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RIM CEO On What Went Wrong 299

AZA43 writes "After releasing some very ugly financial numbers in late June, BlackBerry-maker RIM went on a media blitz to downplay the significance of its latest earnings and counter increasingly negative media attention. ... But a new Q&A with BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins offers a unique take on what exactly went wrong at RIM — Heins blames the company's downfall [partly] on LTE in the U.S. — and he actually seems genuine in his answers." A peek into the mind of RIM's upper management.
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RIM CEO On What Went Wrong

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  • by Terry Pearson ( 935552 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:57AM (#40613399) Journal
    Just thinking that Android had to put up with LTE and it did just fine. Maybe Blackberry's problem is user interface, tight control of apps, and now a crowded market with better products.
    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      Just thinking that Android had to put up with LTE and it did just fine. Maybe Blackberry's problem is user interface, tight control of apps, and now a crowded market with better products.

      I don't know if this is right, but I suspect that the open source nature of Android forces a separation from the operating system and the actual telephony stack. The telephony stack was closed source, I think it may be open now in Ice-cream Sandwich, but the architecture would have had to make the higher level OS layers communicate through a well-defined interface, making it easier to switch telephony technology.

      I would be interested if anyone can confirm this suspicion (or show it to be incorrect!).

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:23AM (#40613695)

        On both iOS and Android the telephony and normal OS are quite seperated. It has nothing to do with open or closed source, just that they treat it as yet another device like the touch screen or the camera. I am not sure how BBOS handles it, but to not do it that way would be stupid.

        Even ICS needs closed source drivers for GSM/CDMA radios and often wifi. Hardware companies as always are a huge PITA. The big news with ICS is that all Nexus devices save for Sprints Galaxy Nexus are supported via closed source but publicly available drivers for this kind of hardware. The Nexus S 4G(sprint) and the Verizon branded Galaxy Nexus were the two just recently added back into the AOSP fold.

        • I am not sure how BBOS handles it, but to not do it that way would be stupid.

          Any time I've used Blackberry software on the desktop, server or phone I've thought it was stupid. I wouldn't put it past them.

          Blackberry may have made mobile email popular, but that is irrelevant now. The only thing that they still do best (as far as I can tell) is provide cheap roaming costs.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#40615339)

            I can assure you, without a shadow of a doubt, that the API for managing communications over the radios on BlackBerry devices is one of the stupidest things ever created. In particular, it requires the application developer to handle the idiosyncrasies of the hardware/physical layers while communicating over the transport layer.

            Need a TCP connection over cell network? Write this set of software. Need a TCP connection over WiFi? Oh, there's a completely different set of APIs for that. Neither Android nor iOS puts developers through those idiotic hoops.

            Net result: the software devs at RIM appear to be complete fools.

            • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:26PM (#40615945)

              It's probably because IOS and Android+Linux were complete, general OS stacks designed for, you know, computers, whereas RIM s/w was designed to run on low-end electronics like pagers and early cellphones, so is much more limited and specialized, then added to in an adhoc fashion as the hardware got faster and more memory.

              What really happened here is that the cellphone got replaced by a portable computer that happens to be able to phone people. RIM and to be fair many others got caught napping when that happened.

              • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @02:35PM (#40617825)

                I actually think that is the case.
                Blackberry had 2 things going for it.
                1. A really good keyboard. I never owned a Blackberry, however I was handed on a after I had an iPhone, and I found that keyboard was really nice to use... Better then other phones with a physical keyboard, or good touch screen keyboard....

                2. A secure method of sending emails and other messages.

                Now #2 became more of a liability then an asset, because these portable computers that happen to have phone features, supported standard secure ways to transfer data. And you could choose Wi-Fi or your Data Plan. Then what really hurt was the random Outages at RIM that left customers messageless.

                For #1 They still have a good keyboard... They started to push phones without it, and failed (Because not getting a keyboard is a step back). And the phones with it, caused you to have less screen real estate making it harder to make mobile sites that work for iPhone and Blackberry. While we loved the keyboard, we found that we read more then what we typed. Having a good keyboard that takes up half your phone, isn't an efficient use of the device.

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          I am not sure how BBOS handles it, but to not do it that way would be stupid.

          Actually no, if you can get away with it then it's better if you can skip on extra chips, since that bring the bill of materials down and nets you better battery life. that's pretty much how some manufacturers africa phones have weeks of standby and long talk times - the fewer arm cores you need the better it is.

          for a random manufacturer it's easier to buy the phone on a chip and just bolt that on, not smarter or more efficient - just easier.

          doesn't have much to do with rim though since afaik all their desi

          • They use a Qualcomm Snapdragon single core chip which uses TZones in order to implement the moral equivalent of a hypervisor to run the baseband firmware on the same processor they use to run the UI.

