∞ RIM's co-CEOs: 'Whine' and 'Denial'

RIM shareholders were probably sitting back with their mouths hanging open yesterday as the interview with the company’s co-CEOs hit the Internet.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]RIM is one week away from the release of the PlayBook, a product that could make or break the company, and instead of remaining quiet, the CEOs give an interview. Mistake.

I suppose giving an interview isn’t a bad idea if you are a masterful speaker like Steve Jobs, but if your name is Lazaridis or Balsillie, you should avoid interviews like the plague. In a moment of trying to be helpful, I actually recommended this to RIM a couple of weeks ago, but they didn’t listen.

So, what brilliance did we get from RIM? One week away from the PlayBook introduction, what wisdom did the co-CEOs impart on us? Let’s take a look at what Mike “Whine” Lazaridis had to say.

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth? Why is it that people don’t appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global? Why is it that people don’t appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages?,” said Lazaridis.

Seriously? The fact that you asked those questions in public is one very good reason that people are losing faith in your company. Even if you have those questions, you keep them to yourself.

Better yet, ask your co-CEO Jim “Denial” Balsillie and he’ll tell you that it’s not really what everyone thinks. As good as “Whine” is at acting like a crying schoolgirl, “Denial” is just as good at turning his back on what everyone else knows — RIM has no strategy.

In the same interview Jim Balsillie “vigorously rejected suggestions,” that RIM wasn’t prepared for the tablet to take over the market.

That is a big fat “Denial.”

RIM has said that the PlayBook was about “choosing the right moment, the right time, the right technology.”

Right. Two versions after the Apple’s iPad, seven months after you first announced the PlayBook that didn’t exist, and after the iPad generated $9.5 billion out of the $9.566 billion in tablet revenue.

That seems like perfect timing. And yet you continue to ask silly questions in interviews one week before the release of the PlayBook.

If Apple executives were sitting in a bunker, thinking up crazy ideas of what RIM could do to sink themselves before launching a major product, not even they would come up with something as crazy as doing an interview with “Whine” and “Denial.”

If you take RIM’s two CEOs and throw in the company’s three COOs, you’ll have five of the seven dwarfs. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • BoredInOttawa

    For the longest time I have enjoyed “TheLoop”

    but, ya know what? I’m really getting bored of this “beat on RIM” fixation!

    There is a long list of other mobile device companies (Samsung, Motorola, etc.) that have ALSO ineptly handled tablets, competition with iPhone, etc.

    So: take a few shots at them too.

    Do I like RIM ? no, but I have friends who work there, they work hard to make products that people can use and get value from, and aside from a few too many ex-Nortel managers running around the place, they tell me that there are worse places to work.

    Can RIM have handled the playbook better? hell yes, but again, lets take a look at all those other brilliantly executed tablets out there from the other guys too, and their poor decisions and implementations.

    • I promise, the next time Motorola’s CEO has a public meltdown, I’ll cover that too.

      • BoredInOttawa


        I will say this: given the number of platitude spouting CEO’s out there, the meltdowns are at least more interesting…

    • I have at least two acquaintances who work or have worked at Microsoft. Both are brilliant people who work hard and strive to do better. But they’d have to be blind and deaf to not understand the means by which Redmond keeps killing its own best ideas, and throwing away what might be possibly the best work its creatives and devs have ever done, thanks to impenetrable Windows managers who torpedo anything they see as a threat.

      Neither of them is blind or deaf, and they understand the criticism the company gets hit with.

    • Anonymous

      Jim Dalrymple created this site with which he gets to express his views on various topics. Would you like to be told by people like you what to say and not say? I wouldn’t. If you’re “bored” with this thread, too bad, don’t read it. Simple.

      • Sometimes people forget when to stop and sometimes people need to be told they went too far. There’s a difference between voicing your own opinion and self-gratification. This news was reported on a few days ago, did it need to be regurgitated?

        • Anonymous

          I say again, Jim decides–not you or anyone else–what, when, and how many times he says something. Very simple.

          • Well thank you for being so blatantly and damn right rude. Didn’t come here to be insulted. Nice one Loop you just lost a reader

          • kibbles

            “DanielSw” is not the Loop, is he?

            and it wasnt rude…just stated the facts. deal.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly. Thanks, man.

    • Anonymous

      Tell us “BoredInOttawa”, are all Canadian companies barred from comments in order to satisfy your personal affiliations?

      Come one, you have to admit, every time Lazaridis or Balsillie speaks, it’s pure comedy gold. Even Ballmer doesn’t measure up to these two clowns.

