As RIM announces Q4 2012 earnings, Jim Balsillie resigns from company's board

Jim Balsillie
By Bla1ze on 29 Mar 2012 04:48 pm EDT

As RIM rolls out Q4 2012 financial earnings, they've also gone ahead an announced some recent changes within the organization and ultimately their Board of Directors:

"As I complete my retirement from RIM, I'm grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success," said Jim Balsillie.

"On behalf of the Board and everyone at RIM, I would like to thank Jim for his 20 years of service to RIM," said Barb Stymiest, Chair of RIM's Board of Directors. "His energy, drive and enthusiasm helped build one of the most successful technology companies of our time."

In addition, David Yach will be retiring from his role as CTO, Software after 13 years with the Company and after 4 years with the company and following an open dialogue on the future of global operations, Jim Rowan, COO, Global Operations, has decided to pursue other interests. The Company is currently undertaking a search to hire a single COO with responsibilities to run the Company's operations.

"RIM would like to thank David Yach and Jim Rowan for their years of service and many contributions to RIM," said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. "We wish them well in their future pursuits."

Reader comments

As RIM announces Q4 2012 earnings, Jim Balsillie resigns from company's board


I like that Jim is gone. I blame him solely for the promises RIM made and weren't able to carry out.


After his "promises" over the past year, I now understand why the NHL resisted him becoming an owner for so long.

Apparently you don't understand the difference between a fiscal year and a calendar year. Please refrain from posting until you have such understanding.

Mike L IS RIM as far as I'm concerned. People like Jim B left people with a bad taste in their mouth as far as RIM is concerned. While Mike is retired, RIM is technically still his "baby" I'm sure!

Rumour has it Mike wanted Jim out earlier, but was persuaded by the board to keep him as a director.

Jim is responsible for the mess. And it sounds like they've taken charges against their accounts because of errors in judgement during his tenure.

The problem is that many senior managers are Jim appointees. That probably means they're as useless as he became.

For some reason I had a hunch Jim was out the door. He disappeared from the public eye well before Thor showed up. I think it was time for him to go

Now if you hear of a buy out or take over, it will be true. Should we have a poll to see who will own RIM by this time next year?

I personally don't like Jim (for some reason) I just think he's more on the business side of things and not much on the innovation side and same with Mike, I don't like them both. Mike seriously doesn't know how to innovate and they both brought RIM to where we are now. RIM needs new staff with better mobile experience and really know how to innovate tech. I'm happy thorsten done this, maybe the stock market will appreciate this decision and recognise RIM is changing and changing for the better. BB10 Is the future.

Mike is an engineer. He's an RF guy.

He's not responsible for the leaden response to market pressures.

RIM has continued to innovate hardware wise, they just haven't responded with software and marketing.

Guess what Apple is good at.

That exactly my point and don't get me wrong I love my BB os and hardware but the software has been let down time after time. The only thing I love about Apple is their amazing marketing skills! That's really what RIM needs atm

You must be American.

While I've been saying--for a while now--about Jim B making ridiculous comments and being the reason behind RIM's current position, people are only now being receptive of this and realizing it...

As for the American comment I made, I'm guessing that based on the fact you obviously think marketing is the be-all, end-all - that may be the case. That's totally a prediction, but it's based on my own assessment of which people say what things.

Being Canadian, I will actually say the whole "marketing" thing is North American to not single anyone out - better?

I live in the UK and I love RIM as a company and I love my blackberry. Whether BB was made by a american, canadian or british company it wouldn't matter but the way apple 'Lies' to their buyers saying the have the beyond perfect product seems to be working and that's how they have such high sales etc as for RIM they are a bit too modest and don't do that. I honestly cannot remember being on the road or watching TV and seeing a blackberry ad. Also I always hated Jim I just think he was poo

I think a lot of the lies and the BS are in the marketing though, and most people say RIM is lacking in marketing - which they are, but I fear of the extent of marketing they're expected to do. If it's being compared to the amount of Apple's marketing, I thoroughly disagree.

Jim always sucked. It was annoying to read thru his bullshit anytime he talked - he was only Mike's PR bitch, really, and now the company has to pay for it.

