RIM in transition, not in a crisis

By Bla1ze on 3 Jul 2012 01:00 pm EDT

Continuing the media blitz today, Andrew MacLeod, managing director for RIM Canada took to the CBC to answer questions surrounding RIM, their current situation and their future. A lot of what was said was just simply reiterations of what RIM CEO Thorsten Heins had to say previously but there is a few pressing questions in the interview that I'm sure many will find interesting especially, when it comes to how they're addressed. Also, couldn't help but notice how the interviewer sounded as though she had no idea what BlackBerry 10 was as she kept referring to it as "the BlackBerry 10".

Reader comments

RIM in transition, not in a crisis


She, actually, conducted a pretty good interview. However, she "choked" when speaking about BB 10 delay by not asking...

"When did upper management know that BB 10 would be pushed to 2013 and what responsibility do you take for not letting your shareholders know about this earlier, so that, they could have stemmed some of the hemmorage in losses, due to, blindsiding them with this delay"?

Now that would have been a good question....

That's not fair. Now you're asking media to be knowledgeable about the subject matter that they're discussing/reporting? :)

"Now you're asking media to be knowledgeable about the subject matter that they're discussing/reporting?"

really? so you're saying that it's ok media reporting things that they don't know and we should believe what they said?
i'm in media you know, from my own experience you will be in deep trouble if you don't know what you're saying. you can try working in media if you think i'm lying.

"....blindsiding them with this delay". - sure buddy. Are you just pissed because Thorsten didn't call you personally before making the announcement that BB10 was delayed? I know being told 3+ months in advance that something wouldn't be available in a general time period is what I would call being "blindsided"... /end sarcasm

...and to some extent they have some leeway there. It's a competitive secret. It's also a 1 quarter push-back; not like it's another year.

In a forum thread, a writer claimed she was starting to hear about the delay in the first half of June; if it was only a couple of weeks between the decision and the announcement with the earnings call, I can live with that.

The thing that DID upset me was that there really should have been more notice on just how bad the quarterly loss would be.

yeah, in transition from the top of the world to a graveyard.

It was a great company with great ideas, but thanks to the dual stupidity its not anymore.
Its called evolution. if you don't evolve, you starve and die.
like I've always said, its better when you jump off the ship while is still @ float than when you need to swim away.
I used to have quite a few shares on that company until a couple of months ago. Its great to know someone inside is finally thinking on changes, but i also think is too late now. both I-suck and android are swimming away and don't think rim will be able to catch them up in the near future.

I don't agree with you. BB10/QNX has greater potential than both iOS and Android. Even if BB10 is a few months late, I think a lot of people are waiting for it. There are many people who don't want iOS or Android.

Potential is irrelevant if the product never actually sees the light of day. And while I recognize that there are "hints" of what might be within the existing Playbook architecture; the Playbook hasn't exactly been living up to its potential now has it.

As to people waiting for it - umm, with all due respect, have you seen the uproar and outright hatred that occurred last week on these forums, other forums, internet sites, radio call-in shows, twitter and elsewhere whereby even some of the most delusional (or optimistic as what certain people here insist on using) of fans are saying enough is enough. There might indeed be people waiting for it, but their numbers were small to begin with and are only decreasing - not increasing - as a result of the delay.

Where I do agree with you, quite strongly I might add, is that there are people who don't want iOS nor Android. But I suspect, again going by what you see happening on various discussion forums online, that its not BB10 that is attracting their attention; it's the new Windows software.

The Playbook hasn't sold well, no, and I'd put the responsibility for that on a comically mismanaged launch that was bad enough to pretty much wipe out Blackberry's "brand equity" for many users.

The device itself is solid, though. Just because RIM doesn't know how to sell it doesn't make it a bad device.

don't get me wrong, I think bb10 is still ahead of its competitors, but by the time it gets out the oven, it'll be late as competitors will release something better, nicer and innovative. Thai is where the big problem people don't see, so by the time bb10 is out, it will be (as it has always been) the outdated system

I disagree because Apple will be afraid of adding many new features which may confuse people and Google just rolled out ICS which was their big UI push. I have a feeling the next iteration is just going to be everyone polishing their current UI and the such. I may however be wrong...