  • Hmmm, sounds like a personal problem, Bored.

    RIM gets “beat on” because their CEO’s and COO’s say and do stupid things, continually. You’ll notice if you look through the archives that when tech companies and their talking heads say and do stupid things, the news outlets “TheLoop” included, jump right on in and take a whack at them.

    But lets face it, I have a five and a four year old who are better composed that the co-CEO’s

  • David_R

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Jim. Right on the money.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I’m kinda enjoying this… good job Jim!

  • Atrim

    It’s killing me to watch these two guys destroy this company slowly piece by piece. Someone please put a mirror to their incoherent faces so that these once great men could find sone humility In themselves and focus on what needs to admittedly be done.

    Failure is the only option for now.

  • Ian

    It’s quite sad. RIM failed to remember who their customers are. All they needed to do was create a tablet that let busy businessmen and executives deal with E-mail and PIM-data (the basics) and worked out of the box with its own Blackberry Server. Instead they got caught up in playing the market share game and penis envy. They still do not get that it’s not too late to make a buck. Find out what their customers need (later what they want), and after testing deliver it. Back to the roots — the Blackberry was as niche as any PDA could be.

    • Jth9234

      Blackberries are a niche? Last I checked, there were over 60 million users of them world wide, even more than iPhone or any single maker of Android based phones (Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc). RIM is still a major player in this market.

      As for the email thing, its a WiFi device, does anyone on here that owns an WiFi only iPad (most popular type, BTW) rely on real time native emails? How could you, when you leave a WiFi area, you won’t get them. So BB Bridge I think is a fantastic idea for a WiFi only device. What so many illogical critics are pointing to as a flaw or weakness I see it as a strength and a well thought out feature.

      I would suspect 3G or 4G models of the PB will have native emails though at launch.

      • Ian

        Jth9234 thanks for your reply! The usage of the word niche was meant to be seen as positive. RIM’s Blackberry Phones were for a specific clientele — the busy executive, the traveling salesman, you know company road warriors. They all loved their devices — hence the term niche – hell the word Crackberry even entered mainstream and international english. Sure RIM expanded and with help from the telcos, phones became available to the masses, but they had major inroads to all kinds of companies and organizations (their main customers) and seems to me that they did not used those paths to conceive, design and deploy a tablet.

        As to a WiFI only device, before I brought my iPhone last October, I used an iPod Touch for the last 4 years — even to check mail. It freed me from my laptop/workstation at work and let me roam so as to offer on the spot support to the users at my company. My problem with RIM and its Tablet is that it looks like a desperate move to prop up and enforce Blackberry phone sales. But time will tell and I wish RIM all the best.

      • GeorgeS

        “So BB Bridge I think is a fantastic idea for a WiFi only device”

        The problem is, the PlayBook has NO email client, so one cannot get email other than through web interfaces. It’s not just BES email–it’s ALL email from POP or IMAP accounts. I have no problem checking email on WiFi with my ancient (2004) PowerBook G4 or my almost-as-ancient (2005) Palm TX. Why can’t the PlayBook, with modern technology, do what my dinky, slow Palm TX can?

        Also, have you tried getting email attachments using the PlayBook?

        • Jth9234

          What is escaping people here? If you have native email and do not have a WiFi hotspot, guess what you have no email or internet for that matter. So native email is irrelevant on WiFi only device, whats so difficult for everyone to understand on that?

          BB smartphones are known for their real time email/notification system, so being able to “bridge” is brilliant. Before I hear, “oh but if you don’t own a blackberry…”

          Thats just it though, BB’s smartphones are not some niche, they are depending on how you measure it, the market leader in smartphones, or under other measurements easily in the top 3 in every possible way to measure.

          So BB users, which there are more of them then iPhone users, may consider this device if they haven’t already bought another tab, such as say an iPad. I would have to figure the overwhelming majority of those that purchase this device are BB users.

          I would agree with the PB being more niche bc of this, but not actual BB smartphones, they are very mainstream…

          • GeorgeS

            “What is escaping people here? If you have native email and do not have a WiFi hotspot, guess what you have no email or internet for that matter. So native email is irrelevant on WiFi only device, whats so difficult for everyone to understand on that?”

            Because it’s just plain wrong. I use email on my WiFi-only devices all the time. So do lots of other people. I don’t have to pay for a data plan–I have a simple phone. I don’t need to check my email every 14 milliseconds. I don’t need need notification.

