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RIM Firing (Nearly) Everybody 440

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
itwbennett writes "Research in Motion (RIM) reported grim Q4 results Thursday and announced sweeping personnel changes. Leading the parade of departing execs is Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of the company, who has given up his board seat. David Yach, who has been CTO of software for the company for 13 years, is retiring. And Jim Rowan, chief operating officer of global operations, who has been with the company for four years, is leaving to pursue other interests."
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RIM Firing (Nearly) Everybody

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  • like palm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scafuz (985517) <scafuz@scafuz.com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:08AM (#39521097)
    either you innovate or you are out of business really soon
    • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoobixCube (1133473) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:27AM (#39521235) Journal

      Too true. This is a prime example of what happens when you fail to innovate in the face of a changing competitive landscape. Blackberry used to be the last word in mobile email, and while they remained very good at email, every other manufacturer caught up, and did far far more, while Blackberries, model after subtly different model, didn't expand their feature set at all. They introduced startling revelations of technology like replacing the trackball (which I didn't mind) with a laptop-style trackpad, which I couldn't stand, and they upped the resolution of their OS a bit. Everyone else offered bajillion megapixel cameras with a solid metric fucktonne of apps, and a proper, i.e. NOT WAP web browsing experience. But hey, Blackberry owners could still get their email, right? By about January last year, I'd say the only people buying Blackberries were people who already had Blackberries and had never tried anything else.

      • Re:like palm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:38AM (#39521319)

        Ok, it was primarily a business phone, but it didnt support good software APIs for gaming. Consequence? People would have to buy a second phone just for entertainment. They had a quite complete Java Stack, but wouldnt bother to implement not even JSR184 or OpenGL ES. And they had friggin' GPU phones!

        • Re:like palm (Score:4, Interesting)

          by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:21AM (#39521747)

          People would have to buy a second phone just for entertainment.

          The Blackberry was a business tool, just like a photocopier. Nobody complains about having to buy a game console because their photocopier can't play games.

          The Blackberry was an effective business tool because it only had business-related functionality - so any company buying them didn't feel they were providing free toys for their employees, they were only providing a necessary tool. Unfortunately now everyone wants the latest/shiniest/coolest gadget, not just a business phone.

          • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:34AM (#39521889) Journal

            No, that's very naive. Its not because people want shiny that RIM is in the dumpster. Its because "business phones" really needed to be able to do everything that the "non business phones" do too. Their web browser sucked, and they didn't do a good job making a phone ( storm sucked) with a decent screen to view more complex documents and emails. A proper business phone is a consumer phone PLUS additional security features. Not a consumer phone MINUS some usability features.

            • by Xiaran (836924) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:41AM (#39521981)
              And lets be honest. Business and Sales weenies want to be able to play Angry Birds when in boring meetings.
              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                Screw that, every employee with a phone should be able to play Angry Birds during their lunch hour, or after work or on weekends. A good phone will do that, plus work well for their business uses. Only a shitty phone maker would ask their customers to buy and carry around a second phone to do such things.

            • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

              by careysub (976506) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:38AM (#39522601)

              No, that's very naive. Its not because people want shiny that RIM is in the dumpster. Its because "business phones" really needed to be able to do everything that the "non business phones" do too.....

              Amen. That Blackberry is automatically competing against everyone's personal cellphone. A job I had several years ago they provided their tech staff with Blackberries, but I refused to use/carry it. Why? I already had a cell phone, which I still needed to carry since the rest of the world uses it to call me, and it was smaller (the Blackberry had a permanent keyboard making too big to fit in the pocket), and did more. So I changed my contact info to my personal cell phone.

              When a product is sufficiently uncompelling that you don't want to use it even when they give it to you free, that product has a long term problem.

          • by DocSavage64109 (799754) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:51AM (#39522107)
            When is the last time you saw an actual photocopier and not a multipurpose copier/printer/scanner/etc.? That's roughly the same problem with Blackberry phones.
          • You don't have to live with your photocopier.

            If work gives you a phone, the company will often allow leeway for you to use it as your primary cell phone even for personal use. It is a perk if you are going to be on call for 24 hours a day, you might as well not have to pay for cell service. You can use your work phone for some personal use too.