RIM, to me, is a subtle company. They have been very subtle in how much they market, but the marketing to me isn't necessarily commercials, but how much carriers push their devices (displays, promos, etc).

well...I don't blame everything on marketing, and I actually think RIM's fall is due only to a small part to its marketing and more to its lack of clear direction after the emergence of the smartphone market and not being able to deliver today's product today, but RIM marketing is beyond horrible...

when I look at their commercials, I have no idea how any of the functions/usage relates/apply to me. They have no marketing on whatever exclusive functions they had...and once they do, the other brands have all already gotten the same functions...

e.g., this commercial in Japan:

I think this is pretty much the pinnacle of badness...

And yet, if you compare recent RIM products with recent Apple and Android products, there really isn't that much difference in terms of the stuff 90% of us use.

And you can generally rely on RIM to make a radio connection if there's one available.

So why the negativity toward RIM?

Everything people believe about RIM and Apple is the result of a carefully orchestrated marketing effort on Apples part.

They don't just sell their own products. They try to make sure you don't buy the competition.

So much so the BlackBerry brand is effectively finished. RIM will have to reinvent or recreate a new brand to survive.

certainly, the 10% would be quite significant, being 10% lacking in functions would make a technology product very inferior to another...

automatic syncing is important, compatibility and cross devices apps are important, Motorola's new insane battery life is important (and has always been taken for granted before the introduction of 3G), Samsung's new s-pen line's convenience and integrating what users habitually uses (pen and writing) to the phone is important,

really we don't have to go in depth about the 10%, just any 1 single function would easily skew the entire market in favour of a brand...consumers obviously would want to buy a phone with 91% capability than one with 90%...

technology products are different because they are largely not necessities despite how we see them as one (poor people with no food will not spend the money on smartphones at all), and consumers are not extremely price-sensitive to technology products but are very function-sensitive.

Even not talking about those functions above that are actually useful to normal consumers, just by saying for example 2 handsets, one with stereo speakers costing 220 and one with a mono-speaker costing 199, and you will be stuck with them for 2 years...I think a lot of people would actually choose the one with stereo speakers despite the fact that it really matters to very few people

People pay not just for a phone, but for new technology...and RIM really failed on delivering the "new" part for the past 2 years or have to sell today's technology today not tomorrow just like how you have to sell milk well before their expired date...

And yet Apple managed to capture the market with a device with poor battery (and no replacable battery), no removable SD card, and poor call reception. They made sure of course, that even if this was mentioned in reviews, it was in the small print.

Apple showed you don't have to be the technical equal of another brand, you just have to differentiate and market well.

The battery life on my 9900 is great. I love the BlackBerry keyboard (I note you ignore that in favour of Samsungs "pen"). And the browser performance and email are the equal or better than most other devices. Plus I can make a call and text when many other devices cannot.

On top of that I have BBM and I know my data is secure.

The fact you focus on the 10% a BlackBerry may be missing over the 10% other devices are missing demonstrates you've bought into Apples message.

As have most of the rest of the population by the way.

I use a BB on weekdays...for the keyboard...

the other brands have virtual keyboard which are quite satisfactory supplements for people with less typing and would provide the same functions...

An iPhone is actually only slightly worse than 9900 in terms of battery...I don't understand how your 9900 could have great battery, maybe you don't connect to wifi or use it much...but that's why Motorola's new battery focused phone the RAZR MAXX stood out...because all smartphones are relatively poor in terms of battery life...

BB's browser performance is certainly not equal to most other devices, it is quite a bit slower and more clumpsy to both oses native browser, and the only browsers that BB7's native browser really does better are the other BB's native browsers before that. It's not even comparable both on scores and real life use.

Emails was certainly BB's strong point, but now it's really only because of the physical keyboard...

I certainly didn't mean to ignore the BB keyboard but while it is convenience for typing messages for me, the S-Pen provides additional functions from printing screen, annotating to scribbling and the keyboard doesn't really provide any additional function that a virtual keyboard can't do.

the iPhone users could also say they have iMessage which for obvious reason has a larger user base...