            Since there are four published exploits for the TZone model, letting people unlock the phones would let them have access to the baseband software, and through that, the ability to modify the SDR (Software Defined Radio) to operate outside of FCC/pick_your_country's_regulator spectrum.

            Since the regulators have a

      • I think all mobile environment have a well defined radio interface layer (RIL) similar to what's in Android. There's something specific to Blackberry thought, it's that in 2G/3G they have their own protocol stack. It's still run on an external baseband modem chip made by others (Freescale from memory, but I may be wrong there), but the PS is BB own and not made by the modem chip vendor as is now more common. This used to be a common model when the modem was the key to a phone, as it was important to be in c
    • by noh8rz5 ( 2674523 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:19AM (#40613643)
      The problem is BYOD - bring your own device. people would rather use their own gear than RIM. Actually, the real problem is that consumer electronics have been growing leaps and bounds, and business electronics have been stuck in the past. It used to be that businesses could afford the real stuff, while consumers got the cheeps. Now, my computer at home is faster and more pleasing to use than my POS at work. RIM fell into the "POS at work" category. People's eyes were opened by the iPhone, and they began to have a higher standard.
      • ^^^ Exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:57AM (#40614177) Homepage Journal

        We only just recently turned in our pagers at work ( ! ) Meanwhile I own a Samsung Galaxy 2S (Sprint Epic Touch) which is better than 90% of the phones I see during the day. One concern is proprietary info on personal devices - most phones will play friendly with exchange servers, but companies don't want you to have that stuff on your personal device if you are fired or quit.

        I think part of the reason isn't enterprises being "stuck in the past", but they are more cautious when deploying new systems and approving software for use.

        The economy is another factor. The machine at your desk is already paid for.

        New machines vs. someone salary - it's better to keep your job.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:29AM (#40613789)

      It shows how clueless they actually are. LTE has nothing to do with it. The problem was after the iPhone the phone became a "computer in your pocket" and RIM still had "Email in your pocket" - which suddenly looks a lot less compelling.

      RIM can't just do "something like an iPhone" that isn't going to wash. They need something radically new, clearly communication needs to be at its core (what were they thinking with the Playbook v1 - no email?!) Probably they need something with a keyboard (though how do you make THAT exciting?) as so many of their customers want that. They need excellence in industrial design. Personally I think they need the "blinky light" that shows you have a message. They need a far better UI (using the current Blackberry UI is an exercise in irritation). Most of all, "covering the bases" isn't enough, they need a "killer app" - being "competitive" can't save them, they have no momentum.

      And they need integration with a mobile device (like an iPad or Ultrabook - Blackberry users are keen on those keyboards).

      Can they do it? Hmm... seems vanishingly unlikely.

      • by TXG1112 ( 456055 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:30AM (#40614507) Homepage Journal

        I was mostly happy with my BlackBerry Bold, but the real issue for me wasn't apps, it was the shitty web browser and small screen. The killer app for smart phones is the Web. If they managed to get that to work seamlessly, they would have kept their customer base and app developers. What did them in was that the Torch was a buggy piece of crap. The UI for email and contacts and all the other communication functions is already superior to the the iPhone.

        • After many years of BB use, I'm still stuck with a device (Bold 9700) that can't do html mail. Granted, it's almost two years old, but the fact that RIM doesn't port it's newest OS to slightly older devices is a pain. My next phone will be an iPhone or an SIII.
      • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

        Android slide phones like the Samsung Epic (original), Droid(s) and MyTouch 4g slide make a far better "email" platform than BB does.

        The BB sidways keyboard is to small to thumb type but too big to fit on a phone with a decent screen size.

      • They probably need to set their sights on another niche market and win that. Something where they can charge a premium.

        It looks like mainstream consumer phones have reached a stable basic design, which means that there's hardly anything left in terms of major "disruptive" hardware innovation. It's basically a predictable race down to $49 Android phones and $99 iPhones that do everything well enough.

        The next big breakthrough in mainstream phones is going to be something like virtual reality displays, mind-co

      • LTE (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm ( 591458 )

        Maybe not LTE per-se, but faster networks played at part.
        When Blackberry was a shining star, most of their core functionality centered around (comparatively) low-bandwidth textual data exchange. Email, BBIM. Sometimes they might pump a bigger chunk of data but overall nothing compared to media-laden webpages and youtube, etc. Apps generally weren't all that huge either.