I completely agree! If a person is smart enough to absorb this entire year and the set-backs this company has had,.. they will recognize that all companies go through a period like this. A major postion change just not a tweak here and there. RIM has decided to hold onto there future not just a few people. Its planning to walk it out not, not run and wear out. Im waiting for the new platform and device, I beleive it will cause the set-back to the OS's out there and cause them to rethink. Dont just settle is!!

I can't use either of the other devices that are on the market, inferior for what I do! RIM,.. I beleive has made a very smart decision. We will see the next "SMARTER PHONE" NOT JUST A TOY!!

I have followed BlackBerry for the past 8 years and worked for RIM for a while until last summer (one of 2000 let go). RIM was a fair employer and will continue to be. I was let go and treated fair and square. I landed on my current job before my severance package dry. And most of my colleagues and friends still have respect to this company. We wish and want it to be successful. I owned BB various devices and am still using BB9930 and PB64GB. I purchased 10 PBs last year for my friends and family. I don’t own iPhone and Driod. The reason for me to leave my 1st post on CB is probably due to the post was submitted by Thorsten Heins. You may call myself blind loyal to BB. That’s what a good fan does, particularly the company needs us now more than ever.

Here are the things I think RIM owns a right to prove to us they can turn around the ship at current situation.

1- NEW leadership. Now, except CIO and CFO, C-level leadership has been in place. This will bring much clarity to direction the company is heading, both internally and externally. Thor is a great CEO no matter if he stays in RIM or his future endeavor, his reachable style and determination will be approved by time.
2- Security is still a clear differentiator to competition, and qwerty keyboard
3- Brand equity outside US is still fairly strong
4- Current cash reservation so far seems enough until new device starts to generate sales
5- RIM needs quick win and long term confidence to the marketplace. Negative media is killing them. As BB fans, we need to give our support. I think if RIM should consider to promote heavily on trade up program, allow consumers to trade OS3/4/5/6 to latest OS7 by various franchise, old bold to 9900/9930, old curve to latest curve etc; and promise this loyalty program will continue to work for OS10 but it has to trade up from OS7, by doing so, this will give RIM a good user base ready to use OS10 after 6-9 months use on OS7. This may give them some quick win. Let RIM partners bring some positive spin.
6- Competition is tough, especially with those from the largest corporate from the world. Alliance and partnership is much needed. It’s give and take. Truly hope RIM can pull this off.

I am sorry if you have read it in a different post. I promise this is the last one I re-post. Thanks

Hi Spin83..

I guess we are telling two sides of the story. Unless you can indulge me by let me know "where I am off"?

I also own RIM stocks. I guess, as investors, we express our opinions differently. IF RIMM lies and deceives to make you made false investment, there is always a legal way to deal with it, instead of keep bashing it, it may just keep lowering your investment money.

Bbtop: It's good to hear a point of view from someone with insider knowledge.

I am also a shareholder, and I want very much to believe in the strengths you listed in your post above. I do think things have changed, but RIM needs to do something dramatic soon to stimulate sales and build the subscriber-base.

They can't sit with the appearance of being dead in the water for the next 9 months.

Bbop - my "apologies"... I re read your post and you are correct on every front. Trouble is, everything you have said has gotten RIMM to the horrendous spot it is in right now. It is a recipe for continued failure with missed deadlines, inferior products and CEOs continuing to lie to its shareholders. Not very "promising", eh?

Thanks Spin83..

Being nice is not a recipe to be failure. Being arrogant is! when RIM was in good days and they were arrogant (no blames by then ), now they are tanking, every move they made is wrong? I don't think so.

I think RIM is working, and working very hard! It is what it is, if they fate to die after a hard fight, I will be with them until the last second. Don't know if you read Nokia CEO regret their decision to adopt WP8. Nobody like RIM's current situation, but they could be even in much worse spot if they give up what they are.

