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CEOs of RIM Step Down 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-long-farewell-aufwiedersehn-goodbye dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After two decades of leading the BlackBerry maker, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balisillie are stepping down from their roles as Co-CEOs at Canada's Research In Motion Limited. Thorsten Heins will now lead RIM as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google."
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CEOs of RIM Step Down

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  • Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by methamorph (950510) on Monday January 23, 2012 @03:49AM (#38788947)

    it seem's the decision they made is about a year too late.

    • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davester666 (731373) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:07AM (#38789003) Journal

      Oh, it's WAY more than a year too late. Maybe 5 or so.

      Of course, Microsoft is setting an absolutely terrible example for the industry. They should have at least demoted the dancing monkey way more than 5 years ago. Kodak board: Hm, there's been some serious financial reporting. We'd better fire the person telling us about it.

      Of course, the only ones that take it in the shorts are the small investors.

      • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mockylock (1087585) on Monday January 23, 2012 @07:27AM (#38789793) Homepage
        You're absolutely right. They did nothing to react to the rest of the smartphone devices when they were pulling in money. It seemed as if years went by and their devices were exactly the same, as well as the same interface and services... all while the rest of the world was changing on a daily basis. That money should have been tossed in R&D while they had it, and now it's too late. With the interaction you can get from other solutions (exchange/web/etc) and better phones, they're way too late on switching out leaders. I don't believe they have enough revenue coming in to catch up. I'm guessing when stock drops more, a company such as Microsoft will gobble them up, considering MS is looking for a business platform for Windows Phone and has enough money to turn it around.
        • Re:Too late? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633) on Monday January 23, 2012 @09:36AM (#38790541) Homepage Journal

          The happiest scenario would be for MS to buy RIM, and run out of money trying to turn it around :) Then we could be rid of two of the worst UI offenders in one go.

          • by dintech (998802)

            Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balisillie are stepping down from their roles as Co-CEOs

            I suppose this is their last RIM job.

        • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jellomizer (103300) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:30PM (#38797375)
          Well they did (Black Berry Thunder) respond but they figured that the iPhone would be a Toy Phone and Black Berries would be for Business. Their mistake wasn't as much in their phones but their software, they needed a full web browser very soon after the iPhone 1. Right when the iPhone came out they needed to push big on third party developers to make custom apps for the black berry. But they waited for Apple to get 3rd party developers to make apps first then all was lost.

          People forgot that the original iPhone had a luke warm reaction. A lot of buzz but a lot of people really couldn't justify getting one. Sure it was cool but limited without apps. Blackberry could have seen the what people wanted from an iPhone and put a lot of effort behind giving the black berry those features. G3 Internet, Well made custom apps, a strong web browser, they could have made it while keeping the keyboard, and the trackball.

          What happened is there are two type of competition.
          Competing with competitors who are trying to be like you.
          Competing with competitors who are trying to bring the next step.
          Previously for BlackBerry most of the smart phones out there were little black berry clones that may have one or two key features that were improvements. Which makes it easy for RIM to add in their next version, in the mean time you can wait and just use your brand name, and see if that new features is liked or not.

          Apple didn't try to make a better Black Berry they wanted to make a new type of phone. RIM tried their old process but it failed because the product was too different. They had to really innovate their product to keep it relevant, and they couldn't make an iPhone clone.
           
      • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2012 @07:52AM (#38789899)

        > Kodak board: Hm, there's been some serious financial reporting. We'd better
        > fire the person telling us about it.

        *cough* that was Olympus. Kodak's board does seem clueless, but not evil.

      • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Informative)

        by tgd (2822) on Monday January 23, 2012 @09:42AM (#38790595)

        Oh, it's WAY more than a year too late. Maybe 5 or so.

        Of course, Microsoft is setting an absolutely terrible example for the industry. They should have at least demoted the dancing monkey way more than 5 years ago.

        I disagree. Microsoft's stock may have been stagnant over the last decade, but its also payed out an enormous amount of money in dividends. Ballmer wasn't holding the reins when the big drop in the stock happened during the dot-com bubble bursting, and the thing that Microsoft got out of it was a firm transition from a "tech" stock to a solid blue-chip stock. The type of investors who buy those securities are very different, and the responsibility of the board and CEO are very different. Microsoft showing solid revenue growth, relative stock price stability and consistent payment of dividends *is* what the stockholders expect. It means everything needs to be more conservative.

        Contract that to Apple -- their stock graph, while steadily rising over time, has a sharp sawtooth pattern to it with quick-flip investors sinking billions into it, catching that wave. (I invested a pretty decent amount into Apple two years ago and have nearly *quadrupled* the amount by riding the sawtooth up!) But that pattern doesn't make Apple a better company or a better investment. I've got a lot of Microsoft stock, too -- that stock I'm equally happy with. I *expect* the Apple stock to crash. The investing pattern I follow (and clearly most investors are following, based on those cycles) is exactly that. We all *know* their value is based on transient hype, and not a solid foundation. Thats why people keep pulling money out, waiting out peak and buying back in the dip! The Microsoft stock, on the other hand, I know I'll get a steady return from and never really even consider selling.