        Then you bring out Apple and Android. Web-browser, music store, media, and apps that can be 20+MB to download (plus a few hundred for "conte

    • by JohnnyBGod ( 1088549 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:34AM (#40613865)

      Do you think he doesn't know that? This is politics. So you're the CEO of a company. Are you really going to come out to your shareholders and say "We're in the shit 'cause our competitors have done better? We'll one-up up them now! Promise!" Of course not! This raises nasty questions like "Well, why didn't you do better before it was a problem?" or "Oh yeah? And how are you going to do that?", questions which either aren't productive or can't be answered without showing your cards to your competition. No... instead, you make up some silly excuse that sounds plausible to anyone who isn't in the know.

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:38AM (#40613941)

      RIM needs to give up on the OS.

      Due to the traditional enterprise focus of Microsoft, I personally think it would be in RIM and Microsoft's favor to join forces by releasing a few good WP8-powered Blackberrys.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:53AM (#40614117)

        I am not sure the blind leading the blind is the best method for RIM to survive. If WP7/8 actually sold a large number of devices it might be worth it. Instead they need to support ActiveSync on their own devices and offer their software/services on non-BB devices as well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hendridm ( 302246 )

          That's a good point. It seems to me RIM would have been a much better fit for Windows Pwn than Nokia is.

          Buy RIM, fire everyone, sell RIM-style keyboard phones with WP on it to existing customer base branded as Microsoft BlackBerry, which will be pleasing because it integrates nicely with all the other Windows bullshit they already have (says the salesman).

          With Nokia, Microsoft just made a shitty company shittier*. With RIM, the scam might actually be believable.

          *Note to Nokia fanboys: Nokia phones suck. The

      • Yes, and they should announce the end of life of their current platform so that sales drop to zero. Oh, and they should abandon their entirely new product line in favor of Windows Phone 8. It's probably time for Heins to right some serious memo about how RIM is on a burning platform.

        • Yes, and they should announce the end of life of their current platform so that sales drop to zero. Oh, and they should abandon their entirely new product line in favor of Windows Phone 8. It's probably time for Heins to right some serious memo about how RIM is on a burning platform.

          Yes I know, it should be write the memo. Gosh I miss post-posting editing.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:04AM (#40614257) Homepage

        Give up on the OS? RIM has the only real time kernel on the market. Everyone else is using a server kernel adjusted for the desktop and then readjusted for the phone. The OS is one of their few remaining strengths.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          They already gave up their old OS, which I have real trouble believing was real time.
          Their new OS is QNX, which is real time, but I still don't see how a real time kernel helps them.

          No desktop operating systems I know bother with them.

          • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:22AM (#40614427) Homepage

            I was talking about QNX. Real time helps them because it makes the system much more responsive. Phones because of weak CPUs, network interference and limited memory often have noticeable lags. A real time kernel allows the phone to always be responsive to the end user while handling those tasks effectively.. It also allows for vastly more sophisticated power management which can result in much longer battery life.

            And you are right desktop OSes don't use them. All the desktop OSes since the days of OS9 have been designed for servers. Which means they focus on throughput not responsiveness, and then adjusted for the desktop to some extent.

            • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:11AM (#40615013)

              That is not exactly what a Real time OS does. Given not enough CPU to handle all the tasks it abandons any that take too long. Users really don't like those sorts of things. Real Time operating systems are really only good for that environment, where late means worthless.

            • Look, this obsession with real time kernels and OS cores is nonsense. Apple built their product line on a *BSD core, they polished and optimized the phone and created the market leader. The OS kernel is not the defining characteristic of the user experience. What matters is attention to detail, UI and software design.

              BTW real-time kernels do not excel at optimizing performance. Their design objective is to sacrifice overall performance by maximizing performance for certain specific tasks. If you can't build

      • Yeah, that's what Palm thought too. People smell desperation and they would get a bad whiff from a Windows Phone adorned Blackberry from a mile a way. Really bad idea.
      • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @12:26PM (#40615957)

        I've said it elsewhere, but what I think is that they need to release an Android phone that has the same back-end security as a BlackBerry. Sure, let users download apps and play with them in user land, but launch a corporate app and its content is locked down and protected. This is what Trusted Computing is for. (I'm not saying I would buy one for myself, but were my company to issue a phone I had to carry, having it act like a standard fully-featured Android phone plus have corporate support would make it better than a regular Android phone for sure.)

    • by bitt3n ( 941736 )

      Just thinking that Android had to put up with LTE and it did just fine. Maybe Blackberry's problem is user interface, tight control of apps, and now a crowded market with better products.