Since no one has really hacked into telephone network to hack into phones yet...Maybe you are theoretically more secured to any iPhone/android user but it hasn't made any difference...and very few people would require the level of security and it would only make a theoretical difference

Do you honestly believe the average consumer wants to swap their batteries or change SD cards? Sorry, they don't.

Before my HTC phone, I never worried about SD cards with Palm. Most folks just don't care.

That is well and truly my point no RIM commerical actually shows the right things about the phone its just pure incompetence the only ad that shows something is the new BB7 ads but i have only honestly seen that 2 times on TV compared to the iPhone 4S ad like 3 times a day

Marketing is the be all and end all. Look at Apple. They can make millions of people want Apple products and think they are better.
There are dozens of things that BBY does better than Android, Windows or Apple, but who is out there telling the masses?
Cellcom Empoloyee

For all of RIM's current issues I think saying "Mike seriously doesn't know how to innovate" is a slightly unfair comment on the guy who practically invented the smartphone industry.

He did and I appreciate that but when it comes to 'keeping up' with the likes of android and apple he didn't really deliver

To quote Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons, "Yo' Grandpa, the civil war is over."

The meaning? Stop living in the past and start living in the present while thinking about the future. I will grant you that he had (past tense) and was (past tense) influential and innovative within the smartphone industry.

That is utterly irrelevant as to what he did and has done for RIM in the present: Falling behind; Failing to recognize what consumers were demanding; Mocking competitors products when they were first released; Making asinine comments that insinuated that consumers would never want to watch videos, play games, or engage in other multimedia activities on their phone; Continuing to produce phones to which you can't store/run apps off a memory card; continuing to produce phones with limited memory during a time period when the cheapest child's toy had more memory than some Blackberry phones; failing to create an OS and efficient browser when it was clear from all market researchers that consumers would no longer put up with "text-based browsers" and archaic operating systems; failing to even figure out if the name of the next os is copyrighted.

Again, I respect him from what he brought and did for RIM historically. But business is not kind: he was the wrong person to lead RIM in the present. The fact that he is leaving, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing.

I'm not so sure they got rid of the right people.

David Yach was with the company when it grew exponentially. It's mangement brought in during the past few years that are the problem.

RIM used to release new product regularly. They're too fat and lazy to do that now.

They've gone from being a dynamic company that could respond to market pressure, into an overweight, top heavy, process oriented heart attack victim.

So, change is failing?

Getting new blood in and letting people that are no longer necessary to the core business is failing?

Taking responsibility for the bad decisions and acting to stop the bleeding is failing?

Ok... ¬¬

Check Steve Jobs biography.

Bozos tend to hire other bozos.

They need clearing out before you can move on. And so far all they've done is get rid of people who were with them from the start.

It's the newer folks that have take a company with a 50% margin on sales and turned it into one with a 30% margin.

That cost wasn't generated in earlier years. Only in the last few years have they become "process oriented".

Try not to be so blinded by the fact that you want RIM to succeed. Trust me, I want to believe the company I've loved since the age of 13 is not dying so fast, but be real. Any business expert will tell you, when the people with these type of positions start "retiring" its a sign that things are about to go bad, very bad. On a brighter side, they say its darkest before dawn, so I'll watch and see what happen in the next ten years. But trust I will not be throwing any money at RIM in the near future.

Can you imagine how quick Jim's demise was? I mean, he bought the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then he said he was going to move them to Ontario. That was the exact moment the bubble burst. I sort of feel bad for him. If he wasn't so damn rich.

He's not anywhere near as rich as he was.

Hope for his sake he got some cash out before the drop.

...Im Glad Mike & Jim are now retired, they were responsible on not taking serious about the US Market. Now RIM is trying to reclaim the US trust.. However they did bring some good thing to RIM. only problem was the Market is too fast for them and they can't play catch.. Really looking forward for BB10..

He helped bring RIM to inceptional success and then helped bring RIM towards possible extinction.

Thank you I guess?

Greed is good... For him I suppose.

I've spoken to RIM employees and nothing hurts them most than the severe delays they keep experiencing. I hope this helps put them back on the right track and cuts down the drama and focusses on the brilliant devices they're due to put out ...soon ;)

It's funny - as soon as Thor took over, everyone was disappointed that no one was booted right away. Now that Thor has seen what is REALLY going on, he's started to effect change. Now everyone is complaining.