        For both of those, as an investor in both companies, I'm very happy with both Jobs' job and Ballmers' job.

        • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Herkum01 (592704) on Monday January 23, 2012 @11:58AM (#38792125)

          I don't understand your definition of "enormous amount of money in dividends". Their last dividend of was 20 cents/share or projecting forward 80 cents a year.

          Their stock price has been around 25 to 30 dollars a share, to be generous lets call it $25 (for comparing the payout).

          $0.80 / $25 = is a 3.2% return on the dividends, that is with the highest payout in 2011 and the lowest stock price. I would not be looking at Microsoft as a blue-chip stock in anyway or form.

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            But isn't 3.2% pretty good for a dividend stock, and it's more than you can get on a 5 year CD?

            (Yes, the price could tank.. and I've actually thought about selling the MS stock I've had that's been share price flatlined for a decade..)

        • by vakuona (788200)

          I don't know what counts as a solid foundation to you, but for me, 90bn in well, cash, bonds and other short term marketable securities counts as a solid foundation to me. Apple is actually pretty conservatively valued EPS wise.

      • At least 5 years. There might not have seen any obvious signs of it from their finances but the company has been improperly lead almost since its creation.

      • Yeah, it might be a year since everyone realized that RIM was screwed, but really they were in trouble starting with the advent of the iPhone. Really, that was the moment when the entire cell phone industry should have changed course. Many companies did. RIM did not.
    • by Formalin (1945560)

      On the way home the radio said the new CEO is the current (err past, now) COO. It also said he's going to run it 'steady as she goes', so sounds like nothing will change, and the slide to irrelevance will continue... just with one less CEO.

      Unless he's just saying that to not scare anyone off, and planning on big changes. Who knows.

      • Re:Too late? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by davester666 (731373) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:54AM (#38789161) Journal

        If I were a RIM investor, I would be scared if he didn't make big changes. The old co-CEO's weren't tossed because they weren't liked. It was because they couldn't see how the iPhone was physically possible [AFTER it was demonstrated by SJ on stage].

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          He will not make any big change. He said so. He's actually part of the problem, being COO for many years. The company will keep digging its own hole. RIM investors should leave the boat now, even though you shouldn't sell when it goes down. But this one will never go up again. Maybe unless they sell.

        • Re:Too late? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Casca (4032) on Monday January 23, 2012 @12:38PM (#38792771) Journal

          This is a comment I made a few days ago on a related post, and I'm recycling it, because it is still relevant...

          "They're already dead, they just don't know it yet. I have their latest and greatest 9860 (because I don't have a choice - thanks corporate idiots), and it is a complete and utter piece of shit. The first phone bricked itself within the first week, common problem with this model. The screen is plastic, and feels like it. The touchscreen is horribly inaccurate, making typing on it something dreadful and to be avoided. The on/off button is the entire top of the phone, so when you slip it in a pocket, it is very likely to turn the screen on. It is so under-powered, I'm constantly playing the guessing game of "did I tap the dialog box or not". The "app store" looks like the bargain bin at Blockbuster. Every time I pick this phone up it pisses me off."

          Even quoted myself, that is so douchey...

          • Re:Too late? (Score:4, Informative)

            by caitsith01 (606117) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:14PM (#38799159) Journal

            Funny you should say that - I just got the Bold 9900 through my work and I'd say it's one of the best phones I've used. Ridiculously high build quality, silky smooth menus, excellent touch screen, convenience of a really nice physical keyboard, good size, intuitive menus, etc etc etc. Battery life seems good too by current gen standards. And of course as with most blackberries it's excellent for email and productivity generally. It's also made from a nice lump of metal and feels like it could be used as a deadly weapon.

            Absolutely beats the hell out of other current gen phones I've used, including the iphone, Galaxy S II and my current personal phone (an HTC running android 2.3).

            So I would say the sad thing for RIM is that they are probably going to fall apart just at the moment when they have finally caught up to (and arguably overtaken) the market...

      • Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:35AM (#38789317)
        The big change in RIM is that they have been run by two people who really did not understand the need for marketing. Even when watching the Reality Distortion Factor at work, they didn't understand it. RIM's problem has been that they acquired consumer market share almost by accident and didn't cover it with love, hugs and kisses. They need marketing.

        How many people understand the difference between pull and push email and how it affects them in the pocket? How many developers understand why Neutrino has advantages over iOS?