      But blaming on LTE means their problem is well-defined and therefore manageable (stock price goes up), while blaming on lousy products, poor strategic vision, and increasing competition means their problems are multifarious and deep rooted (stock price goes down). Thus it is obvious what the problem must be.

      it's like an alcoholic who blames his latest bender on someone spiking his shirley temple.

    • If you read the article instead of the summary, you'll see that he's actually well aware of that and it's not just him saying "derp we weren't ready for the arrival of LTE" (in spite of how the summary makes that appear to be the case).

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Android (Google) had very little to do with the LTE. Samsung, HTC, Motorola did just find with LTE. And yes as the RIM CEO indicates in the interview they thought it was going to come out more slowly, they were focused on smaller markets and missed the boat.

    • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:19AM (#40614377)
      RIM's immediate problem is BlackBerry faithful holding out for BB 10 devices. Up until this last quarter RIM hadn't had a sizable reduction in sales. Their stock has taken a beating because they hadn't grown at the same pace as the smartphone market leading to sensationalist headlines decrying their impending doom because they were losing market share. While technically true it is like saying the baker on the corner is going bankrupt because 500 people moved into the neighborhood and the baker is still selling the 100 cakes a week he had for the last decade while 2 other bakers opened up shop and are selling 200 cakes a week each. The iPhone opened the smart phone market up to a new demographic. RIM was created to serve a completely different demographic and their culture has struggled to reach the new market. That market has started to erode their core market so they are indeed in dire straights if they don't do a course correction and they are well aware of that. They are doing what needs to be done just slower than the market would like. There are a lot of factors that will determine if RIM remains relevant but to count them out would be foolish at this point. Did you bet against Apple in the 90's? I bet you did...
  • Apple happened (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oconnorcjo ( 242077 ) * on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:59AM (#40613415) Journal
    I always thought that the palm pilot was a great idea, but if it had phone functionality, it would be perfect. Blackberry never saw this idea too well. When Apple finally figured it out, Blackberry was dead man walking.
    • by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:18AM (#40613627)

      but come on, everyone knows that business people aren't allowed to enjoy themselves on flights. if the IT goons didn't lock down the phones so that you can't do anything on them the company will fall apart? imagine the horror of the director of something using his phone to download a non-IT approved app like Angry Birds to play while on a business trip? the client will freak and pull the business

      if you take the power away from the IT goons to lock everything down what will they do? how will they get their power trip on?

      • Re:Apple happened (Score:5, Interesting)

        by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:32AM (#40613835)

        The IT goons as you call us were the ones quite often pushing for the death of RIM.

        My and my goon coworkers pushed to have RIM banned from our company. If you have our company buy you a device you can select an iPhone or Android of your desire. If you BYOD same rules apply if you want any support. We aren't total dicks, we just will not do better than best effort. If it a RIM device comes in and does not work out of the box or they have any trouble at all we just suggest they return it for something else.

        We have saved tons of time not having to deal with repushing servicebooks, pulling batteries, and restarting the whole BES server. Which is a PITA since it takes out email for all its clients.

      • IT does nothing.. and I mean NOTHING... without it being crammed down our throats by management, legal, or regulatory departments. We would rather get back to playing CoD or Warcraft and considering our pay has been on average slashed by half in the last 8 years, that's all the living we get any more.

      • Re:Apple happened (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:36AM (#40614577) Journal

        but come on, everyone knows that business people aren't allowed to enjoy themselves on flights. if the IT goons didn't lock down the phones so that you can't do anything on them the company will fall apart? imagine the horror of the director of something using his phone to download a non-IT approved app like Angry Birds to play while on a business trip? the client will freak and pull the business

        if you take the power away from the IT goons to lock everything down what will they do? how will they get their power trip on?

        Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the "IT goons" lock things down? Do you REALLY think it's a power trip? Are you that much of a child that you believe that to be the case? Or are you just trolling? Have you ever actually just asked to have Angry Birds added to the approved app list, or do you just complain about it like a petulant schoolgirl?