Btw, it's BBtop, just like ZZtop. Thanks spin83..

Bbtop, welcome to CrackBerry! Your comments are some of the best one I have seen in weeks.

But here is the problem: Joe public consumer and BB user have lost confidence in RIM due to missed releases and failed product launches. Checkout the latest poll done on this Site, only about 41% of current users plan to upgrade to a new BlackBerry! Media is not helping. Bad momentum can lead to self-fulfilling predicament.


In case you missed this "reality check"....

Mr. Heins

Here's the problem. Having been an investor in RIMM for years and having owned nothing but BlackBerrys for, nearly a decade, the issue with the company is now one of INTEGRITY.

We have listened to earnings calls for a few years now commandiered by Mssrs. Balsille and Lazaridis and have been misinformed at, nearly, every turn. Statements from CEO's like "new features on upcoming phones will blow you away", " we are going to leapfrog the competition", and "thousands fo companies are looking to buy the Playbook" were either exaggerations, delusions or flat out LIES.

Fast forward to the earnings call of last week. With the delay of BB 10 until next year - THOR JUST MORPHED INTO BALSILLE.. in doing so, he lost all respect and credibility in my mind. They did a pre warning on the quarter's earnings - why not mention it then - why not mention it at last quarter's eanings call??? Bottom line THEY KNEW BB 10 WOULD BE DELAYED LONG BEFORE LAST WEEK... RIMM has become a company, whereas, as an investor - just when you think you are getting a handle on all of the bad news - THEY DROP ANOTHER BOMB ON YOU.

This is irresponsible leadership and the company can no longer be trusted. When they gave Balsille and Laz another $12 million bucks, it should have been apparent that Thor , and this board of directors, are shills for the past Co CEO's.

The latest conference call mirrored the last conference call, almost, word for word - could have used the same teleprompter. When the stock was 'HALTED" , you just knew that a brand new can of "RIMM WHIP ASS" was about to be showered down on the RIMM faithful investors. Pathetic.

With the launch of BB 10, supposedly, Q1 of next year - that means that it will be, at least, launched Q2 at ATT because their verification process is death slow here in the U.S. historically.

If you think that I am just a "RIMM Basher" - check out my ID. Those are the BlackBerry products that I have owned, concurrently, over nearly a decade.

In conclusion, someone at RIMM should probably figure out that why a guy like me who has owned 7 BB phones and a Playbook is going to ATT on July 6th to buy a Galaxy S3 because I am so disgusted with losing money on RIMM stock, the deception that has caused this loss and the "final blow" of moving the launch of BB 10, for all intents and purposes to, to this time next year in the States.

Like Hillary once said Barry.... "Shame on you, RIMM Management".

Uncle Freddy

Apparently, you think I'm disillusioned about the challenges RIM is facing. I'm not, lol. RIM has massive issues ATM and I've said that time and time again. In case you missed it, the title is from the video not my personal thoughts.

Uhh. I dunno how you got that from what I said.. I agreed with you, RIM is f00ked up atm. Try reading before jumping to respond with hate. I even said RIM has massive issues.. smh.

Blaize - no "hate", Bro. I friggin reposted your quote... go ask someone else to read this and have them explain to you what you wrote.... No hate....Glad to hear you think RIMM is "fooked up" and pushing out of BB 10 was an incredible blow to Thor's street cred, as far as, I am concerned... They knew this, earlier, and made no mention of it in the 'earnings preannouncement nightmare' or at anytime prior... not good.... rather "Balsille like"...didn't Jim just get another $8mil for his "leadership the past few years"???

We're good Blaize... thanks..

There are many law firms that deal in shareholder lawsuits. Rather than complaining on this forum, you may find more satisfaction getting one of the law firms to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of shareholders. Depending upon the relative securities laws in either the US or Canada, wherever you may hold your shares, a shareholder lawsuit may be your best course of action moving forward. Obviously there is no guarantee of success, but I have no doubt there is a law firm out there who would be willing to take this case. Best of luck.