        A serious marketing department would have launched the Playbook by giving them away to every Android developer who cared to ask for one. They would have spent money in product placement, developed a Curve phone optimised to work with the Playbook, and sold them as a single product so that people "got" the Bridge from day 1. Instead, they launched at far too high a price with a corporate advertisement that nobody understood. People saw the lack of native email as a downside, not seeing that with a BB phone you had one mobile connection that worked both devices. It was a classical launch by engineers who assumed that everybody was as clever as they were.

        However, unlike HP, the tablet is pretty good, and there is still market share to lose. Their best bet is to spend marketing money outside the US in the emergent markets and Europe, since they cannot compete with Apple.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The big change in RIM is that they have been run by two people who really did not understand the need for marketing. Even when watching the Reality Distortion Factor at work, they didn't understand it. RIM's problem has been that they acquired consumer market share almost by accident and didn't cover it with love, hugs and kisses. They need marketing.

          Marketing? It's maybe not the _last_ of RIM's problems, but it's pretty low on the list. They have worse issues: they kept coming up with a terribly obsolete a

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Lumpy (12016)

            I have NEVER found anyone that "loved" their blackberry. They were winning simply because they were the only game in town that offered enterprise secure email.

            notice they started their nosedive when they handed over the keys to Saudia Arabia. Their claims of "uncrackable" went out the window.

            The other nosedive started with Iphone 3s and CEO's started carrying them. they did not want to carry 2 phones, so they ditched the clunky crackberry. Once that happens, it's game over.

            • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Your.Master (1088569) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:05AM (#38789969)

              If you never found somebody who loved their blackberry, you just weren't looking very hard. For instance, frickin' Barack Obama.

              They were quite popular and, among a shrinking subset of people, still are (particularly for BBM in social circles where sufficient people have that that you essentially get free texting without fucking with shitty 3rd party IM apps).

              • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

                by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:37AM (#38790113)

                If you never found somebody who loved their blackberry, you just weren't looking very hard. For instance, frickin' Barack Obama.

                I've found the majority of those people didn't love the BB, they loved email on the go. They loved being fully connected all the time, and for a long time the BB was only device that did corporate email at all.

                • Actually, one thing a friend of mine likes are the real keyboards. She had an iPhone but she sent it back after about 3 months--she could type much faster on her Blackberry.

              • Over here in the UK they got stuck between a rock and a hard place. Blackberrys initially became popular due to American companies fitting out their troops with the same tech used stateside. It quickly moved to UK based industries.

                However, in terms of web, the crackberries were hard to develop for. The iPhone pulled a lot of custom after that. Then there was a slight reassurance as teenagers and social animals started using it for BBM messaging. And again, it earned a bad rap in facilitating last years riot

              • Uhh, no. The Obamaberry only looks like one. It is manufactured by General Dynamics and contains a class one crypto unit.
                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  Uhh, no. The Obamaberry only looks like one. It is manufactured by General Dynamics and contains a class one crypto unit.

                  Uhh, no. Obama was a crackberry addict long before he ever became POTUS. Once he was elected, they considered forcing him to accept GD the milspec WinMo phone, but BHO kept his blackberry because he's POTUS and there's nobody who can tell him he can't.

                  He probably doesn't use it for any official business, and may well have an aide carrying one of those GD phones for when the shit hits the fan.

            • by jbolden (176878)

              I'm an iPhone users now, but four years ago I loved Blackberry and I still like them quite a bit. Texting/IM is an amazing experience on the blackberry. Responding to email is arguably better. And as a phone it works well. My favorite blackberry app (youmail) just got ported over to iphone. So I've switched, but Blackberry is a great phone, just very long in the tooth.

                 

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Someone needs to go down with the ship. Bet you he has a nice golden parachute to go with his suicide ride.

    • it seem's the decision they made is about a year too late.

      Oh sure, take me down with you!

      Ironically, I just posted two Blackberry videos onto my YouTube portfolio channel yesterday that I had forgotten about (http://www.youtube.com/user/seanmurphydesign/featured#). I like the vids, but I tell you... my timing sucks! ;-/ If they had held off until I was gainfully employed again, I could at least try to forgive them. RIM was sinking anyways... why not give an old supplier a break, huh?

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      The opposite: just in time to claim they were not in charge the day the company went bankrupt. They may do a W. Bush one here, where they blame the next guy in charge for the economic crisis their administration caused.

      I can see it now, few months from now, RIM files for bankruptcy and they go: “We stepped down despite believing we had the right tactic to fix the company, because that’s what the investors wanted. They claimed they were able to do better. We let them try. They failed. Blame them

      • by kenboldt (1071456)

        Except that they have no debt, and despite losing market share, they are still fantastically profitable.

  • It looks like Blackberry is doomed to sink below Windows Phone in terms of popularity and offerings.

