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    Default Head of BlackBerry's PlayBook Tablet Leaves Company

    Head of BlackBerry's PlayBook Tablet, David Smith, Leaves Company - WSJ.com

    A senior BlackBerry Ltd. BBRY*-0.15% executive who was in charge of the largely unsuccessful PlayBook tablet is no longer at the company.

    David J. Smith, an executive vice president in charge of mobile computing, left the company within the past few weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Smith couldn't immediately be reached.

    A BlackBerry spokesman confirmed that Mr. Smith is no longer with the company, saying that he "resigned for personal reasons." The spokesman added that Mr. Smith "is committed to working with BlackBerry through a proper transition."

    Mr. Smith's exit is the latest in a string of executive departures for the Waterloo, Ontario, company as it works to further trim its workforce after 5,000 employees were laid off last year.

    The Wall Street Journal previously reported on the departure of BlackBerry's U.S. sales chief and the exit of two executives in charge of key social media and contacts-related functions at the company. More layoffs of middle management are planned, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Mr. Smith, an eight-year veteran at BlackBerry, was put in charge of the company's PlayBook tablet a few months after its 2011 launch. The tablet, which stumbled out of the gate due to what many analysts considered a lack of core features, never sold well, and last year the company wrote down nearly $500 million in unsold PlayBook inventory.

    In May, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said the PlayBook would not be updated to the company's new BlackBerry 10 operating system, effectively ending its life cycle.

    But the company is working on a new smartphone with a larger screen, referred to internally as the Aristo, said people familiar with the matter. The phone is due out later this year, these people said.

    A BlackBerry spokesman declined to comment on future product plans.
    Another departure that begs the question -- did he leave because his hands were tied by upper management, or was he asked to leave because he sucked?
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  2. peter9477's Avatar
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    My memory told me I'd posted something in a thread that referenced him a long time back. My google fu found it here (from 2.5 years ago): PB monthly updates Please!!!

    I wonder if performance was an issue here. A result of the supposed new focus on actually meeting goals? (Or was that solely about sales numbers?)
    Battery Guru for BB10 tracks voltage, power, battery health. (Also on the PlayBook.) White Noise helps you sleep or concentrate.
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  3. RubberChicken76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter9477 View Post
    My memory told me I'd posted something in a thread that referenced him a long time back. My google fu found it here (from 2.5 years ago): PB monthly updates Please!!!

    I wonder if performance was an issue here. A result of the supposed new focus on actually meeting goals? (Or was that solely about sales numbers?)
    Or just a simple layoff. If BlackBerry is getting out of the PlayBook business, you don't need the head of the PlayBook division. The dev resources can more easily be re-allocated to other projects.
    ------------------------------------
    I like how BlackBerry 10 is evolving, but when are they going to fix BlackBerry Link for Mac?

    The fact that it doesn't reliably do what it's supposed to do ... most of the time ... is utterly appalling. The only consistency is the "Music not copied to Z10 message"
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    Clearly the PS was mishandled from the start. It should have been sold only as companion device and not as competition for the iPad. Although I still think it's a pretty good tablet, it's design is far too "industrial" for consumers to ever fall in love with it. I think DS was clearly deficient in making the product a success and with such a relatively small user base, pretty much dictated it's future direction (or lack there of...).

    Of course, the jury is still out if all these management changes will eventually lead to a better direction for Blackberry, but it does look like the bad branches are being pruned.
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    If he had his way im sure the z10 would have had a solid bridge app to support his product. Sad. The pb had so much potential. If only bb were committed to the playbook like they said they were.

    Correction: like heins said they were.
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  6. RubberChicken76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexybabe88 View Post
    If he had his way im sure the z10 would have had a solid bridge app to support his product. Sad. The pb had so much potential. If only bb were committed to the playbook like they said they were.

    Correction: like heins said they were.
    there comes a point where it's time to let the PlayBook go. In the case of woulda, shoulda, coulda, it doesn't matter now. My armchair CEO view is that Mike and Jim didn't "need" to rush out out the door. Without key apps, they still would have struggled, but maybe there would be a large enough base to continue making PlayBooks if they had say - waited six months, launched it at $349 (if feasable), launched it with 2.0 out of the gate, an NDK, BES support and a couple of 'killer apps' like Angry Birds. Maybe then it would have got off to a stronger start and had more of a footing before the wave of cheap tablets like the Kindle Fire arrived. And perhaps then there would have been a better case for a successor tablet which would have helped justify some of the work for the older PlayBook.

    But alas ...

    But let's be honest ... the thing was dead long term when BlackBerry had to write down a half billion dollars on unsold inventory. Then it became a big mess to clean up and move on from.
    ------------------------------------
    I like how BlackBerry 10 is evolving, but when are they going to fix BlackBerry Link for Mac?

    The fact that it doesn't reliably do what it's supposed to do ... most of the time ... is utterly appalling. The only consistency is the "Music not copied to Z10 message"
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    Simply letting go of old blood and starting anew with fresh ideas.
    @BruvvaPete
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    He was there for eight years. Did he suck for the entire time, or just with the Playbook?
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    All the heads leaving are freaking me out... how do you run a company like that?

    Posted via CB10
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    Quote Originally Posted by njblackberry View Post
    He was there for eight years. Did he suck for the entire time, or just with the Playbook?
    He was probably "great" and "great" people get great projects, but like another post, his hands were probably tied by other segments of BB and the realization that the tab market would slow down. Samsung had a lot to do with the tab market and their mega phones sizes. Tablets are not sustainable. BB could have had a chunk if it invested in it earlier. Technology moves a a rapid pace (as seen in the smartphone wars). With Thor coming in, he streamlined processes to make it easier for BB to respond to rapid changes.