Taking half of B1aze's quote and adding your own interpretation (which of course does not make a lick of sense to what he actually said) is just hilarious. I believe that anyone that reads through this, as you offer them to in a below post, would not side with you in the least.

I am starting to think you have an agenda on here instead of actual insight or common sense. you sound more like a 10yr old bitching because you aren't getting what you want, when you want it, and in turn, are now throwing a hissy fit on every blog becase RIM has finally started to defend itself.

How would you have felt if you got your BB10 device in October and it was an incomplete OS? give it a rest man. At least they owned up to it, admitted the delay sucks, but want to make sure the product is released completely and has no holes.

The previous regime would have never stepped up this early, taken action and admitted the delay. This makes your comparison of The new CEO and previous CEO's absolutely ridiculous and without basis.

we're good bro!

You sound like a share holder. In which case, my commiserations.

You don't turn around the mess RIM was in overnight.

Unfortunately they made an absolute disaster of managing the transition from BB7 to a QNX based system.

They've over promised and under delivered on a massive scale.

But that wasn't Thorsten Heins. It was Jim Balsillie mainly.

If you check the previously leaked roadmaps you'll see BB10 was supposed to be out at the beginning of 2012.

They recently got rid of their platform guy (in the last two or three weeks), so my guess is the delay is almost as much news to Heins as it is to us.

Give the guy a chance. Who knows you may even get your money back.

BR - that's all "fine and dandy", but you can either trust me or go back and look at the Jan 2012 earnings call when Thorsten Balsille said something to the effect that "I have seen BB 10 and spoken with the engineers and I am impressed and we will launch last quarter of 2012".... That was 6 MONTHS AGO....

Respectfully, that doesn't jive with your assertion that "so my guess is the delay is almost as much news to Heins as it is to us"...

Look at my ID - those are BlackBerrys that I have owned, owned stock, and listened to every earnings call... Trust me...It's more of the same BS from the Top Dawg at RIMM... year after year...

They can give me free phones - they would have to give me thousands to make up for RIMM stock losses due to LIES..

I think you're bitter, and not without reason.

On the balance, Heins has done things very differently than the former co-CEOs did. Last week they announced a 1-quarter pushback. I wasn't happy with that, nor with the loss (I'm still a shareholder too and down about half my investment now). I know how I felt on Friday, and I can understand some skepticism.

That's tempered a bit now. RIM still has cash flow, still has it's services revenue, and even if BB10 never launches, could go on for years if they succeed with their cost-cutting.

I also believe that if that Q1 launch wasn't a firm target that we would have been hearing about RIM's wonderful new strategic partner Microsoft on the conference call last week.

I continue to believe that they have the talent and the resources to pull this off. That doesn't mean I believe they'll actually succeed, and it doesn't mean I take for granted how the market will receive the result, but I still see the possibility.

bla bla bla

I judge them based on their ability to bring a quality piece of hardware with top-notch specs, running quality software, finished and in the hands of customers

With RIM it is difficult to not have a bit of Schadenfreude . Shameful yes. But still I can't escape the feeling it is justified. Perhaps I am just a bad person.

PS notice they completely failed to mention that even though several BB7 devices have already been EOL al over the world, the native BB7 thememaker - Promised by mid 2012 - is not ready. How many times did we here mid-2012. Early summer at best. It's July. Not even a word. But - yeah, I believe RIM is just transitioning to a new and improved corporate model. Evidence? - share price? - no. Sales? - no? Marketing? - no. Meeting deadlines? - no. Honesty? - no. Openess? - no. Quickly adress media when things hit the fan? - check.

Exactly. Stringing us along about the Theme Maker doesn't exactly instill confidence. Neither does a massive layoff when there is so much work to do in so little time.

"Too little; Too late" seems to be the new motto.

As RIM floats aimlessly (with no significant new products - not even a 9900 refresh) for another 9 months (or more), Apple, Google, and Microsoft will have another round of even better technology on the market.

Sadly, BB OS 10 is looking like it is following the path of other great ideas that floundered because they were delayed so long that they were obsolete at launch (e.g., WebOS and the Touch Pad).