            So the ability to play games, browse a better web, and do non-business things too really made alternatives more attractive.

            For the longest time, the Blackberry while
            • Re:like palm (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Proaxiom (544639) on Friday March 30, 2012 @11:28AM (#39523203)

              So the ability to play games, browse a better web, and do non-business things too really made alternatives more attractive.

              Several years ago I first heard the argument that BlackBerry was getting its brand poisoned a bit because IT administrators were disabling most of the features that shipped on the phones (for security reasons, or whatever). So a large percentage of users didn't even know you could load third party apps or browse the web on it (though the web browser sucked until BB 6 shipped in 2010), and so the phones seemed much less compelling to get for personal use. Of course that's not the whole story of BlackBerry's decline, but it's an interesting point nonetheless.

          • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MightyYar (622222) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:51AM (#39522769)

            Unfortunately now everyone wants the latest/shiniest/coolest gadget, not just a business phone.

            It was a decent phone, I suppose. And it was fantastic for text emails.

            But other phones came along that simply outclassed it and absorbed it's capability into their feature sets.

            It's like what happened to the alphanumeric pager companies once SMS came along.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            It's not unfortunate at all. Why would you want to carry around two phones all the time? That's utterly stupid. Do you think that people who use a phone for work email shouldn't be able to play games at all?

            You don't need the photocopier to play games, because you don't play games in the office (hopefully). Instead, you go home and play games there on your own time. Or, if you have a home office, you can play games on your PC, which plays games just fine (which is why your analogy sucks).

            But people don

      • Re:like palm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:51AM (#39521447) Journal
        Arguably, RIM's real problem(aside from glacial movement) was that their core specialty, mobile email, was something that could be done 'well enough' by the less elegant means of simply shoving technologies and protocols designed for full computers into smaller devices.(very strong similarity to Palm, here)

        Back in the day, when pagers were still pretty hip and running from AAA batteries wasn't yet somewhat deviant for a mobile device, RIM's ability to shove email onto handsets was pretty serious business. Trouble is, as team silicon advanced, the "Um, just run an IMAP or Activesync client, like a real computer, y'know?" solution became viable. Harder on the battery and the data plan; but trivially interoperable with everything already set up for real computers to get email.

        Windows Mobile should have been RIM's wake-up call: UX was pretty dismal; but it was a more or less architecturally successful implementation of 'well, just build the computer smaller!' school of mobile design. Once Apple came along and dealt with the UX problem... Game over man, game over.

        Palm went down a somewhat similar road: under the assumption that mobile devices would be highly power constrained and very infrequently connected, their 'conduit/sync' system was crazy elegant, and they managed to shove some pretty impressive capability into gizmos with weedy little ColdFire CPUs and absurdly small slices of RAM. Again, though, team silicon marched on, and it became possible to just shove a computer into a smaller box. Microsoft's attempt was a usability disaster, which gave Palm some extra time to live; but their attempts to scale classic PalmOS up to take advantage of more powerful hardware and more frequent connectivity never really came to much.
        • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Programmer_In_Traini (566499) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:48AM (#39522069)

          well, i agree with your postting, but i dont think you're right on what RIM's main problem is/was.

          RIM suffered from executive indecision. they just couldn't agree on what the playbook should be like, what features it should sport. Aim to sweep the young adults market or focus on pleasing its already existing business clientele. Ultimately they went for middle ground and they failed because 1. Their first version arrived almost at the same time as the ipad SECOND generation arrived, almost withing the same month. and 2. they failed because the device isn't competitive enough for the ipad, so forget mass consumer market and the device failed to meet the business clientele market and they failed there too.

          Mostly, i would wager that RIM would have made it out alive if they had entered the race within the same month or two as the first ipad. people wouldn't have had expectations of what a proper tablet should be and mass consumer market could have been swayed either way. i think ipad still would have come out ahead, but perhaps RIM wouldn't have bitten the dust so hard.

          There is still hope for RIM and their playbook if they decide to remain in the tablet business. It remains the only tablet certified with the FIPS-140-2 (encryption) standard, and therefore makes it the best tablet for business models. But they got to screw their heads tight and stop trying to get both markets. Their new playbook 2.0 os has potential, the support for android as well. modifying their Blackberry enterprises software (bes) to support android, blackberry and itunes is a move that very well could save them.

