel about Heins? He ran the hardware division that couldn't get products out in time. When they shipped, they had outdated components and lousy performance, with some models (I'm looking at you Storm!) being almost unusable. And the RIM fanbois kiss his butt all day long. So, why not listen to Kirkup's opinion?

People wishing for the demise of RIM/BB show they don't think about the overall picture of a business going under and the thousands of lives impacted. They should be ashamed of themselves. Society is better when everyone prospers; competition is good.

We do. Unfortunately Ron Paul scares the crap out of every other republican politician because he actually means what he says. Because of this they call him and anybody who supports him a lunatic.

Well I think this post is rather nonsense and Mike K is full of it. Before I get flamed and get called a Troll that wishes RIM dead let me explain myself ( as a past BB user and supporter I still want Rim to survive and prosper). However.

1) Mike K can stop the sob story. He really thinks so highly of Rim that he knew Rim most likely will tank and he jumped ship to greener pastures. What a hypocritical ass.

2) Point the blame on Rim for their possible demise that will effect a lot of people, By being lazy, and letting their competition eat their market share up. By constantly lying to their costumers and delaying countless products over and over releasing them quite late. Releasing incomplete products like the PB and waiting almost 18 months now for full functionality with delayed upgrades. WHAT you expect the consumer and the media to say everything is roses. NO this is all on Rim.

3)The current board members and past dont give a rats ass about you the consumer, their employees or the community they have factories or offices in. How can I make such a statement. Although, Jim and Mike gave generously to charities and to the tri city area, while loosing quite a bit of their money when Rim began to tank. They left the company in shambles with hundreds of millions of dollars in their pockets laughing. They are set for life and dont care what happens to Rim. Hiens is making 13 million a year while the true people behind every success of RIM in the past and future get peanuts, and to top it off him and his board fire 5000 people to balance the books. But heavens for bid they take a pay cut or get rid of upper management. Shows they really care about their people or their communities.

4)The tri cities of Cambridge Waterloo Kichener will survive if Rim goes under, it will sting for a few years but they will move on and build other great companies. The Tri cities is one of the tech meccas of Canada, Rim is a drop in the bucket.

So please stop saying its the media's fault and trolls want Rim dead, they did this to themselves and deserve what ever they get. You reep what you sow. People loose jobs everyday and communities loose companies on a yearly bases but overcome and move on. that is life.

So this guy was Senior Director of Developer relations at RIM?!

I'd say he's one of those who have helped drive RIM to their knees. Where are the apps?!

RIMM, REAM if you are a shareholder is not going out of business. Yes, they have failed to deliver for years. Yes, they were arrogant and missed the market. Blah, blah, blah. The tide has come in and shareholder value was washed out but the tide is turning and the very bright and creative people of the Waterloo community will make RIMM, a global technology company with unprecedented assets, grow again. Governments, Enterprise, Consumers and Carriers around the world depend on RIMM security and BBM. BYOD is turning into Bring Your Own Disaster and Mobile Fusion is in the cat bird seat. If that solution takes off how many jobs will that create? We are perhaps six months from launching a new mobile platform. Although I am an APPL guy for 15 years and own a ton of APPL products I am typing this on my PlayBook which kicks my iPads ass and I can't wait to toss my dainty piece of crap iPhone in the trash and upgrade to BB10. I also have a Bold 9900 and much prefer the solid feel but use the iPhone for MS Exchange issues and large touch screen. Now if I can be converted, how many former CrackBerry users do you think can FALL BACK IN LOVE with BlackBerry. So what if BB10 is hot and takes off, how many jobs will that create? This new team is analyzing the situation, they have two top shelf Investment Bankers on the case, unencumbered assets, insider is doubling down. They will slim down, manage the cash flow until launch and focus on their growth opportunities managing mobile devises securely and new product portfolio. If those investments payoff then we could be off to the races again. How many jobs will that create? If they do a deal in the meantime to leverage their patent portfolio, or read estate assets I hope they do a massive buyback, take out more public float and hammer the shorts. Imho after they right size they could be a growth company again from a much smaller base.

I have 2 apps on my phone.
1 is the weather .... one is for stocks.
I want great BATTERY life.

I also have an iPod which is 2 years old. After 45 minutes of use .... I need to plug it in for a charge. What a shame.

We have to get the trolls and naysayers regulated on here!

RIM isn't failing or dying, I don't give a fuck about apps, not many want 5000000000000 apps, a majority will only be using 10 at most, the rest just sit there, or get deleted.

Just LAY OFF THE TROLLING. It's a bad addiction.