        Given that you have a low user ID, I'm going to assume you've been on Slashdot for a long time and therefore are at least somewhat technical. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you truly are not a moron and that you know that things get locked down for one reason and one reason only: To protect the company from idiot users. If left to their own, users will invariably create huge regulatory compliance issues (which can easily result in fines in the millions of dollars), introduce malware into the network, lose data, the list goes on. IT is responsible for the company data. If you want to take responsibility for that data, then you can decide how to protect it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Swampash ( 1131503 )

      RIM had a complete internal panic when Apple unveiled the iPhone in 2007, a former employee revealed this weekend. The BlackBerry maker is now known to have held multiple all-hands meetings on January 10 that year, a day after the iPhone was on stage, and to have made outlandish claims about its features. Apple was effectively accused of lying as it was supposedly impossible that a device could have such a large touchscreen but still get a usable lifespan away from a power outlet. []

    • Re:Apple happened (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest ( 935314 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:02AM (#40614233)

      Because Compaq (then later on HP) never invented PDAs (this is what they were called before smartphone became the prominent term) with phone capability called the iPaq, nor was this name used even before the iPod. Palm pilots with phone functionality is basically exactly what newer model iPaqs were.

      Apple didn't "figure out" this concept, far from it, it was already well established in the marketplace. What Apple did succeed in doing however was to bring it to consumers - RIM, HP, and even Dell's devices were business oriented, and whilst some consumers liked business features enough to embrace these devices as a consumer oriented tool, they were never going to compete with devices that were targetted purely at consumers, rather than business.

      It's the same reason that the likes of Netbooks sold hundreds of millions of units and took the market by storm in just a year or two - because to that point, most laptops out there were focussed either towards businesses, or the expensive high end power user like gamers, and again, whilst plenty of people bought laptops, finding value in them as a personal tool regardless, the consumerisation of them as netbooks really made the whole market explode. Tablets are again no different - the iPad was nothing new, tablets had been done in a way similar to the iPad since at least 2002 with Windows XP Tablet Edition's introduction (of course there were precursors to even that, but this is the point at which they became viable in the way they are now), but they were never consumer oriented, and so never really took off.

  • LTE? (Score:5, Informative)

    by headhot ( 137860 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:00AM (#40613425) Homepage

    Its not being ready for LTE that kill them, it was the lack of modernizing the user interface and modern phones that killed them.

    • Its not being ready for LTE that kill them, it was the lack of modernizing the user interface and modern phones that killed them.

      Exactly! RIM was dieing way before LTE was anything more than a pipe dream... heck even now LTE isn't that big of a deal for most buyers...

    • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

      This just goes to demonstrate that RIM's upper management is about a few lightyears away from the cause of their downfall.

      If this information is genuine, I don't expect RIM to be around anymore in 5 years.

      • Haven't you learned not to trust slashdot summaries? Of course there's selective out-of-context quoting - but ultimately he acknowledged several major problems that led to the current situation. LTE was listed as one of them, but indirectly. If you're actually interested, the article is a good read; and shows that they're not *quite* so out of touch as the /. summary leads you to believe.

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:03AM (#40613453)

    It's a pocket computer. -THAT's- the big shift that RIMM missed, and -is still missing-.

    Nice summary of what the iPhone changed here: []

    • It's a pocket computer.

      I agree... and don't. It's certainly not a traditional Windows machine crammed into a pocket computer. It's something for people to surf the web, check their email, do their social network thing, look at the weather, listen to music/watch videos - all the things they use a "computer" for besides work (unless you count email). But there is almost zero time spent on configuration, debugging, etc. People do change background pictures and ringtones and things like that, but they certainly don't interact with th

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        I agree for many people it is that way, and mostly it is a good thing. For me less so, but that is because I use SSH on my phone, I use it to write perl and in general spend a fair bit of time at the console. I also run ROMS, build apps etc. The fact that I can do that and my girlfriend does not even have a file browser installed on hers is great.

        • Yes, I should have started with a disclaimer that I wasn't talking about the Slashdot crowd :)

          The first thing I do whether my phone is an iPhone or (currently) an Android is root/jailbreak it and install ssh... it's my preferred way of updating my ports on my FreeBSD machine since it stops so frequently.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:04AM (#40613459)

    "we missed on some innovation..."
    "we weren't ready for it..."
    "not being focused on the new, innovative technologies..."

    and finally: "I would not say that we failed to innovate."

    • and another one:

      The delay of BlackBerry 10 is not because we added stuff to it. The delay is because our software groups were actually so successful in coding the [..components and building blocks..] that when we put them into the main "trunk line," [..] we got overwhelmed by integration efforts.

      so adding stuff is bad, but adding components is good?


    • That pretty much sums it up. The guy is completely oblivious or in denial. He failed, and if he can't even admit they failed to innovate, then the company isn't out of the woods yet.

      Blackberry made an awesome successful product, and thought they could simply coast from its popularity for the next 25 years... they had no idea other companies would come up with better stuff in the blink of an eye. In computer world, 10 years is an eternity. Seeing your shortcomings and fixing them is the key to success. Bl

      • by Dynamoo ( 527749 )
        I think they lucked into awesome success though - BlackBerry always was a corporate solution, it just turned out that consumers were looking for the same sort of thing they were already making and they managed to jump on that market.