    They should still have US government customers for a while until the government-approved version of Android is widespread, so maybe a year or two left.

    Beyond that, I don't see much of a future.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      I just don't see that happening. I don't hold great hope for RIM's future, but I just don't think they could limbo under the WP7 bar any time soon.
      • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:00AM (#38789191) Homepage

        I just don't see that happening. I don't hold great hope for RIM's future, but I just don't think they could limbo under the WP7 bar any time soon.

        I actually do. Remember Microsoft still has Windows 8, Windows 8 Tablets, and Xbox 360 to use to push the Windows Phone 7 UI on everyone. All of that could fail... but "could fail" is still better than RIM's "tried it and already failed."

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          still better than RIM's "tried it and already failed."

          And being consistent at that !

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          I'm not sure they're really pushing the Windows Phone UI. They're certainly pushing the Metro UI look, but the interface on the Xbox is so far from the ideas incorporated into WP7 (the information density on the Xbox is very, very low) that I'm not sure they know what they're doing well enough to get any sort of "synergy" going.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          Just to clear up my other post, Metro UI on the Xbox is basically the old Blades with a facelift, and Metro UI on the PC is just a graphical style for big, simple, touch-friendly icons. I don't think either is going to drive people to try it out on the phone where it is genuinely effective at summarising information and letting you get things done.

      • I think that Windows Phone will slowly improve in market share using the same strategy that the Xbox did: pushing enough money into it until it eventually works. Whether it will actually take off to the same success as the Xbox remains to be seen. If they get a few killer apps (e.g. Halo for Windows Phone), then who knows what might be possible.

        It will be a money sink for a while, but Microsoft can afford to continue to pump money and work into it. They know that they have to since phones and tablets ar

        • by thesuperbigfrog (715362) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:58AM (#38789393)

          [self-replying]

          Just wanted to clarify what I meant by "the field is still changing".

          I think that Apple will not increase much further in smartphone market share because Steve Jobs is no longer leading the company. The last time that Steve left Apple things did not go well and the company nearly went under. I don't think Apple is headed downhill yet, but without the visionary man who made the company in the driver's seat, it will be run differently, and I believe, not for the better.

          Android is constantly changing, partly because there are so many players, but also because Microsoft and Apple are applying pressure to most of the Android players through patent lawsuits and license agreements. I expect that Android will continue to hold significant market share because Google wants it to succeed and several of the OEMs have already had success with it.

          With these two dynamics in play, the smartphone market is still changing.

          • Apple indeed nearly went under, not just because of Jobs but because they were stuck on an obsolete platform with its legacy ties to the 68K architecture. Apple then went through a lot of pain while making the transition to BSD.

            BB is currently stuck on a legacy platform with, I suspect, vast cruft to support. They are transitioning to a new platform, based on QNX Neutrino, which is potentially a much better phone/tablet OS than either iOS or Android. In effect, they need what Apple got; a genius marketing d

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              You say RIM needs a Jobs? There's a tired joke in there somewhere...something about comparing apples and blackberries.

            • I don't see how you (or the GP) could have blamed a hypothetical Apple bankruptcy on Jobs. He was pushed out in 1985, and Apple continued doing well until the early 1990s, half a decade later. It wasn't until the mid-90s that Apple was starting to look like a trainwreck in slow-motion.

              Jobs was brought back with the NeXT acquisition, Apple was in dire straits then, but if it had failed it wouldn't have been a direct result of Jobs' actions (if he'd done the same things, but say hypothetically Apple didn't ha

          • There's quite a few differences between the Apple of 1985, and the Apple of 2012.

            #1 is that Steve Jobs spent a decade clearing out projects that were going nowhere, instead focusing the entire company on a handful of projects that all tied together in order to increase each one's value.

            #2 is that Steve Jobs spent a decade clearing out the stiffs that were "managing" the place in the 90s, and installed people that had the same drive he did, and set the whole company up to focus on design and proper function,

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Depends wether MS are willing to go all in on phones and tablets, or intentionally try to hold them back to prevent them eating into PC market share, which is what they generally seem to do.

          • Not sure about phones, but for tablets by all appearances they're so "all in" that it's the opposite: they're going to hold back the PC to chase the tablet.

      • The next win phone OS looks pretty good. I think it could provide a decent uptick for MS on mobile devices if they can get it on some okay hardware. Having it available on the nearly free t-mo phones will help get it out the door at least.

    • That government contract would sweeten the price if they sell the company now. An established company like Samsung (for example) could end up as the defacto supplier of Android phones to the federal government. That's gotta be worth some bucks.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:00AM (#38788975)

    ... will now lead the BlackBerry maker as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google

    Slow down, slow down, one step at a time. How about we get the company nice and healthy first and work on dominating the industry after that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:07AM (#38789001)

      Perhaps they can get nice and healthy by not trying to compete.

