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6/30/2011
12:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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RIM Employee Blasts Leadership In Letter, RIM Responds

A well-placed manager at Research In Motion has published a letter to the company's executives, beseeching them to make the bold decisions needed to save the company. Late Thursday, RIM responded.

"I have lost confidence," an anonymous RIM employee writes. "While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone--the sentiment is widespread and it includes people within your own teams."

Thus begins a from-the-heart letter directed at RIM's senior executives about the problems facing the maker of BlackBerrys. The author, which BGR.com says it was able to verify works at RIM, reveals a lot in the letter, much of which would likely get him or her fired. But the letter doesn't simply lambaste RIM's co-CEOs. The author took the time to lay out an eight-step plan that he/she believes could help turn the company around. Many of them gel with what analysts and media watchers of RIM have been saying for some time.

"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 organizational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products."

Let's look at each of the points.

1. Focus On The End User Experience

In a word, yes! The letter suggests that RIM needs to stop kowtowing to wireless network operator demands and make a device that offers a stellar user experience. This is exactly what many of us media types have been saying for years now. The author notes that rather than continue to make fun of the Android and iOS platforms--while trying to reach feature parity with those platforms--RIM needs to bring new features to the fold.

"When was the last time we pushed out a significant new experience or feature that wasn't already on other platforms?" the author asks. Good question, indeed.

2. Recruit Senior Software Leaders & Enable Decision-Making

"We need some heavy hitters at RIM when it comes to software management. Teams still aren't talking together properly, no one is making or can make critical decisions, all the while everyone is working crazy hours and still far behind. We are demotivated."

The author points to Apple, Google, and Microsoft and the accomplishments these companies have made in the last few years and then notes that RIM has hardly created any innovative software by comparison.

RIM truly needs some internal leaders who have vision and the authority to act.

3. Cut Projects To The Bone

I alluded to this in my post Wednesday about a QNX-based superphone from RIM. It needs to follow Apple's model here--at least in the short terms--and get one absolutely killer product to market ASAP.

"We need to be disciplined here. We can't afford any more initiatives based on carrier requests to squeeze out slightly more volume. Strategy is often in the things you decide not to do. ... We simply must stop shipping incomplete products that aren't ready for the end user. It is hurting our brand tremendously. It takes guts to not allow a product to launch that may be 90% ready with a quarter end in sight, but it will pay off in the long term."

RIM needs to focus as many resources as possible on getting one perfect device to market. After it does that, it can expand its depth with more variants.

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