    Imagine if the co-CEO's were still there...BB may be an afterthought! History is repleat with blunders such as that.

    Go BB!
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    It's because the PB is dead. He was redundant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by njblackberry View Post
    He was there for eight years. Did he suck for the entire time, or just with the Playbook?
    It sounds as if they threw him in the life boat (after it launched according to the article) but did not provide any paddles. Also, if I recall, Thor did not kill it in May but officially only last month or was that this month. Although, Thor probably did kill it earlier.

    And he was in charge of their Mobile platform and we know that they don't really have one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzballz View Post
    It's because the PB is dead. He was redundant.
    Actually he is a very smart guy. Bail while the ship is sinking.
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    "David J. Smith, an executive vice president in charge of mobile computing".

    As far as I know BlackBerry does not have a mobile computing strategy. The closest thing I've seen is TH's pie in the sky references to his vision of what it might look like with BB devices at the center of the consumers communications, data and media computing universe. It's possible Smith may have been at odds with TH over defining a strategy and quit. Such things happen when one disagrees with his boss.
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    Would have been great to be a fly on the wall. Kinda vague if he quit or was asked to leave. Makes sense either way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbreakablej View Post
    All the heads leaving are freaking me out... how do you run a company like that?

    Posted via CB10
    Actually it's more common than you think. In larger organisations it's the people on the shop floor who are the ones who are in it for the long haul. Executives come and go with the wind. Have a look at Corporate America, most of the talk is on CEO movements. In my organisation I'm one of the long term Senior Managers and I've only been with the organisation for five years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepngbear View Post
    Head of BlackBerry's PlayBook Tablet, David Smith, Leaves Company - WSJ.com

    Well he was put in after launch of a poorly performing product.
    It had no two way sync
    It had no BBM
    It had no native email
    It only video communicated with like Playbooks and not cross platform which was a complete product miss!!!! Who’s idea was that???
    So, maybe he DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH COMPANY JUICE TO GET THINGS DONE!!!! As was evidenced by the lack of updates or improvements over the course of the product.
    Dammmmm shame, what a way to manage a key product….



    Another departure that begs the question -- did he leave because his hands were tied by upper management, or was he asked to leave because he sucked?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepngbear View Post
    Head of BlackBerry's PlayBook Tablet, David Smith, Leaves Company - WSJ.com



    Another departure that begs the question -- did he leave because his hands were tied by upper management, or was he asked to leave because he sucked?
    Thor make him come to crackberry pb threads and he has not recover since........actually the real story was
    according to a close source, Thor summon David to his office a couple of days ago. On the Ceo desk lay two playbooks. One playbook with stock browser the other with Origami. Thor urge David to type in crackberry.com. Within seconds the playbook with the Origami Browser loaded the web page, while the playbook with stock browser still decheckered boarding. Thor ask David how long have you been working in the company? How many developers and engineers does he oversee? With ashen face, David ran out of the office. Yesterday the wife phone in to inform HR he had contacted incompetentatitis and won't be recovering soon enough to return to his job.........
    Last edited by bambinoitaliano; 07-24-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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    He's leaving SOON!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepngbear View Post
    Head of BlackBerry's PlayBook Tablet, David Smith, Leaves Company - WSJ.com



    Another departure that begs the question -- did he leave because his hands were tied by upper management, or was he asked to leave because he sucked?
    The pb could have been a great tablet. You have to blame Thorsten in my opinion. He signed off on the pb (although it was released missing very important native functions). You have to blame the dept that was in charge of building a strong relationship with developers. Everyone dropped the ball, however it's easier to fire one guy vs taking responsibility for your bad decisions.

    Sent from my Galaxy S4 using Tapatalk
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    PB was handle wrong from everyone.They missed the tablet boat which aint a bad thing.5 inch+ phones will kill small tablet market eventually.But Thor killed this guys baby so probably left for that amongst other things we will never know.
    Last edited by RECOOL; 07-25-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by F2 View Post
    It sounds as if they threw him in the life boat (after it launched according to the article) but did not provide any paddles. Also, if I recall, Thor did not kill it in May but officially only last month or was that this month. Although, Thor probably did kill it earlier.

    And he was in charge of their Mobile platform and we know that they don't really have one.
    Actualy - BBRY hasn't officialy EOL'd the playbook - TH just stood up and said they couldn't get BB10 to work on it.

    Expect the 'official' announcement to be buried in some small modicum of good news that gets released.
    That sir is the biggest load of horse puckey i've ever heard.
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    Rule of Thumb: When an executive leaves a company for "personal reasons " and not to go to some specific other job, it means that they were fired.

    As an executive, he has an employment contract. It has a termination provision. He may have to hang around and transition someone new in in order to gets benefits under the contract.

    Crackberry should not be so trusting of company spin. It makes you look naive.

    Posted via CB10
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    I know of many cases over the course of my career in the tech industry where execs have left for "personal reasons" and were not fired. Usually they've left over disagreements about the companies direction that are in conflict with their vision and goals. And yes sometimes it's a euphemism for "fired"
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    I tend to believe he was simply laid off. No one knows for sure who made most of the disastrous calls on PlayBook design, production, marketing, sales, etc. Thorsten could have been the one, seeing his historical roles in RIM and finally it was also he who put the final nail in the coffin.
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