      But yes, the quote is a bit of a funny statement, and your response is funny. Perhaps a better way of putting all of this is that it would be more realistic and acceptable for RIM's goal to have a healthy market share alongside its rivals. To coexist, rather than beat or be beaten.

  • Beat? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by addie (470476) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:03AM (#38788987)

    "as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google"

    A strange choice of words. I think "as it attempts to compete with the likes of..." would be more accurate and desirable - the last thing the technology market needs these days is a single, clearcut winner (at least, if you're a consumer). That aside, as a Canadian I'd like to see RIM survive on its own and if this helps to shake things up then it's a welcome move; I don't fancy the thought of the Samsung chaebol gaining even more power than it already has.

    • Re:Beat? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:10AM (#38789011)
      In a free market, the ultimate objective of every company is monopoly and the untold wealth that position brings. It is a game that everyone must play, but none may be permitted to win.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by noh8rz2 (2538714)
        I'm not sure this is really accurate... Sure, a pie in the sky goal is to make 100 billion dollars and marry a supermodel. But in terms of realistic, achievable goals, these are what you need to be successful. So op is correct, a better goal may be to be a peer in the smartphone game rather than trying to dominate.
      • Far from insightful (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:00AM (#38789941)
        That is just tired, neocon Randian fluff. And there are still some economists and consultants who will tell you so. In a free market, the ultimate objective of many intelligent company managements is to identify a profitable niche and fill it.

        This is because any market with a complete monopoly means that customers will try to get out of that market altogether. Dell does not really want to be the only PC maker, because then anybody who really hates them will try and find an alternative to PCs, and that alternative may become the new norm. End customers actually need choice, because the perception of competition in the market generates buzz. The mere fact of competition brings the segment to the attention of people who would otherwise not hear of it. It increases the size of the market and enables companies to grow without having to do so at the expense of the competition.

        Also, of course, there is no such thing as a "company" in terms of objective; there are people. Even the best CEO (who doesn't know he is going to die or retire before long) is aware that without competition he doesn't have a plan B if things go wrong, and his salary is likely to be lower than it would be if the shareholders think he might jump ship.

        • identify a profitable niche and fill it

          So shrink your market to a niche and monopolize that instead? The goal is still to crush all competitors and achieve monopoly position even if it's only a smaller market segment.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            So shrink your market to a niche and monopolize that instead? The goal is still to crush all competitors and achieve monopoly position even if it's only a smaller market segment.

            Depends on the endgame. Ideally, the company would love to become a monopoly. However, in the tech world, that's very difficult as new disruptive technologies come in all the time that upset your plans. E.g., Apple and the iPhone, which ended up screwing over every "old smartphone maker" (PalmOS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, RIM), and

        • Concur. Just look at Apple as example--although several of their actions look like they're bordering on monopoly abuse, history has shown they don't care that much about market share. They're after revenue/profit share, market share is a bonus along the way that may (or may not) help with that.

          This is why they don't really care that Mac market share is only around 10% (globally), or that iPod nano cannibalized the hugely successful iPod mini market, or the iPhone cannibalized standalone iPod sales. History

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        In a free market, the ultimate objective of every company is monopoly and the untold wealth that position brings. It is a game that everyone must play, but none may be permitted to win.

        Actually, plenty of companies are monopolies and are often blessed with that status. And even more so if you include virtual monopolies (where you don't have 100%, but you have enough that competitors are at a disadvantage purely because of interoperability - e.g., Windows and its API set, Office and its fileformat - you have

    • Re:Beat? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dredwerker (757816) on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:37AM (#38789107)

      "as it attempts to beat the likes of Apple and Google"

      A strange choice of words. I think "as it attempts to compete with the likes of..." would be more accurate and desirable - the last thing the technology market needs these days is a single, clearcut winner (at least, if you're a consumer). That aside, as a Canadian I'd like to see RIM survive on its own and if this helps to shake things up then it's a welcome move; I don't fancy the thought of the Samsung chaebol gaining even more power than it already has.

      I thought you had made a typo with chaebol but no http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaebol [wikipedia.org]

      "Chaebol (from chae: wealth or property + pl: faction or clan)[1] refers to a South Korean form of business conglomerate. They are global multinationals owning numerous international enterprises. The term is often used in a context similar to that of the English word "conglomerate". The term was first used in 1984.[1]"

  • I guess that'll be the end of RIM. Last year it was REM. What's next? RAM? ROM?
    • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Monday January 23, 2012 @06:06AM (#38789419) Homepage Journal

      I guess that'll be the end of RIM. Last year it was REM. What's next? RAM? ROM?

      Oh dear God, please don't let it be rum!