          RIM's not done yet, but clearly their boat is heading toward the niagara falls (they're canadians, get it?? :p) so they need to make their next decisions right.

        • Re:like palm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by errandum (2014454) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:00AM (#39522195)

          I see your point, but I don't agree with you (at all)

          Those protocols were design for computing power lower than a calculators'. They would have run on pretty much anything. What RIM did was construct a whole network to provide secure communications to the users of their phones, while having a great UI for it (at the time), and that was revolutionary. It was never that you couldn't get e-mail on phones, just they went the extra mile. They were what other players aspired to be...

          On the other hand, now they are not doing it. Pretty much everything RIM has done in the past few years has been trying to catch up, and when they do, their competitors are already miles ahead.

          The only way RIM will ever reach the pack is if they skip trying to develop everything from scratch and just add their ideas to Android (Nokia is living proof that windows mobile 7 will not sell, even if you do great handsets). With it they can take advantage of everything Android already does and differentiate themselves by doing some of the things better (much like they did in the past).

      • Re:like palm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by datavirtue (1104259) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:56AM (#39521495)

        Several years ago I looked into becoming a Blackberry developer. I noticed their site was terribly unprofessional and it reminded me of a mom-and-pop shop at times. Just from visiting their site and wading through the developers section I decided to forgo wasting my time on their platform since it was obvious their management had serious problems. I think the principles made out like bandits many years ago and really just stopped caring all that much. They milked it for what they could, and now you see the end. RIM has been dead for years.

        • by swalve (1980968) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:50AM (#39522095)
          That's weird, because I went to that site one time and found it refreshingly clear and complete. "Here is what you need to do X Y and Z." And I downloaded the application to make custom interfaces, and it worked as advertised. Now, I'm not too experienced with that kind of stuff, but it's the first time I've ever had something like that work.
          • by iONiUM (530420)

            The site is awful, one of the worst I've ever used. So I don't know what you're talking about.

      • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:57AM (#39522159) Homepage

        I would say this is an example of "Lead, follow, or you'll be pushed out of the way."

        The real story here, the story that most people on Slashdot don't like, is how Apple reinvented the smartphone market. Blackberry was king of a world where smartphones were for self-important middle-managers. Smartphones were annoying, the didn't work very well, and they weren't useful for very much anyway. Yes, you could browse the web, but only on this little mobile-only browser that didn't display web pages the same way as your computer. Yes, you could respond to email, but email. Yes, you could theoretically install a 3rd party app, but there selection of 3rd party apps that weren't complete junk were awfully limited.

        And then Apple came along with the iPhone, and the mobile industry shuddered. You had a phone that rarely crashed, was easy to use, and did many of the things that only full computers used to do. Email could be setup to use normal mail protocols. Web pages looked like web pages. You could sync your music and listen to it as easily as you could on a high-end dedicate music player.

        Apple was leading the way, and most of the cell phone industry was smart enough to follow. You got Android phones in response, and Microsoft developed a better version of their mobile OS. RIM... did nothing. And now, as a result of their inaction, they're being pushed aside.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          That's not true. RIM wasn't doing nothing. RIM was doing all sorts of truly innovative stuff for the large enterprise market that Android and Apple are nowhere near close to having. But RIM did not develop the client connections nor the large consulting group required to get these server products actually implemented. So RIM had really cool technology that didn't get implemented.

          If businesses were using the full RIM solution RIM phones would have fully integrated universal communication suites while App

    • I figure by now, if you're still working for RIM, you're boned.

      The time to leave was 3 years ago, and not when the big boys are lined up at the hatches with golden parachutes strapped to their backs.

      (All I can say is, I'm damned glad I turned down an offer from RIM two years back as an email admin... a part of me always regretted that a little. Not anymore. Now if only I can get my employer to dump this crappy little BB Curve and get me a real phone...)

    • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dcherryholmes (1322535) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:42AM (#39521361)

      Palm innovated its ass off with webOS. It failed anyway, but not because of that.

      • Re:like palm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by glop (181086) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:01AM (#39521537)

        Well, that was after a long stagnation. And the disruption was so major that there was little connection between the old business and the new. A customer with a Treo or Palm V probably had the same shock switching to an iPhone or a Palm Pre.