        As for innovation, well look at the whole QNX acquisition mess. RIM bought QNX in 2010, but it's going to take until 2013 (at least!) to come up with a QNX-based OS (BlackBerry 10) for their smartphones. The only place they are using QNX is the dead-end PlayBook OS. By 2013 it

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:05AM (#40613475)

    I just read RIM has sold one of their corporate jets [] in order to stay afloat. That's pretty desperate.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    RIM = Research In Motion

    They simply sat down and rested on their laurels and forgot what their company name originally meant. No research -> No development -> No innovation .... open the barn door for a new player .... Apple.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:06AM (#40613485) Journal
    So, if I understand the situation in bizzaro world correctly, it goes something like this:

    Noble RIM, blindsided(because maintaining strong, mutually beneficial carrier partnerships isn't at all part of RIM's job given that they sell both in-house hardware and proprietary data backend services to carriers...) by the US' sudden uptick in LTE enthusiasm(the same one that was proceeded by a blizzard of advertising so relentless that even drooling morons 'knew' that they 'wanted 4G', even if they didn't know what that meant, and which was necessarily accompanied by a flurry of buildouts and upgraded hardware that the professional channel-watchers and trade rags would never have noticed) caused RIM to be horribly blindsided by the iPhone(which, incidentally, has been quite conservative about bumping connection technologies, with HSDPA only introduced on the 3GS and HSUPA exclusive to the 4S) and various Android devices, many of which were brutally smacked down by reviewers and customers for having early-adopted cell modems that their batteries and/or browsers couldn't cope with in order to sell 'zOMG 4G+++!@!!!" to the cluelesss.

    This development, catching RIM entirely by surprise, and having no apparent effect on the relatively low-speed requirements of RIM's email/messaging/truly awful browser experience, thereby gutted RIM's position.

    Also, the sky is purple, with green dots.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      No what happened in his world what that key Blackberry strengths like message compression stopped being important because network speeds increased drastically. Additionally functionality that wouldn't have been possible with lower network speeds like video and extensive browsing became possible.

  • Yeah! It's LTE's fault. Really, that's why iPhones are selling so badly oh wait! No, they are not selling badly at all!
  • by SkydiverFL ( 310021 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:12AM (#40613561) Homepage

    The company was over confident, overly comfortable in the business space, and simply ignored the customer base... both current and potential. While touch screens were popping up all over the place they were still pushing their tiny physical keyboard. While the competition was bumping up processor speeds to up performance RIM simply slapped on a crude semi-touchscreen which was too big and cumbersome for the core of the device. And, they offered virtually NOTHING to the developer market to foster application creation or distribution. And, finally, they simply ignored their own infrastructure multiple times. In short, they were so confident that their position in the business space was so guaranteed that they turned a blind to everything important.

    • Yep, BlackBerry used to be the "cool" phone to get back when everyone else who owned a smartphone was stuck with the old Windows Mobile. A lot of people back then had BlackBerries who weren't really corporate users, they just wanted the best smartphone, which in the early start of the smartphone was the BlackBerry. Then the iPhone came out, then the flood of Android phones. For business users Android phones and the iPhone have become more and more business centered over time. When it comes down to it, why w
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:19AM (#40613637)

    Either this CEO has no idea what he is talking about or does not want to address the elephant in the room. iPhone and Android support of ActiveSync is what did so much damage to RIM. Had BB supported that many people would have stuck with them just to avoid carrying around two devices, one for work one for play.

    It also freed IT departments from dealing with restarting the phone, repushing servicebooks restarting the BES server and all the other hassle that went with BES. I know companies that moved to iPhone/Android and either fired or repurposed an full time employee that had been previously dedicated to BES.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:21AM (#40613673)
    RIM ignored the generic consumer in favor of selling their products in the business space. At first it worked because no other phone could do well in the business space and back when the only choices were Windows Mobile (the old, slow, unstable Windows Mobile) or BlackBerry many chose BlackBerry even if it wasn't the ideal smartphone, it was better than the competition. Then Apple released the iPhone which was consumer focused, no longer could RIM keep the consumers who just wanted a smartphone because there was a better option. Soon Android started appearing everywhere and iPhones got a whole lot more business friendly. All the while RIM was selling outdated hardware, an outdated UI, next to no developer support, and any time they tried to innovate it was a half-hearted attempt that failed (remember the storm?).

