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.
- 07-24-13, 12:32 PM #2
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?)
- 07-24-13, 12:38 PM #3
- CrackBerry Addict
07-24-13, 12:57 PM #4
- 596 Posts
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.
- 07-24-13, 01:20 PM #6
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.
- CrackBerry Abuser
07-24-13, 01:38 PM #10
- 268 Posts
Imagine if the co-CEO's were still there...BB may be an afterthought! History is repleat with blunders such as that.
- 07-24-13, 03:03 PM #12
And he was in charge of their Mobile platform and we know that they don't really have one.
- 07-24-13, 04:06 PM #14
"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.
- 07-24-13, 06:17 PM #16
- 07-24-13, 08:23 PM #18
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; 07-24-13 at 08:40 PM.
- 07-24-13, 11:13 PM #20
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- CrackBerry Genius
07-25-13, 04:41 AM #21
- 1,587 Posts
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; 07-25-13 at 09:40 AM.
- 07-25-13, 05:00 AM #22
- 07-25-13, 07:09 AM #23
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.
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- 07-25-13, 10:21 AM #24
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"
- 07-25-13, 11:01 AM #25
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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