Open letter to RIM from anonymous executive highlight’s RIM’s troubles

Fri, Jul 1, 2011


Yesterday BGR posted a scathing letter to RIM’s senior management team from an anonymous RIM executive highlighting the companies many inefficiencies and explaining the fundamental problems the company faces in its attempts to stave off ever more threatening competition from the likes of Google and Apple.

A few excerpts:

We are in the middle of major “transition” and things have never been more chaotic. Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time. We urge you to make bold decisions about our organisational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products.

Let’s obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care. We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work…

Next, the anonymous executive stresses yet again the need for RIM to stop basing initiatives off of carrier requests in an effort to “squeeze out slightly more volume.” For as much grief as Apple gets for forging its own path, the ongoing demise of RIM highlights the importance of maintaining a clear and precise vision and executing accordingly.

Also a problem for RIM is that its app store is seriously lacking. Indeed, with Apple now sporting well over 100,000 dedicated iPad apps and even more iPhone apps, companies like RIM and HP have long uphill battles to climb to even come close to reaching the same level of app selection. And certainly not helping things is RIM’s notoriously poor SDK.

We urgently need to invest like we never have before in becoming developer friendly. The return will be worth every cent. There is no polite way to say this, but it’s true — BlackBerry smartphone apps suck. Even PlayBook, with all its glorious power, looks like a Fisher Price toy with its Adobe AIR/Flash apps.

Developing for BlackBerry is painful, and despite what you’ve been told, things haven’t really changed that much since Jamie Murai’s letter. Our SDK / development platform is like a rundown 1990′s Ford Explorer. Then there’s Apple, which has a shiny new BMW M3… just such a pleasure to drive. Developers want and need quality tools.

Also of note is a blurb about how RIM needs to have a more cutthroat, dare we say Apple-esque, type of culture where people aren’t afraid to let go of people not qualified for a particular job. The letter highlights how the developer behind the BlackBerry 9530 software is still running important software initiatives.

“Just because someone may have been a loyal RIM employee for 7 years,” the letter reads, “it doesn’t mean they are the best Manager / Director / VP for that role. It’s time to change the culture to deliver or move on and get out.”

The entire letter is worth a serious read. Especially for those managing RIM wondering why they’re still struggling compete with Apple and Google


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