      • by the_arrow (171557)

        <pirate>But why is the rum gone?</pirate>

      • by Spykk (823586)
        The internet community gasped collectively today when the congress of the United States of America announced a new bill: Direct Eradication of Rum-drinking Pirates. The senator who spear-headed this initiative had this to say:

        It has come to our attention that some of our constituents like to use the so-called internets. That being said, we still need to protect our donors from the ravages of piracy. The Direct Eradication of Rum-drinking Pirates bill that we have proposed will make the distribution of rum in the United States illegal. When the pirates currently sailing on our internets run out of rum they will be forced to dock at an HTTP port outside of the US to resupply. At the moment we will pounce and turn off the valve that connects our internet tubes to the rest of the world, locking the pirates out of our internets. We know internets are important so we crafted this bill to protect them. When the people say they need the internet, congress says DERP.

  • by ajo_arctus (1215290) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:17AM (#38789259) Homepage

    Their will be a lot of snarky "too late" comments today for this news, but it's a sad day when you have to step down from the company you worked so hard to build -- a company that must feel an extension of yourself -- and it must have been a really tough decision for these guys. No doubt they still wanted to prove themselves (and who wouldn't, given their situation?). I feel sorry for them. It's easy to be an armchair CEO, especially when you have hindsight.

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:54AM (#38789375) Homepage
    Thorsten Heins is a RIM guy through-and-through, he was personally responsible for a lot of RIM's decisions in past years. His introductory video [youtu.be] basically shows a guy who is out of touch with RIM's fundamental problems.. he promises more of the same, which is really just a recipe for disaster. Compare this with Stephen Elop of Nokia and his "burning platform" [wsj.com] memo which showed a new CEO who realised just how screwed their company was unless they made very radical changes.

    Although it isn't certain that Elop will manage to save Nokia, he at least understood that painful changes needed to be made. I'm not sure that Heins understands the dangers that RIM finds itself in though..

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      To put that in a clearer context, Elop was an outsider that the Nokia board hired precisely because they understood their own ignorance about the situation and needed someone willing to make changes. Promoting from the same board that's been screwing up RIM for the past half-decade is a mistake.

    • by Ecuador (740021) on Monday January 23, 2012 @07:11AM (#38789723) Homepage

      You talk about Elop like he is a good thing, when he is either a complete idiot or a Microsoft shill (I estimate the latter).
      He was correct that Symbian was a difficult environment to develop to (my company gave it up for that reason), however Nokia had explicitly asked Symbian developers to hold on and they would provide a unified dev environment for all their platforms based on QT, so things were getting better. So, with one announcement he breaks the promise and alienates the thousands of Symbian developers. Developers are the only thing more important than consumers, by alienating them he most likely guaranteed Nokia will fail. He is probably confident that Windows developers will jump to Windows OS so he doesn't really need the traditional Nokia developers. He is probably wrong.
      Then, his only problem with MeeGo (that he admitted - not being a Microsoft OS is more likely the true reason) is that at most Nokia would have one MeeGo device this year. Hey! Do you know which other company does not release more than one new device per year? Perhaps the one you are trying to go after? How do THEY do it? And of course, let's not mention that it was a lie - they had TWO devices to release, the N9 which was released in very small markets (Kazakhstan, Denmark etc lest someone might notice how good it is) and the N950 which was not sold but given to a few select MeeGo developers (you can't even find it on ebay at any price).
      And have you seen the N9? Probably not since it was not sold in any major markets, but it is truly an awesome device mainly due to its OS. My company currently mainly works on iOS so I have all the Apple devices at home, but when my wife saw the N9 it was the only time she was impressed by a device. (Her words after trying out "hey, compared to your iphone this looks like it came from 2050!"). So while the N900 was the perfect geek tool, the N9 is the only device I have tried that is easier, more fun to use and much much more powerful than the iOS devices (sorry Android...).
      So, yeah, while Symbian had to go, the developers should not have been scared away. They should have been first moved to MeeGo, which was the original plan with the QT platform being the common denominator, and all resources gone to MeeGo which (sadly, because it is stillborn) is the best current mobile OS, although the limited resources behind it kind of show up as some instability...
      If you think I talked to much about Nokia, you should see how much I could say about RIM. However, current litigation prevents me from doing so, so commenting on RIM's outgoing "NIH" leaders or their successor will have to be deferred to a later time...

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It was a great plan, but Nokia simply did not execute. They needed to start delivering on that plan in 2009. Qt was supposed to be a stopgap between 2008-era Symbian and 2010-era Meego, right? Well, they didn't start shipping Qt on phones until 2010. The stopgap was two years late. And then the first Meego device appeared in 2011! Software development on Nokia devices was dead as a doornail long before Elop became involved.

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          Wow, there is somebody on Slashdot who sees the Meego history in realistic light.