    In a nutshell, why is RIM broke? Because no one wants to buy a BlackBerry because an iPhone/Android does the job a whole lot better.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Well lets look at what you said honestly.
      "RIM ignored the generic consumer in favor of selling their products in the business space. "
      Who else was buying smartphones? They where expensive and business had the money and the need for them.
      "Then Apple released the iPhone which was consumer focused,"
      Because Apple couldn't compete with RIM in the Business space. It lacked security and features. The first rev of the iPhone even lacked apps which the Blackberry had.
      Apple built a very powerful hardware platform. Th

    • by Pope ( 17780 )

      What? No they didn't. They made a huge play for the generic consumer market. Remember the Pearl? That was their biggest mistake: if they'd stuck to their core strength, the business market, they would have come through a lot better.

      That and the PlayBook; what a farce. And their BB server software is crap.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:22AM (#40613685) Homepage Journal

    I have to run Blackberry Enterprise Server. Its a complete pain in the ass in terms of support and main. Its years behind, and its clunky, chunky, and we end up going through endless workload and silly upgrade games. The handsets break if users look at them. I have to do warranty on them daily, and BB now quibble over each return, making the whole thing fail.

    The handsets themselves - good email platform, crap at everything else. And the world _is_moving off being email platform centric.
    Blackberry messenger is a bright point, but that should be broken out and made an application layer across all mobile devices. The same could well be said for the application layer and so on.

    Their network is creaking, but is the one serious advantage that they have, but leverage poorly.

    The playbook should have been a blackberry in a tablet form. Instead you needed a BB and as PB to get function. = Fail. Do not now how that ever, ever, ever passed QA and system testing.

    If I were BB, I would go software only, and build my whole thing as a software/API/Network package, and build on that. Make the software a package available on all main platforms (Android, IOS, Others) and sell on data packages, and data transit using BB networks. And I'd radically overhaul BB enterprise server into something cleaner, better supported and easier to install, manage, run.

    If they stay in the handset market, they need a killer phone/tablet BB 10 release, and they need to cut down handsets to one cheap cheerful, and one kickass model (curve/bold) and stop shipping masses of differening handsets, and make the things robust (the current models are not robust, and are inexusably so) And whatever tablet they ship needs to be a full BB.
    (For the record, the playbook was so close to being very very good, and was wrecked by a simplistically small, but incredibly important part, that the whol board and playbook team need to have their heads banged together until they realise how stupid that fail was)

    Not that anyone at BB listens anymore.

    Nuff said.

    • by Guppy ( 12314 )

      The playbook should have been a blackberry in a tablet form. Instead you needed a BB and as PB to get function. = Fail. Do not now how that ever, ever, ever passed QA and system testing.

      My guess is that RIM management considered it to be feature, not a bug. In their previous dominant position, they were so concerned about not competing against themselves, that they forgot to compete with the rest of the market.

      Instead of worrying that Playbooks might erode sales of higher-end BBs, or managing turf battles between their phone and tablet groups, perhaps they figured they would tie the two together, and *presto* -- ensure customers would be locked-in to the combination, and guarantee RIM mak

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:25AM (#40613739) Homepage

    I'm curious why you decided to take the helm at RIM?

    Surely it should be: Money, Al. Huge, heaving, throbbing piles of money, more money than you'll ever see in your entire life, more money than you can possibly imagine.

    No matter how much of this festering dinosaur I have to carve off and throw to the dino-wolves, there will still be more than I can eat, and I'm going to gorge myself on its rotting corpse until we're down to the lips and asshole.

  • Heins blames the company's downfall [partly] on LTE in the U.S

    Do any customer decision makers make decisions based on LTE, or even know what LTE is beyond marketing? No.

    What killed RIM was they were the first to market and became the corporate near-monopoly standard. They focused hard on F500 customers because thats the only place where the money was in the smartphone market. Until everyone and their brother bought a iphone, which tipped the overall market from being dominated by corporate to being dominated by hipsters buying iphone apps.

    Its a balance thing. Ther

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Oh oh better /. car analogy:

      Every cities got that one car repair shop where they don't care about individual customers because they've got the Big Corporate Contract or the Big Govt Contract.

      Then a zillion competitors open who actually care about individual customers.

      Inevitably the "all eggs in one basket" contract repair shop has an epic fail when the contract ends or the competitive competitors do so much better that the contract repair shop is left in the dust.

