If there was an award for the company that faced certain destruction but kept putting on a brave face it would have to go to BlackBerry maker, RIM. Despite constant bad news including lowering forecasts, missed targets, investor retreats, large layoffs, system failures and further delays on the one the one thing that may have saved the company, if it was ready two years ago, senior execs are still talking up the company’s options and future.
Supposedly, that’s what they are paid to do, but delivering some plausible and achievable strategies might hold them in better stead with investors and employees alike. In a recent blog post, Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations for RIM, said that the company remains “strongly committed” to its developers, following the news that the company’s first device powered by its next-generation platform – BlackBerry 10 – will not now reach the market until early 2013. It is increasingly doubtful that those developers feel any similar commitment to RIM. If they had been waiting for BB10 to save them they would now be suffering the same fate many thousands of RIM employees are facing – dole queues.
When Saunders wrote: “You’ve got businesses to run, rent to pay, and investors to answer to. You are the folks who have skin in the game now, and aren’t just waiting for a new phone personally. We know this delay affects you, and we’re sorry,” he may well have been outlining his own situation.
Yet, despite the bleak outlook, RIM is doing its best to keep developers interested with a 23 city program aimed at driving BB10 development.
CEO Thorsten Heins, on the same conference call he revealed the latest BB10 delay said: “we’re extremely encouraged and excited by the traction that the BlackBerry 10 platform is gaining with application developers and content partners.”
If this is true it might well be the first time anybody has swum through deep water to a sinking ship full of “encouragement and excitement.” It might be time for RIM management to have the same reality check its investors have already had.