          And Elop just may be doing a few things right: we finally get sales figure estimates for Lumia not entirely pulled out of some banker's orifice, and they show some respectable numbers [businessweek.com], this before US sales have rolled in.

          • I assume I am missing something here. The article states in the second paragraph:

            "The Lumia handsets, which went on sale in Europe in November, probably sold 1.3 million units globally to operators and retailers by the end of last year, according to the average estimate of 22 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. The projections range from 800,000 to 2 million and only one analyst predicted sales of fewer than 1 million handsets."

            How are these estimates any different than any other estimates? In fact, since thi

            • by 21mhz (443080)

              Well, this is a bit different from a single BNP Paribas review that only had a figure of 2% interested in Lumia among European customers, which was widely cited as proof that the new models fall flat in Europe.

      • The problem was that Nokia's lunch was being eaten by both Apple and Google on all fronts.

        They couldn't hold in. With Windows Phone 7 they're risking irrelevancy. With Symbian/MeeGo/Qt, they ARE irrelevant.

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          They couldn't hold in. With Windows Phone 7 they're risking irrelevancy. With Symbian/MeeGo/Qt, they ARE irrelevant.

          Well, better to take the risk than to lie down and take the loss, then. Is Nokia hardware so sexy that it would succeed if it re-entered the market now as yet another Android vendor? Right as Google is starting to reign in some of the UI customizations that allow one vendor to differentiate its products from another's? Seems unlikely. Nokia has a hard road ahead of it and Windows Phone might just be its best bet. But to be sure, it is a risky bet.

  • At least someone is going to have to start taking responsibility for what's going on over there. QNX is going to be interesting to see on their devices next year. I think the big thing driving smartphone sales right now is price, and RIM hasn't been able to release an appealing device with a price point low enough to drive people away from the alternatives.

  • And the band will keep playing all the way into the vasty deep.
  • He will lead RIM as it attempts to get bought by someone for the IP and then forgotten like every other IT relic out there.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      They seem to be having a hard time getting bought, though. The other option might be to slash the staff, slash the product line, and put heavy emphasis on licensing their technology. Think "Windows Phone featuring BlackBerry." If that works out, then I see Microsoft grabbing them in a couple years.

  • Correction: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cid Highwind (9258) on Monday January 23, 2012 @09:39AM (#38790575) Homepage

    There was a typesetters' error in the last sentence of today's RIM article. It should have read "Thorsten Heins will now lead RIM as it slogs toward inevitable bankruptcy and asset fire sale to the likes of Apple and Google." We apologize for the error.

  • by DigiTechGuy (1747636) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:23AM (#38790969)

    I don't really see any major problems with RIM. Their target market is businesses who need security and granular manageability. The company I work for happens to require those things. RIM is the best choice I'm aware of to meet those requirements. I will qualify that by saying I am a BES admin so maybe a little blinded by that, which is why I'd like fellow technical people to let me know what the real issues with RIM are and how the competition is superior.

    As for devices themselves... I use a Bold 9900 currently and I like it. The touchscreen is great for navigating, though every now and again I have to tap something twice which seems due to slower processor taking a moment. This does not bother me. The built in browser now supports tabbed browsing, a plus but wasn't a big deal for me. The trackball is now a touch sensitive input, like the 9700. Before this phone I thought the 9700 was great with the upgrade from trackball to touch sensor. I disliked the smaller screen and size of the 9700 as I went to that from a 9000.

    The Bolt 9900 meets business needs as I see them and as I use my phone. It provides secure email, whole device encryption, excellent remote management, and a functional level of referencing pdf/doc/xls/ppt... As functional as can be on a small screen. Android/iOS devices are marginally better at this due to the larger screen, gained from lack of a physical keyboard, but still not great. For referencing or especially editing those types of documents you're into tablet or notebook territory simply for the larger screen.

    The only downside I see to the 9900 for the time I've had it, is battery life sucks. If I use it lightly I can get a day and change out of it. If I use it heavily I have to charge before the day is through. If you plan for it you will pretty much always have access to charge, but it's unacceptable to not make it at least a full day of moderate to heavy use. By that I mean phone calls, email, attachments, corporate IM, light web browsing, etc. Not playing games or watching multimedia all day. The 9900 has a much lower capacity battery than the 9000 did. I believe RIM did this to keep the device thin. Personally I don't care about having a thin device. Give the most MAh you can, to be sure it'll last at least two full days of use between charges, preferably longer. I don't care if it's as thick as an old "dumb phone". It stays on my belt out of the way, along with my personal phone ( a 5 year old dumb phone that can make calls and text), knife, flashlight and wahtever else I may be carrying. Smaller/lighter is nice but not at the detriment of battery life.