      I used to take my car to the local .gov cont

    • by whois ( 27479 )

      As an aside, their product was horribly cumbersome to use. The scroll wheel thing was a failure and any setting you had to find was buried deep under sometimes arbitrary submenus. It's bad when your techie people can't even figure out how to get the thing working. It leads even corporate users to start dropping the platform as soon as something comes along that does what they need and is easy to use (iPhone)

      Remember for years corporations were refusing to allow iPhones because they didn't support all the

    • by Pope ( 17780 )

      Until everyone and their brother bought a iphone, which tipped the overall market from being dominated by corporate to being dominated by hipsters buying iphone apps.

      Yes, Hipsters. 37 million of them in Q1 of 2012. So many hipsters.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:43AM (#40614003)
    Heins will likely join the list of people such as Jonathan Schwartz (Sun Microsystems) and whoever ran DEC at the end as the final CEO of a defunct technology company that one time was a major player. But RIM will likely outlast Nokia for whatever comfort that is worth.
  • I have an idea. Seeing as how I'm the IT Manager at my company and we just switched from blackberries to android devices, maybe they should listen to me. I can't remotely manage android phones at all and certainly not all at once. That pisses me off and makes it so I can't do my job. Why did we switch? The Blackberry Enterprise Server was one giant, glitchy memory leak that caused me to constantly reboot my server. I believe that software is also no longer free. Hmmm. Maybe since they are the only m
  • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:00AM (#40614203)

    then how is the worlds most profitable cell phone company selling only 3G phones?

  • Security is important to just about every business. The idea that if the handset falls into inappropriate hands that all the email, all the contacts and all the notes are wide open and available.

    The iPhone has some security but mostly it relies on two things: a very limited amount of email on the device itself and being able to remote wipe the device from the Exchange server. Which means the user has to (a) recognize the device is missing and (b) call IT real quick to get it wiped.

    Blackberry has the edge

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:10AM (#40614303) Homepage

    The market is doing what it does... it changes. It is the wet dream of every maker/vendor to think they "control the market" in some way. But before they know what hit them, them market changes direction and they are still moving in the same [now wrong] direction they were moving in when the market changed.

    What could RIM do to save their business model? ADAPT.

    Don't toss out those BES's. Don't write off those patents. Build an android phone and then build a blackberry inside of it. Make it a tight little ball that encrypts the file system of the VM it runs in... or better, add its own processor, dedicated to doing blackberry functions. This Real/VM could live inside of "The New Blackberry" which is an Android phone and gets updates and all that, but also comes with an app that enables the blackberry within to talk to the screen and other UI elements and, of course, can share the network.

    They won't have to compromise security with this approach. The blackberry within will still be tight and nearly unbreakable. Plus it won't be burdened with 3rd party apps! It will just be plain, vanilla, predictable and stable. Want apps? Run them on the Android side.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      If it is in a VM it cannot be protected from the host. It is that simple.

      BB is not currently stable, you make can email stop arriving on their devices by squinting at them. How is this new idea going to fix that problem.

  • by Shompol ( 1690084 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:42AM (#40615347)
    Lots of MBA speak and imaginary "what did we miss" reasons, but he still does not get the real reason: they are stuck with the "was cool 6 years ago" paradigm. Blackberry Storm is a move in the right direction, but they say it is an utter failure.
    Is he the CEO? I would not bet on Blackberry making a comeback.
  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:47AM (#40626973)

    RIM has to be the most ridiculously over-analyzed business failure in history. Pick up a Blackberry, use it for 5 minutes. Pick up an Android or iOS device and use it for 5 minutes. Blackberry is terrible, by comparison, and there are only so many stiffs on the planet to justify the "enterprise" features of Blackberry over the other fully capable, yet better designed devices. They simply tried to duplicate the 1990s Microsoft business model of selling a bunch of boring stuff at razor thin profit margins to business stiffs who don't care about anything but the bottom line price. Problem is, people expect more from business tools these days.

    Here's a fun anecdote...circa 2008 all the program managers were toting around their Blackberries (the ones with the stupid scroll wheel). In a meeting and someone needs to check something on the Internet...bunch of dopey PMs whip out their Blackberries but none of them can successfully find/get to/access the web page we are trying to look at. I whip out my shiny new first gen iPhone and am on the site in 5 seconds. Also, for all it's supposed "enterprise functionality" same PMs would come to me on business trips to fill out our time cards (required daily by government contracts) because their "enterprise" Blackberries had problems reliably accessing the VPN to get to the timecard. They also couldn't get their email when they had VPN access issues. You know what connected flawlessly to our Exchange Server via VPN without any need to put an IT ticket in and be without a device for a week? Yeah, my iPhone (and my coworkers' Androids as well).

    So yeah. Be first to market for enterprise level tools on a phone but then spend the rest of your existence being last to adopt things like "touch screens" and there ya go. Business failure.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann