RIM CEO Heins: As delusional as predecessors?

RIM CEO Heins: As delusional as predecessors?

Summary: RIM's chief says nothing is wrong with the company but risks sounding like Jim Balsillie 2.0 in an attempt to keep customers, employees and a flagging ecosystem in the fold.

TOPICS: Mobility, Mobile OS

Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins
Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins is the Mr. Fix-it who is going to restructure and revamp the company. The problem is Heins increasingly sounds like the old tag-team of co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

Reuters recapped a Heins interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Heins said:

"There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now. I'm not talking about the company as I, kind of, took it over six months ago. I'm talking about the company (in the) state it's in right now."

Heins then acknowledged that RIM has its challenges but talk of a death spiral is way overblown.

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His comments were the second dose of Balsillie deja vu in recent days. On RIM's earnings call---following a dismal loss report---Heins broke out the same playbook that Balsillie had. That playbook---not to be confused with RIM's tablet---goes like this:

  • Announce a delay launching the BlackBerry 10 platform.
  • Tell the world that BlackBerry 10 is a game changer.
  • Convince folks that BlackBerry 7 devices are worth buying in the meantime.

Heins' conference call talk came straight from the Osborne Effect recaps. There were multiple times on RIM's conference call when I thought the quotes could have come from Balsillie, who talked up BlackBerry 10 more than a year ago.

Although RIM may have restructured and could be different than six months ago, the same results appear. A 52-week low, worries about cash flow and serious questions about BlackBerry 10's ability to save RIM indicate that there's a lot more than "nothing" wrong about the company.

rimprototypeCredit: CNET

Granted, Heins can't say publicly that RIM is in big trouble, but his comments rhyme a little too much with the former regime's talk. I understand why Heins talks this way. His comments are geared to investors---the ones still around---RIM's home country, customers and employees. If RIM is going to be saved Heins has to make all the stakeholders believe.

The risk here is obvious. If Heins comes off as Balsillie with an accent, any hopes of a turnaround are dashed. Heins and RIM have a fine line to walk.

Topics: Mobility, Mobile OS

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  • The guy is allowed to lie a bit.

    After all he is trying to make the best of it to sell to someone. I believe the legal term is "reasonable puffing of the wares". Actually, they could stabilize.
  • Larry writes another article bashing RIM, delusional as always?

    What should he say? Uncle?

    The guy has guts and is trying to fix a company that was in a death spiral before he took the helm.

    Don't let your hatred blind you.
  • Have to admit

    The experience on BB10 looks like it might be really solid, will try it out
  • You know what???

    I heard all of this before somwhere. Let me think.... Oh yeah, a fellow by the name of Steve Jobs and a company called Apple.

    Just food for thought...
    • blowing smoke

      ((( "I heard all of this before somwhere. Let me think.... Oh yeah, a fellow by the name of Steve Jobs..." )))

      Steve didn't blow smoke about Apple when it was failing -- he called it like it was. Here's what he said upon his return as interim CEO:

      "Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die."

      For an hour of brutally frank, unvarnished straight-talk about Apple and its problems in the 90s, check out Steve's Q&A from the 1997 Worldwide Developers Conference (six months after his return):

  • You are right

    I dont often fully agree with articles on here, but you are right. A well balanced assessment. Not definitely a disaster, but a VERY fine line. As a major corporate buyer, I am definitely looking for alternatives to reduce any risk of impact on our business if he fails.
  • RIM comitted the ultimate sin...

    They didn't sell out to big media and all the other vested interests as well as Apple and Google did. Current smartphone tech seems to be about deriving as much information about the end user as you can under the guise of delivering a better product, while at the same time telling the customer what he wants. It is becoming a strange world.
    RIM is about a different experience. Did they evolve their products and build their own markets enough? Apparently not. Bad on Rim for not keeping their eye on the ball, er puck.
    As an aside, I would be interested to see how much MSFT, AAPL, GOOG and RIMM spend on advertizing at ZDNET.
    • Denial...

      ...it seems, is addictive. Confusing desirability, usability, features, changing fashions and value, is easy when you have your company's collective head in the sand. For fans to do the same and ascribe it to advertising in zdnet is...is...
      ...not a river in Egypt.
  • At least Elop had guts

    Elop was willing to admit that Nokia was on a burning platform, Heins is not.
    Come on, Rim is on a bigger burning platform than nokia, At least Symbian was making its shipping dates, and Nokia's industrial design and cameras are second to none.
    • Elop enviserated Nokia

      "Elop was willing to admit that Nokia was on a burning platform, Heins is not.
      Come on, Rim is on a bigger burning platform than nokia, At least Symbian was making its shipping dates, and Nokia's industrial design and cameras are second to none."

      Yeah, but he lit the funeral pyre, by dumping two revenue producing platforms (Symbian and MeeGo) before the Windows Phone handsets were firmly established. As soon as he did that, the market for Symbian and MeeGo handsets dried up, and company was toast. Elop was a former Microsoft exec, and apparently still had some allegience to his former company (conspiracy theories, anyone?). Promote Windows Phone at any cost, even if Nokia goes bankrupt. Sure, the Nokia phones look really good, I'd even buy one if Verizon would carry it. The market does not stay still, and looks like Microsoft has now thrown Nokia under the bus by announcing Windows Phone 8 would not support Windows Phone 7.5 devices. Now people are going to wait for Windows Phone 8. Not to mention Nokia doesn't have a monopoly on Windows Phone devices, so there will be competition coming with Windows Phone 8. So Nokia is not out of the woods yet, I hope it survives in spite of Elop.
      • OPK is to blame for Nokia's downfall, not Elop.

        OPK is to blame for Nokia's downfall, not Elop. Also Jorma is to blame for protecting OPK for so long. And the board? What were they doing letting Jorma have a free hand for so long?
  • So funny to read this article today...

    Blackberry could have become a second Nokia if had been acting as stupid as Elop.
    Now it's just the other way round, Blackberry booms and Nokia is done...:)