    So please, /., if I am out of touch with how RIM is not meeting the needs of businesses please let me know. For personal devices, sure, Android and iOS have an edge. What are the real issues with RIM being inadequate for business use, particularly where central manageability and security are critical? To expand on that, if you believe iOS or Android are competitive there, what tools does one use to have easy centralized management and security comparable to BES if managing a few hundred mobile devices?

    • by billybob_jcv (967047) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:38AM (#38791171)

      Your post shows EXACTLY the problem with RIM - the thinking that screen size, screen quality, browser features and games are unimportant for business users. Of course they are important - and we want our corporate email, calendar & address book AND a good browser, games & a nice screen.

      The most telling part of your post that indicates you are a dinosaur is this line: "It stays on my belt out of the way, along with my personal phone ( a 5 year old dumb phone that can make calls and text), knife, flashlight and wahtever else I may be carrying." Be gone ye demon of the past - there is no place for you in this time!!

      • Screen size and quality on my 9900 are quite good. For me, a business user, I'll sacrifice some screen size for a proper physical keyboard. I hate typing on touchscreens. The primary use of my BB is to type, as in email and other textual communication. Secondary is voice. For some users that role is flipped.

        As for my personal phone be ancient, I don't need a smart phone because I have my BB for those personal uses like Google Maps or looking something up on the internet when I'm not at a computer. Games? So

        • Even if I didn't have a smart phone from work, I wouldn't spend my own money on a data plan and smartphone. It's nice but not worth the absurd cost here in the States. If I was paid more and had the money to burn, sure, but I have other hobbies and interests that compete for a finite amount of "extra" money after the bills are paid.

          Thank you, again, for pointing out why RIM is out of touch. At work, the big push from the user base is to use their consumer iPhone/Android to connect to the corporate network. You might not have it, but there is a very big, very lucrative customer base that wants exactly that -- to use their device for fun & work. The CIO's office gave a presentation about the challenges they face as the user base wants to dump the Blackberries and use their iPhones instead.

          The mobile market is not like you; you ar

          • We're talking about two totally seperate issues here. In the context of me, there is me porsonally vs. me professionally.

            Personally all I need is a phone that will make phone calls and send the occasional SMS. I want it to work anywhere in the country, have a relatively low monthly cost, and a battery that will last 4+ days of my typical usage (which is fairly light). Those are my personal requirements. I would like things like maps/GPS, GPS speed readouts, web browser, etc... but for my own personal use I

            • by PCM2 (4486)

              I don't really deal with these issues myself, as I am currently self-employed, but you might be a little out of touch with what Apple offers for businesses [apple.com] these days. Motorola offers similar enterprise integration and security functions for some of its Android models (and maybe other vendors do, too; like I said, I'm not up on everything).

              By no means are Apple and the Android phone makers saying, "BlackBerry thinks business is all important but we don't care about that." On the other hand, RIM seems to mak

    • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:45AM (#38791271) Journal
      You are not out of touch. RIM is still profitable and has a large entrenched market share. They are actually growing in BRIC countries, where the better battery life + lower cost + combined e-mail/internet/phone footprint makes alot of sense. Not everyone needs $0.99 fart apps, or can afford $0.99 USD songs for their ipod replacement.

      RIM is in trouble, but not disasterously so. Their market share decline isn't an absolute decline; its that the iphone and android market has grown so large due to their consumer focus. The consumer market is bigger than the business/professional market...always has been, always will be.

      RIM offers a reliable delivery network not dependent upon a pastiche of ISPs/phone carriers. The central management is a huge advantage for enterprises. And the device itself is more secure and reliable than any of the other whiz-bang devices.

      My corporation just completed a 1000 user trial of iphone replacement for BB. The program was cancelled 1 month into the 3 month pilot; the BB's reliability and keyboard (and calendaring) was irreplaceable.

      RIM"s biggest challenge at this point is they lack growth (a big no-no in our 'quarterly results' driven culture)... their primary business is replacement sales -- steady revenue. They've missed consumer growth opportunities ... I had a pearl, it was awful. D
    • I will qualify that by saying I am a BES admin so maybe a little blinded by that, which is why I'd like fellow technical people to let me know what the real issues with RIM are and how the competition is superior.

      I'd like to respond by asking what security/management features of Blackberry/BES you actually use. Whenever the topic comes up, somebody touts the Blackberry platform for security/control, but for all the business I've worked for (including a few large corporations) and all the IT people I've worked with, I think that the only features I've seen in use are push email/calendar/contacts, remote wipe, and password requirements. All of those things are available through ActiveSync.

      I'll tell you why I don't

  • by Locutus (9039) on Monday January 23, 2012 @11:23AM (#38791723)
    RIM had and still have a good size install base and it's firmly in the corporate environment. Given that and the history of how Microsoft uses it's profits to purchase market share this seems like another opportunity to pull a Nokia or better. The "better" being a direct purchase.

    LoB

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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