        Also, webOS came after the iPhone. That makes it less innovative, since most of the differences between an old Pam were pioneered by the iPhone:
        - get rid of pen, use fingers
        - capacitive multi touch makes keyboard less needed, so get rid of it.
        - get modern OS and not 16/32 bit kludgy memory address space
        - get real browser
        - PDA swallows the phone and not the reverse

        Personally, for me the Treo was the time when Palm failed to innovate. Notably, they rejected the low end. I remember seeing 100$ phones, 100$ Palms. But there was no 150$ Palm-phone, only a very expensive Treo.

        So, in the end, I'd say Palm is really a company that failed to innovate in time. And note this is really a case of innovating and not inventing. If you look at my bullet list, nothing was really groundbreaking in 2000. So it's not that they were unlucky and the guys in the labs didn't have the "Eureka moment". It's that they didn't look at what was possible and put it together quickly enough.

        That's really quite sad, Palm was a company that had understood some really important things about simplicity and focus on the core features.

    • Re:like palm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:52AM (#39521457) Homepage Journal

      either you innovate or you are out of business really soon

      Or you innovate really well and run headlong into a ridiculous patent infringement lawsuit that soaks you for 2-3 years worth of your R&D budget, and then you have no choice but to stop innovating... The NTP shake-down of RIM pretty much directly marked the beginning of the end for them. It's a cautionary tale, really.

      • by Stellian (673475)

        Or you innovate really well and run headlong into a ridiculous patent infringement lawsuit

        Amen to that. The patent minefield makes it impossible for a small company to compete. The ability to innovate has nothing to do with it, bringing an innovative product to market involves also using allot of other simple and obvious ideas that some other large company had the opportunity to patent since they've done it first. At that point your options are to either:
        - patent your ideas, hide them really well, and expect some other large company inadvertently use it, then become a patent troll

    • by tgd (2822) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:27AM (#39521811)

      either you innovate or you are out of business really soon

      Yeah, the only thing worse than a Rim job is a Palm job these days.

  • Titanic is sinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by na1led (1030470) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:13AM (#39521131)
    and the first ones to bail are the Captain and ship mates.
    • by lxs (131946) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:20AM (#39521187)

      I didn't know Francesco Schettino was in charge at RIM.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      If they did the opposite by slashing engineers with no reductions to upper management you could spin that at least as badly.
    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:53AM (#39522125)
      You are confusing with the Costa Concordia. Edward Smith, the captain on the Titanic went down with his ship [wikipedia.org].
  • This plane is going into a nose dive!
    Now the question is who will buy the brand, patents and customers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Brand : Worthless
      Customers : Leaving in droves, and no reason to stay now
      Patents : the only asset they have left to strip ...

  • Misleading title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:15AM (#39521141)

    The title of this story is misleading.
    There is nothing about firing in the source article.

  • by alphax45 (675119) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [derfla.elyk]> on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:17AM (#39521153)
    http://crackberry.com/rim%E2%80%99s-q4-weak-results-and-outlook-and-brutally-honest-ceo-commentary [crackberry.com]

    Looks like Thorsten is actually being the CEO now. Might get worse before it get's better. I have faith (mostly because not much else is left)!
  • Incidentally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xacid (560407) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:17AM (#39521157) Journal

    I got issued a Blackberry Bold for work yesterday and so far I've been incredibly impressed and actually like it more than my Android phone. It's something I never thought I'd get into but the physical format and the UI made pretty good sense to me (unlike android which feels disorganized/non-intuitive in a few places).

    Where I think RIM has really failed is in regards to creating a culture around their devices outside of the workplace. Android has geeks and counterculture, Apple has the hipsters...and well everyone else. When I think of people with Blackberries I think of corporate culture and suit and ties - what young consumer wants to be a part of that?

    Anywho - for my own selfish reasons I hope they continue (at least from my first impression) making quality devices and figure out how to market themselves outside of the enterprise.