It's the perfect time for change. Just in time to right the ship for BB10.

Can't wait for the upcoming announcement on the new CMO.

Isn't this a bigger story:

Sad, very sad. Let's hope they can cut there losses and get their act together. A viable Blackberry will mean more and faster improvements in Windows, Android and Apple.
Let alone the simple FACT. Blackberries are more reliable, stable and have the best email system. Period, full stop.
But has Blackberry spent 5¢ trying to show this to others or did they cede all marketing to their compost pile?

Cellcom Empoloyee



(That MS is Microsoft by the way if you still haven't got it).

Shock horror. Microsoft says RIM is giving up on up on consumers.

No wonder RIM's brand is defunct. No one in North America has the smarts to realize they're being conned.

I've heard many accounts that Jim is a dick, the NHL wanted nothing to do with him as well.

This is a good thing.

I can really see RIM being bought out now..its only a matter of time. Or at least they will license out BB10 to other manufacturers like Samsung. Most likely Samsung will buy them out and crank out BB10 devices.

A lot of die hard BB fans are putting their faith in BB10 but its not going to make a difference if developers don't get on board..just look at the Playbook. If the Playbook did really well and consumers changed their thinking and liked the idea of a qnx-based OS on a phone, then I can see BB10 phone doing well. Unfortunately, Playbook hype isn't where it should be (except on this site) and BB10 phones will be a miniaturized version of the Playbook....lots of potential but little to no developer support. As a BB user, how is BB10 really going to be any different from my current Bold 9900 experience (except maybe for a much better browser)? I'm already experiencing lots of minor bugs and inconsistencies with the OS2.0 update that I'm already cringing at the thought of what a qnx-running BB is going to be like. Plus they still have to get BBM to run on qnx.

I really believe RIM needs to pour money into Netflix, Skype, Amazon and other "essential" service companies to build supported apps for BB10 if they want to remain in the North American market. If RIM's strategy is to saturate the Asian and developing world markets, they will be able to stall their downward spiral but not for long.

Licensing BB10 maybe?

Bought out? Why? What use are they to anyone? There's no point, and after todays performance I imagine only the current board will be buying shares.

BB10 will do ok developer wise (although a poor relation at first), because it supports HTML5 apps. And they'll run on pretty well anything out there if you write them with Phonegap or a similar tool.

I can assure you that Samsung would not have the slightest interest in either.

The reports in the States are just biased and misunderstands the intention of Samsung. They keep saying Samsung's own os failed so they may consider adopting BB (which makes no sense anyway whatsoever since there's really no point in increasing costs in have another product with a different os), but Samsung developed their own os not because of sales, it's mostly because they wanted a Korean os or more suitably worded, an os developed by Korean.

As for the Asian market, RIM accounts for an extremely small share in the Asian market despite all these constant reports of them doing well and growing. Yes RIM does well in India, but RIM is virtually nonexistent now in China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, and while there's no hard figures yet, I can clearly see iPhones popping up much more often in Indonesia than last year...RIM is not doing well in Asia, it's doing well in India and good but declining in Indonesia...but for most parts of Asia, RIM's presence is virtually gone. I don't know how the reports in the States come up with these wonderful figures...maybe it's purely because India has a huge population and all statistics were done before iPhone was even known in Indonesia..but this certainly does not reflect the truth (well not the current situation at least)

RIM is in grave trouble...much more serious than what's being depicted in the reports...You can find BB in UK, you can find BB in India, and that's it.

C'mon Jack....."grave trouble"???? Needs focus, needs streamlining, needs better marketing. Name me a company that's been around for ten years that hasn't gone through this (including your beloved Apple, not once, but TWICE!!)

When they start racking up huge debt and have burnt through all their cash and can no longer raise capital in the equity or debt markets and have negative cash flow, then I think we can agree that the situation is grave.

Is it all sunshine and roses? Of course not, but I think that RIM recognizes (finally) that it needs to get its act together. Give them a chance to execute some of what they've started under Thor before you tar and feather them again.

Ay even with everything that is happening and all that has been said about him, thanks jim. You did some great things. You WILL be missed even though the feeling on the comments seems to be negative. I couldn't imagine leaving a company that I helped build up..

"As I complete my retirement with RIM......."
What the hell does that mean, I started retirement while I was still at RIM I just didn't leave the building. Geez that's the kind of work I want. Hang around all day doing squat and when you get caught tell everyone your retired.

Jim is a salesman, was a salesman. He was put into a position he wasn't even close to qualified for. Nobody anticipated when Jim was put on the board, that RIM would explode the way it did. He didn't have the background or experience to manage the strategy for a multibillion $$ corporation. His used-car sales techniques of promising what he couldn't deliver finally brought him (and unfortunately the company) down. This is the best thing that ever happened to RIM.

Im a long time BB fan that converted to Android 5 months ago. Sorry but I find new stuff to enjoy on my Android everyday where as I never found anything new on my BB any day. Promises... promises I gave up on dreams when the tooth fairy didn't show up 20 years ago. RIM is now saying they are going back to business and not every day consumers so guess what.... a website like Crackbery are going to get screwed and your average every day users are screwed too. Stick a fork in RIM... turn them over.... they are still burnt, dry and nobody wants a bite out of them. Kevin you did a hell of a job with this site which I enjoyed for years but the end is near....sorry to say. Enjoy finding a new job soon.

RIM should have hired you and a few choice other BB fanatics a long time ago but that hasn't happened. Sorry about that we would have loved to seen it happen but it didn't. Great site bro... good luck!

Good to see Jim finally gone. He was great when the company was growing, but he personified the arrogance that plagued RIM for the past several years. Great that we'll never hear "60 days email" or "leapfrogging" any more. Much prefer the no non-sense approach of Thorsten Heins.

There will still be plenty of non-sense. The next BB10 phone isn't showing up to the consumer until September... and it's RIM so it may be December. By then I've already swapped my Galaxy S2 for an S3. That's two phones in less then a year... call me a sucker but I'll be happy buying two phones in less than a year for new features as opposed to the same phone I drooled over for over 2 years and got nothing new. I'm just saying.

Well I think this settles it. I'm getting a new phone /contract in the next little while. I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm gonna give Android a try (although I might still give iPhone a shot).

You see, I've worked for a few small businesses over the years... and a couple of them I left just a few months before they closed their doors. I left because I wasn't comfortable -- something about the way business was being run didn't sit right with me. Something was wrong and I knew it.

I have that same sort of feeling from RIM (nope, don't work there, only owned some of their product). It just doesn't feel right. I hope I'm wrong. I hope BB10 is so awesome that even though I've got the best Android (or iPhone) I can get -- I'm still Jealous of BB10. I hope it's amazing...

But the fact of the matter is, contracts in Canada are 3 years. I hope that in those 3 years RIM takes off, gets stable, and grabs a big piece of market share. Bur if they don't -- I'd be stuck with LAST YEAR'S top BB (9900) for 3 years -- without any support other then this website.

I'm sorry... I can't buy new devices whenever I want. When I choose a device with my contract it has to last the full term. I have to be smart with what I choose. All I know is that when those 3 years are up, RIM will either be a force to be reckoned with.... or they'll be yet another company on the side of the road called "progress"

Enterprise had always been RIM's focus until they released the poorly named PlayBook, thinking that they could capture the consumer market when Apple has already had many people under its iCharm for a year.

People in enterprise are a curious bunch. Some companies still run Windows XP. The bigger the company, the more it wants to use what is working and less likely to jump onto the latest fads.

Given this observation, the recent move by some companies to iDevices is probably not because of better enterprise support by iStuff. It's probably because the corporate execs want better toys and then they ask the IT staff to support them. (I know one company, which will be remain unnamed, for which this is true.)

RIM isn't dead. But it will be if BB10 turns out to be a flop.

Buh Bye Jim.....although a little too late. The ship is barely afloat and the captain that ran it aground is on the first lifeboat off to safety. Hope you put some cash away buddy boy. You screwed this one up. Another company that got large and did not continue to innovate and now is left in tatters along the wayside. Hope Thorsten has an idea to generate some revenue without relying soley on BB10. I don't see this as the future of success.