            Here’s what seems to be escaping you: not everyone uses a phone or tablet like you do. Think about all those millions of people who use netbooks and laptops in WiFi hotspots every day, around the world. You seem to have fallen into the trap/fallacy of extrapolating your personal experience, desires, needs, tastes, etc, to large numbers of people. It doesn’t work.

          • Jth9234

            I am missing what you are saying? Are you saying the PB can’t access email in WiFi and the tablet you own can? Thats false. Are you saying it can only access email when bridged to a blackberry smartphone? Thats also false.

            Two ways to get email on the PB, when in WiFi like every other tablet in existence OR when bridged to a BB smartphone. The bridge feature is unique to this tablet, but it can get email the same way any other tablet can. A lot of disinformation on this tablet.

            As far as how people use tablets or phones, what am I bringing up that most people don’t do? So you don’t pay for data on your phone, fine. You don’t pay for data on your tablet, fine. But this PB tablet can do all the same stuff the other tablets can do in a WiFi area.

            Not sure if people on a mainly Apple site get this? If they don’t, they should.

          • GeorgeS

            “I am missing what you are saying? Are you saying the PB can’t access email in WiFi and the tablet you own can? Thats false. Are you saying it can only access email when bridged to a blackberry smartphone? Thats also false.”

            No, it’s not false–it’s true. Maybe a bit of a tutorial would be appropriate.

            If you have an email address provided by a company, school, internet service provider, etc, you’ll have a “mailbox” that will probably use either POP (Post Office Protocol) or IMAP (Internet Mail Access Protocol)–or allow both–for access. To access that mailbox, you need to use an application/program called an “email client.” For example, in Mac OSX, the application “Mail” does that. iOS has its own application, as well, that comes with the device/OS. (The “application” could, of course, be built into the OS, as well, though it’s almost always separate.) The PlayBook does NOT have such an application. It CANNOT access POP or IMAP email mailboxes via WiFi–only via the tethered BlackBerry.

            Some email mailboxes can be accessed by a web view, but not all. (Of course, there are those like gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc, that are essentially web-based.) Those you can access with a browser. I prefer to use an email client and POP, as it can download the emails quickly, filter them (including filing in various folders/mailboxes ON MY COMPUTER) and store them for later, then delete them from the online mailbox, if I set it up that way. (My laptop and TX are set to NOT delete the mail from the mailbox. The desktop does.) I can organize my email on my computer any way that I like. I can read it without having to connect to the email provider, even when offline. (Obviously, I can’t get new email or send replies without connecting.) I can archive any or all of my emails for essentially forever, until I decide to dump them.

            Perhaps you’ll believe Jim Balsillie, one of the co-CEOs of RIM:


            (See the fourth paragraph and the quote.)

            or from Information Week:


            “One of the PlayBook’s oddest characteristics is its lack of support for any type of email, contacts, or calendar management software. You see, in order to get those services on the PlayBook — at least when it launches — you’ll need to tether it to a BlackBerry smartphone via Bluetooth. Not even POP3/IMAP4 internet email accounts are supported out of the box. You will only be able to grab email via the browser.”

            or ZDNet:


            RIM says that, eventually, it will provide an email client for the PlayBook, but not for 60 (or will it be 600?) days or so.

            Here’s a scenario to consider:

            A customer is looking at the PlayBook in a store. She asks the salesperson if she can get her email with the PlayBook.

            “Sure! Just tether it to your BlackBerry!”

            “I don’t have a BlackBerry. Can’t I get email when I’m at Starbucks, like I do now with my laptop? My friends can with their iPads, Xooms, and Galaxy tablets, too.”

            “Well, errr, uhhhh, hummm—No. BUT, RIM has promised that you will be able to do that Real Soon Now!”

            She puts down the PlayBook and picks up an iPad/Xoom/etc.


            “But this PB tablet can do all the same stuff the other tablets can do in a WiFi area.”

            No, it cannot. That’s the point. Have you even tried the PlayBook? I did. I asked the question above and got essentially that answer, though with a lot more hemming and hawing. The salesperson actually looked embarrassed, though it wasn’t his fault.

            Of course, I’m just a neophyte at all this. I didn’t get online until mid-1985 (with CompuServe on an Apple //c) and only started using the Internet in 1995. My first browser was Mosaic–text only, but I bought the first version of Netscape as soon as it was available.

  • Another gem of an article!!..

  • Maxmz02

    Don’t blame CEO, they want RIM win.   RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.   In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.   It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.   This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.   So don’t blame CEO, some of their VPs and VPs’ expert generate terrible culture and self destruct political environment.