    • by lxs (131946)

      Don't forget teen girls who send 765 messages per day.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Thank you. It's good to see someone else who actually likes their Blackberry. I've had one for years, and am getting tired hearing from everyone else how much better the Androids are and iterating reasons despite the fact that they've never owned one. I've tried Androids on multiple occasions. I returned them. They're fun for a few days, but when it comes to being productive, I prefer my Blackberry.
      • Re:Incidentally (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RubberMallet (2499906) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:41AM (#39521355)

        I've got both a Blackberry Curve 9360 (my work phone) and an HTC Android... and I detest using my Blackberry. The UI is terrible... really terrible. The call quality (on the exact same provider as my Android) is atrocious to say the least - which is a much bigger issue than an annoying UI. Trying to read an email, type an email, send an email is an exercise in annoyance and frustration, swiping that stupid track spot and invariably having to back-track all the time.. Trying to dial a phone number... or worse, remember which button it is to hang up the call instead of leaving the call open which I always seem to do first.... every single call.

        Basically my Blackberry sits on my desk in standby because I have to have it there... but if I want to do anything "real" I use my Android which works very very very well.

        I'm not the only one that feels this way either. Amongst the staff where I work, exactly zero like the Blackberry phones (we all have slightly different models of either Bold or Curve and 2 people have the Touch).

      • What exactly, in the realm of productivity, is easier on a Blackberry? I'd be interested in hearing some examples :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SexyHamster (174881)

          What exactly, in the realm of productivity, is easier on a Blackberry? I'd be interested in hearing some examples :)

          Good points:

          • battery life, on/off schedule helps. This also prevents people from waking me at 3am
          • Good default email app
          • Good default calendar app
          • BMM is excellent
          • Easy to manage, deploy security policy for large number of devices
          • Works well as a voice phone. Good call quality.

          Bad points:

          • For a small group of workers BES is more of a hassle than a gain
          • Most of the entertainment apps are terrible. I've given up on finding one that isn't awful. This does not hinder work productivity, however.
          • The UI is fairly weird
    • Re:Incidentally (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoobixCube (1133473) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:31AM (#39521265) Journal

      Different strokes for different folks, I guess. With a Blackberry, I often find myself scratching my head, but with an Android phone, even in the early versions, disarrayed and beta-ish as they were, and the current versions, laden as they are with manufacturer crapware like TouchWiz, I've never been left wondering "now where do I find that feature?"

    • Just a hint: If you thought BlackBerry was stupid before you actually tried it, maybe you shouldn't call Apple users hipsters before doing the same. Just sayin'. Most geeks I know use Apple, because they can afford it. Most hipsters I've seen at university use Android, because its cheaper and "different".
    • Come to the UK, BBM was touted as the organising system of the riots we had last year ... the teen market bought them because of this ...

      But they are abandoning the consumer market ....

    • No, Android has regular, everyday people. Apple has the people who don't flash a second thought at dropping $1000 on something trivial, or those poor saps who can't afford it but desperately want to belong. Blackberry is and has been a pariah.

      corporate culture and suit and ties - what young consumer wants to be a part of that?

      A lot of them.

    • We still use Blackberry devices almost exclusively at work. We have done pilot projects on both Android phones and the iPhone and neither one has all of the features we need in order to integrate the phones into our corporate environment. As long as that remains the case I think they are going to have a lock on a certain portion of the corporate and government markets. The real question is whether that is a large enough and profitable enough market to keep them in business. If any of the other smart pho
    • by jzarling (600712)
      They tried to market to a younger culture by touting their BBM service a couple years ago - however Twitter took off and well...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:18AM (#39521159)

    RIM's failure is attributable, in no small part, to flat-out engineering laziness. For example, I recall their networking APIs made developers responsible for figuring out which transport mechanism (e.g., cellular, wi-fi) was available when they wanted a HTTP connection. That's nonsense. The developer just wants a connection. Irritants like these were systemic, and these make developing quality software nearly impossible. Granted, users don't see that part, but they do experience it indirectly as programmers are forced to reinvent solutions to simple tasks that ought to be high level abstractions.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      RIM's failure is attributable, in no small part, to flat-out engineering laziness.

      You try taking a $612M hit directly to your bottom line and see how much free time you have left to be "industrious". RIMs mistake was in rolling over to NTP and expecting that they wouldn't be the only one that NTP brutally dominated in court (despite the technology on other platforms being pretty much identical). NTP had $615 million in the bank, why would they bother with any more time in court instead of just settle for some low-ball licensing deals? After that, competitors had such a huge advantage o

  • I've heard of rats deserting a sinking ship but this is the first time I've heard of them being *cast overboard* as well!

    I had a co-worker who left a great position at a good company to go work for RIM about a year ago. Everybody told him he was nuts. I get the feeling he's regretting that decision right about now.

  • by Sgs-Cruz (526085) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:18AM (#39521177) Homepage Journal

    Having only recently gotten into the smartphone game (July 2011), I didn't really know anything about the industry back when RIM/Blackberry was king.

    But now, having read some about it... wow, what a waste. They basically had huge, fat, margins, essentially no competition in the smartphone arena, for almost five years - and freaking sat on it and did almost nothing. Meanwhile Apple and Google were in the lab inventing the future. Unbelievable.

    Like most Canadians the story concerns me because what does it say about the country? I sometimes wonder - even if RIM had had a clue and tried to come up with something iPhone- or Android-like, could they have done it without the California engineer and developer community? They had the money, but could they have enticed the brilliant graduates of top American schools to move to Ontario? And I don't mean to say that Canadian engineers aren't good, but that Apple and Google have access to a global talent pool - did/does RIM? (Fascinating question: How much does snow and ice have to do with the fortunes of a mobile phone developer?)

    It's a sad but interesting story all around. I hope they can turn things around but I don't see much chance of it at this point.

    • by alen (225700)

      RIM was only ever good for the enterprise market to give employees email on the go. first it was the execs and then the worker bees so they couldn't give the excuse that they couldn't work on the weekend because they didn't see the email.

      the original iphone was overpriced but it looked cool. original androids were crappola. RIM had years to release a new product but they stuck to their BES/BIS investment. can't blame them. after spending billions of $$$ on a cloud computing solution before cloud was everywh

      • by Amouth (879122)

        i wouldn't count RIM's system as a "cloud computing solution" from everything i've ever read on the many many many outages they have had, their systems do not scale well at all.

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          i wouldn't count RIM's system as a "cloud computing solution" from everything i've ever read on the many many many outages they have had, their systems do not scale well at all.

          i wouldn't count RIM's system as a "cloud computing solution" from everything i've ever read on the many many many outages they have had, their systems do not scale well at all.

          Who said they weren't full of thunderstorms? Yes RIM was in the cloud before it was cool, the outages were a regular and inevitable byproduct of a system that was only mildly redundant (basically just like all cloud solutions now) and since they will probably be gone to dust before the new cloud wave hits full speed, expect the same lessons to be re-learned all over again.

    • Fascinating question: How much does snow and ice have to do with the fortunes of a mobile phone developer?

      Well I don't know about mobile per se, but Boston is one of the larger innovation hubs outside California in the US (These days more biotech than straight IT stuff, but there's some of that too), and the climate isn't that different from Ontario. Vancouver also is in the same climate zone as Redmond more or less. I can't help but think that the rather beautiful SF Bay area climate doesn't hurt them though.

    • by na1led (1030470) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:46AM (#39521399)
      RIM's failure is due to their focus on getting support contracts with businesses. They're biggest selling product was BES which was plagued with bugs and issues. Our company used to have a BES server, and almost every week we had issues with it. RIM's support was also a joke, and sometimes they couldn't even fix a problem that was related to their product. Put it simple, the rest of world moved on to new upgrades, and RIM stayed stagnant.
    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:03AM (#39521565) Homepage Journal

      Having only recently gotten into the smartphone game (July 2011), I didn't really know anything about the industry back when RIM/Blackberry was king.

      But now, having read some about it... wow, what a waste. They basically had huge, fat, margins, essentially no competition in the smartphone arena, for almost five years - and freaking sat on it and did almost nothing. Meanwhile Apple and Google were in the lab inventing the future. Unbelievable.

      Like most Canadians the story concerns me because what does it say about the country?

      Go back and read about the NTP settlement. RIM was brutalized in a way that's hard to compare. And those fat margins? Every penny went to paying the patent troll under the bridge so they could take their phones to market.

    • It's a common problem. You've seen companies fail due to this sort of thing, (e.g. Palm) and you've plenty of other companies go through years of sitting on their hands and failing to improve their products (including Apple, Microsoft, Motorola). It's a problem of upper management being short-sighted and risk-averse.

      The management probably didn't want to spend too much money on R&D, because that cuts into their profits. Why not keep squeezing the cash-cow they have? You saw this debate recently within Google, where people on Slashdot were arguing about whether Google should be funding all these experimental products, or whether that was a waste of shareholders' money. People don't like spending money, and any exertion of time and effort and money will threaten to alter the status quo. People don't like altering the status quo, especially not when the status quo is working for them.

      But then they're also short-sighted. They don't think about how the world changes and technology changes. They don't have a long-term plan for remaining dominant, because they haven't yet taken note of the challengers. They think, "We're so important, we'll never be displaced."

      This is often how the powerful fall.

  • ITSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alomex (148003) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:21AM (#39521195) Homepage

    ITSS: It's the software stupid.

    Blackberry got to where it was on the strength of its hardware. Problem is the iPhone changed the game and now the software is as important as the hardware.

    The blackberry web browser was inferior until rather recently. Developing apps for a BB was a mess compared to the iPhone, the playbook couldn't even read emails until the latest update.

    RIM can easily survive: Apple was in worse shape for far longer than RIM and still made a come back. However they need their own Steve Jobs who can refocus the company and develop a product that is a unique proposition, just like Apple developed, in rapid sequence the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:29AM (#39521249)

    you're finally getting a well deserved vacation for all the hard work you put in the last 15 years

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:37AM (#39521313) Homepage

    Maemo is toast, Symbian poofed. Not RIM is going. Wall St and cell carriers did this.

    It's like the ocean now only has two species of coral. Android and iOS make up the entire eco-system.

    What fun is that?

     

  • by Jmc23 (2353706) on Friday March 30, 2012 @08:40AM (#39521339) Journal
    I remember when slashdot used to cover tech stories before news outlets and definitely before I saw it on the evening news. Now slashdot is covering stuff after it's aired on the evening news, sometimes with a delay of days, and covering it badly with sensationalist titles I'd expect from Fox! It's been dying slowly, discussions becoming more Us and Them and science fanboi yelling with little thought out argument or logic. The tide has turned and in the future this year will probably be seen as when the demise of Slashdot occured. :(
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      I remember when slashdot used to cover tech stories before news outlets and definitely before I saw it on the evening news.

      I remember when Slashdot used to cover stories years after they happened, post duplicates and had some of the worst summaries known to man. I don't know where you get this from.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Oh, I take that as a constant. But besides that it used to cover things you would never hear of in the mainstream news, let alone right after it airs on the news. With the amount of slashvertisements now, the repeats of mundane news stories you can hear on the actual news, and the lack of quality dialogue there really isn't any compelling reason to come to slashdot anymore.

        Despite my UID, I've been here since the beginning. I remember the days when I would almost get excited about what possible things wo

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:36AM (#39521917)
      Nothing wrong with people first hearing news elsewhere then coming here to discuss it after stewing on the implications. That makes for more interesting posts.
  • To the cadre of senior execs who ran their company into the ground, walked away from the smoking hole with millions and millions of dollars leaving the workforce 'free to pursue other options!"

  • They panicked. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by concealment (2447304) on Friday March 30, 2012 @09:25AM (#39521771) Homepage Journal

    This reminds me of Yahoo: they're listening too much to the pundits, looking too much at trends, and not doing what is known to succeed, which is figuring out what you do right that people like to buy and getting better at it.

    I am sorry to see this happen to RIM, but their competition did just up the ante with Android. I still like a lot of the Blackberry features better and often feel their hardware and software is better engineered, but a generation or so behind. Sometimes that's the price you pay for stability but sometimes it's a liability.

  • by sootman (158191) on Friday March 30, 2012 @10:29AM (#39522509) Homepage Journal

    "Jim Rowan, chief operating officer of global operations... is leaving to pursue other interests."

    Interests include candle-lit dinners, long walks on the beach, and working for a company that isn't circling the drain.

  • by ulzeraj (1009869) on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:59PM (#39524351) Homepage

    My boss uses a Blackberry. We're a Novell shop and use eDirectory and Groupwise... and there is some kind of integration with the BB. On the other side, the iPhone clients for Groupwise are very expensive and don't offer basic features like push notifications.

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