The problem is that they've been saying all this for years now. We've been hearing the word transition for well over a year, and now they're just throwing in the word platform. We are probably at least another 9 months from the transition being completed, and that's making the big assumption they won't push back BB10 yet again and I have no faith in them hitting Q1. RIM is saying absolutely nothing that we haven't heard on at least the last four conference calls. Quite simply RIM needs to shut up and put up! No more excuses, no more buzzword bingo doublespeak, no more promises. Product available is all anyone cares about now. The message from RIM is always the same and that is "It's coming"!

We all love blackberry or we wouldnt be here but lets be honest here enough excuses for substandard devices.

Very Very well said with Great emphasis on.....

Quite simply RIM needs to shut up and put up! No more excuses, no more buzzword bingo doublespeak, no more promises. Product available is all anyone cares about now. The message from RIM is always the same and that is "It's coming"!

This "journalist" interviewer is a b****. She clearly doesn't know what she's talking about and was fed really pointed questions to try to make BlackBerry look really bad.

She also does not understand the complexities of the industry. Yes, people will be laid off. WTF is her problem.

She says launched of "The BlackBerry 10". Its not "The BlackBerry 10". It's BlackBerry 10.

Clueless media.

After this interview, I would like to see RIM succeed in the transition at least. If it will take until the end of this year to finalize the process, then I would give RIM the benefit of the doubt. This company has everything to lose if they don't come back from it. Then, would we be ready to determine if the company is completely hopeless, or whether they still have a fighting chance to stay alive.

BB forever.

It's been a brutal and frustrating few weeks -- there were a series of BB10 leaks leading up to the announcement, once the pump had been primed -- that's right, what you've all been waiting for, the day has finally. . . . . been pushed to next year! Hurrah! Ugghhhhhhhhh! Bizarre, upbeat anti-marketing from RIM. Just when there seemed to be some genuine momentum for BB10 building. The delay is bad enough in and of itself, but the manner in which RIM manages disappointing news always seems to make things worse. The most hopeful way for me to think about it is that this is RIM emerging from a staggering crisis, so that the new team's stumbling out of the blocks was caused by the foundering of the enterprise, which has been stopped and stabilized. So the typical RIM over-promising of just a few months ago, about features, release dates, etc,, was just to keep things afloat and now the transition can begin in earnest. And this kind of media blitz can occur proactively rather than after-the-fact, putting-out-the-fire-they-had-set.

Look, right now RIM stock is about what it costs for a pack of cigarettes, so in that sense now is the time to "make the tough decisions" and that means managing expectations for the next quarters which will be more deep pain. But it is a necessary part of the plan right now. So get the hell out in front of it -- instead with this temporizing over-promising and under-delivering, the vacuum caused by the absence of new products is only going to be filled by "death throes" stories about RIM. Who wants to buy into that? It's not as if RIM is the first company to ever have to withstand some tough quarters while they get a new launch ready. Even when RIM gets the message right, about BB10 and QNX being the foundation for the next 10 years, they blur and undermine that message by the "unexpected" announcements of delays. BB10 and the new roadmap actually look very promising but because of the mismanagement, it is also being undermined. Yeah, they have to deal with and run through the numbers but they could have directed the call and the coverage to the next release, next year, had they announced the delay ahead of time. Instead the bomb drops during an already bleak earnings call and it magnifies the negativity. Oh, by the way, that thing that our year was hanging on? Not going to happen. It's hard to do this stuff, it's taking more work than we figured. And also, along those lines, we are going to fire everybody so of course, this "more work" will now take until the fifth of never. If they had announce the delay 2 weeks before the call, there would be a storm still, but it would have given RIM a chance to prepare the ground for the bad earnings, which then could have followed as if according to script, and then been more effective turning the focus toward next year. Selling RIM not as a day trade nugget, but a middle-to-long-range lode.

Two years from now when RIM is once again dominant, Thorsten will reveal that the whole delay was to drive down stock price and public opinion so that RIM's comeback will have that much more impact. Genius, I tell ya!

