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7/3/2012
10:01 AM
Eric Zeman
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RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral

RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins offered some damage control during a radio interview and vowed to turn the company around.

RIM needs to sell a positive message right now and that's exactly what CEO Thorsten Heins hoped to achieve when he spoke to Canada's CBC Radio Tuesday morning. Heins clearly wanted to redirect some of the negative press the company has received since it announced its quarterly earnings late last month.

"There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now," said Hein, according to transcriptions of the interview. "I'm not talking about the company I ... took over six months ago. I'm talking about the company [in the] state it's in right now."

Exactly what state is that? Well, the company just had one of its worst quarters in years, delayed its next-generation smartphone platform, and announced layoffs that will affect nearly one-third of the smartphone maker's employees. What's important to keep in mind that these results paint a picture of decisions made months, if not years, ago.

Heins is on a mission to turn the company around and part of the problem is that the outside world hasn't seen any evidence of that. So when Heins says he thinks there's nothing wrong with the company, he means its strategy and direction today are the right ones to pursue. We won't know that for sure until early next year.

[ Wall Street has a dim view of RIM. Read RIM Is Broken, Morgan Stanley Says. ]

Heins also bristled at accusations that the firm is ignoring the competition, specifically Google's Android platform and Apple's iPhone.

"This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral," said Heins. "Yes, it is very, very challenged at the moment--specifically in the U.S. market. The way I would describe it: we're in the middle of a transition. All that is in the making, it's in the works. This company is in the middle of it and I'm positive we will emerge successfully from that transition."

I only hope RIM can hold on that long.

BlackBerry 10 was originally supposed to launch during the first half of 2012. Earlier this year, RIM updated that to the end of 2012--a delay of nearly six months. Last month, RIM said that BlackBerry 10 won't arrive until the first quarter of 2013, long after iOS 6, Windows Phone 8, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean arrive.

"RIM's development teams are relentlessly focused on ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform and I will not compromise the product by delivering it before it is ready," said Heins. "I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next generation smartphone user experience."

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Chris Spera
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Chris Spera,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/11/2012 | 4:51:30 PM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
I don't think Heins is kidding himself, I think he's doing his job - painting as rosey a picture as possible to keep investors as calm as possible so they don't move their money.

Yes, I think he knows, "they're never gonna make it. [They're] doomed!" But I also know that as a CEO he can't SAY that without having many additional investors jump ship, taking their money with them. RIM can't afford that right now.

Heins' job is very difficult. He's got to maintain what investor confidence he can, while still trying to get/bring/find value for shareholders. If that's finding a buyer or large share partner, he can't do that by saying that the big splat that you just heard was RIM hitting the ground...
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
7/5/2012 | 2:11:15 PM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
I would not have expected any respectable CEO to run around saying the sky is falling. He's simply following the one fundamental we all should have been taught in sports, ignore the naysayers and the crowd and focus on your mission, your objective. I would not have expected him to say anything else. Note his other comments, "it very challenging", "we're in transition" (overdue perhaps but when did he take the reins), "not ignoring the world," all seem to say he is cognizant it will not an easy time.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
7/4/2012 | 3:32:30 AM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
Really. What was he expected to have said?
GBARRINGTON196
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GBARRINGTON196,
User Rank: Strategist
7/3/2012 | 8:15:34 PM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
I don't theink they are in a death spiral, I think they are already dead, but just haven't had a chance to lie down yet.

Even if they manage to avoid actual death at this point, what is the best possible scenario? managing to scrape by in 4th or 5th place in Market share? Is that position good enough to thrive in what is essentially the fashion industry? (And let's be honest, personal communications, all consumer elecrtronics, really, is nothing more than fashion)

I hear they have close to 2 billion dollars in the bank, maybe the shareholders ought to take that money and get out of town.
EVVJSK
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EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2012 | 5:33:12 PM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
No, it's a plummet !
ANON1234301472779
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ANON1234301472779,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2012 | 4:40:33 PM
re: RIM CEO: We're Not In A Death Spiral
Not in a death spiral? Oh, then RIM must have already crashed into the ground and no one noticed. There's no other possibility as long as their hardware lags 10 years behind the cheapest Windows and Android phones.
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