(And even if I'm WAY off base, RIM will still look good in a couple of years......and I'll be glad I held on 'til then.)

I'm with you. Mostly.

I DO think they'll still be around in two years, and I do believe I'll be seeing upside on my stock by then.

Remaining long on RIM in the meantime...

Phones not selling well? - check, tablet launch a failure? - check, dismal earning reports? - check, your 'savior' os is delayed yet again? - check. losing market share by the droves? - check.

If this isn't a crisis mode then I don't know what is. And the really sad part is that RIM doesn't get it either.

It's a damn shame too, I really loved Blackberry and hoped like mad that they would right the ship and become the dominate force they were -- sadly, I can only see them selling off to someone else or going out of business completely. A true icon is on its last legs. :-(

What, exactly, does anyone expect to hear from RIMM management? Make the token acknowledgment that the company is in a bad spot right now, but "prosperity is just around the corner".
The mere fact that they are publicly commenting tells me that they realize how bad things are and are trying to stop the hemorrhaging.

*Disclosure* I own share in RIMM and I have. to date, lost ~89%. No excuses. I treat every stock purchase as a gamble and I never invest more than I can afford to lose.


The Titanic also transitioned from floating on the water to resting on the ocean floor.

Let's be realistic. Apple was in a transition in the early 2000s from Mac OS 9 to OS X, from PPC to x86, from computer manufacturer to consumer electronics and digital content provider. Those were transitions.

RIM is TRYING to accomplish a transition but in reality it's a complete mess. Anyone who tries to pass this off as a "transition as usual" is very misguided.

Suggestions for drinking games, the words:

"we're resilient..."
"I've seen BB10..."
"in the middle of a transition"

The certainly have the unified message box working today :-). Give the PR guys credit for sending the team out with a unified script they all stuck to.

I actually liked this interview the best. The reporter asked some tough questions and for the most part he didn't shy from them except in the perfectly understandable part regarding the lay offs. They need to do more of this.

Not just conferences. The one Kevin did today with Rick Costanzo was preaching to the converted, I don't really see the value there except to say "we understand you want more from us and I promise when I can give you something I will please stay tuned".

This one was good for the company IMHO. This reporter asked some tough questions and this guy didn't shy away from them. He tried to articulate as best he can that RIM understands it needs to execute and the market is watching. This was not an easy interview and I find it interesting they sent him instead of Heins to answer these questions.

It's hard to do more than that without anything tangible and they don't have anything tangible if the software isn't ready.

My point about "layoffs" is that was the one question I felt he avoided - but with understandable justification. I could have been clearer about that.

Can Islap this lady on National TV please? She is such a bird, should you be doing this 2 years ago? Ya lady before you make a fool of yourself on TV, do your homework and see when RIM bought out QNX ... ahhhh and its Canadian media too ... #disappointing

64gb Playbook
32gb 9900 Bold

Only thing I disagree with was at the end. Thanking the Canadian supporters? What about the Caribbean and Nigerian fan base. I think he would have hit the ball out of the park if he acknowledged us. That's two big markets of theirs.

You will find places like the CBC to lack in quality of their journalism and this is the same for the Global Toronto morning show interview as well.

After he was gone the host Liza goes off on how she cant seem to sync her email with her BB. And that no one in customer service or at Rogers has been able to help. To me that sounds like an IT problem and not a hardware problem. Yet she blames the BB when most times its the user or the IT department.

Par for the course and good on the RIM team for hitting the media circus...er i mean circuit.

I am a current BlackBerry user, fan and advocate. I have been for the past eight years through multiple devices. Currently using a 9930 and Playbook. I'm also a past Palm user, fan and advocate. Lastly, I rode the ship down at General Motors as an employee. You can't possibly be serious? Not in crisis? Please tell that to the laid-off RIM employees & their families and see what response you get!

Great to see RIM executives come out and address the media. You have our support RIM. Just focus on getting the best product to the market. Rest all will fall into place.