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  1. sllock's Avatar
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    Default RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO

    RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO • The Register


    Financial News Small Biz CIO Data Warehousing Service Assurance Tech Panel
    RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO

    Social's where the money is...
    By Andrew Orlowski Get more from this author

    Posted in CIO, 4th April 2012 10:02GMT

    Social's where the money is...

    Analysis RIM ended last week in more self-inflicted disarray. It announced a huge write-down of unsold fondleslabs, a sizeable operating loss, waved goodbye to its co-founder and its CTO, and then had to spend the next two days clarifying that it wasnt deserting its most loyal users.

    All in all, thats quite a bad run. And everybody knows its going to get worse. Theres no shiny new kit running the brand new OS (BlackBerry OS 10) until November. Everyone knows this. But there's another problem. Unless the new RIM CEO receives a rapid course in Speaking Like A Human, people aren't going to recognise any good news when they hear it.

    Reporters following the quarterly earnings call all decided that the big story last week was RIM pulling out of the consumer market. With the English rioting season fast approaching, it couldnt have been more badly timed. In the UK market it is consumers under the age of 25 who keep the BlackBerry flag flying consumers whove bought the devices themselves. In fact, RIM isnt abandoning them at all as the transcript confirms. But thanks to CEO Thorsten Heins stunning lack of clarity, there was enough ambiguity to allow reporters to run their story.


    From the bakelite era:
    the BlackBerry 7730 from 2003

    What Heins actually said was: We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we try to be everybody's darling and all things to all people. Thats the bit everyone quoted. He continued: Therefore, we plan to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments, and we will seek strong partnerships to deliver those consumer features and content that are not central to the BlackBerry valuable position, for example, media consumption applications.

    He then explained that the consumer service acquisitions RIM had made were a bit lame, and would have to go. All of that translates to We cant do it all alone rather than Goodbye, loyal customers!

    But I think reporters were numbed by the rest of the presentation. We used to have a name for this kind of spiel here at El Reg: Gwana Gwana. Thats because as the executive is piling through the marketing clichs, Gwana-gwana is the last thing a reporter hears before falling asleep. Gwana is stored in hospitals for emergencies: when they run out of sedatives, they turn on a tape.

    And Heins speech was straight from GwanaLand.

    The CEO suggested that RIM would look to "integrated services offerings" around assets such as BBM to provide revenue. Hot on the heels of integrated services offerings came "full credit professionals", then "core strengths and value assets", a "unique value proposition", the trusty "seamless integration", "leveraging ... partnerships" and "strategic business model alternatives" and a promise "to drive excellence and operating metrics and efficiency".

    I could go on, but you get the picture. That last part, by the way, tells you he has experience as a chief operating officer. The problem for RIM is that he has to stop talking and thinking like one. Customers and partners and future allies want a bit of confidence and vision, not obfuscation and prevarication. Heins sounds happiest saying that hes got nothing to say right now its under review. Sorry.

    Where now?

    So what might be under review? In other words, is there anything RIM can usefully do for its shareholders and customers between now and November?

    The suggestion that RIM was exiting consumer markets was a damaging story, because in Europe, consumers are its most loyal customers. Enterprises in Europe were never won over in the same way they were in the USA, where the BlackBerry appeared to be mandatory. The BlackBerry was neat cultural fit for people familiar with pagers (no, really). It actually got on and delivered mobile email while the Europeans, with their much more advanced devices, were talking about it. But, reckons Asymcos Horace Dediu, that stopped in 2005. Since then, the real growth in RIMs business has been consumers. In the enterprise, as Heins acknowledged, people are bringing their own devices to work, and dont need another server alongside Exchange if they need Exchange at all.


    The music service builds on BBM a social network

    Meanwhile BlackBerry accidentally set up its own social network. Arent social networks quite big right now? Wasnt there some movie about one? Perhaps somebody is selling some public shares in one of these obscure operations. I wonder what it's worth?

    As Ive written before, BBM is a social network in hardware but it is actually more social and personal, more flexible and subtle, than the big web social networks. Well, the big two. For example, you can set up private closed conferences on the hoof. You could do this 20 years ago on terminal-based conferencing systems, but nobody does it in mobile, let alone integrates it so usefully into everything else on the device, such as sharing music.

    So as the old business falls away, RIM has an extraordinary piece of good fortune.

    It would be fatal to become yet another me-too touchscreen player, as there doesnt seem to be room even for a third player in that market today, let alone a fourth. But thanks to BBM, RIM has already 'moved up the stack', away from the basic communications business. It really needs to remove every other distraction from its strategy. Just forget everything else, for now, other than the hardware that makes its social network nice to use. How RIM gets this hardware out there alone or with partners doesnt really matter.

    This means RIM must innovate around keyboards. I am amazed that RIM has never launched a landscape QWERTY format phone the kind popularised by the Danger Sidekick and copied today many times over in phones such as the Motos Droid and now the Milestone, the Xperia Pro and the X10, and so on. On the drawing board there really should be really lots of such prototypes. The industry today completely neglects consumers' respect and thirst for clever and useful hardware design. Its churning out indifferent black rectangles.

    Times running out, though.

    As Michael Mace, the former Palm and Apple marketing exec, points out in a thoughtful post, RIM isnt in such bad shape as Apple was in 1997, when it posted a billion dollar annual loss and saw its revenue shrink by half. But "sudden extinction events" are much more likely in markets with a rapid replacement cycle like phones. RIM doesnt have, as Apple did, repro houses that will only take Apple files, and Quark designers who only know the Apple software. It does, however have BBM.

    And RIM also has $1.8bn in the bank, which if it uses wisely, should be enough to develop the social network it already has.
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  2. sllock's Avatar
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    I read this this morning and thought it was an interesting read. It speaks of what the media has focused on this past week; that RIM is leaving the consumer market. I don't think this is the case nor that the CEO was trying to give this impression. In pure execudroidnese language it appears he was addressing a particular audience of like minded people such as shareholders and the business world at large. Media picked up on the first easyspeak sentence for exploit and ran with it.

    Thorsten is right. Get back to your roots with enterprise and quit trying to be all things to all people. One of Rims biggest failings has been in the consumer theater with its lack of apps like Skype and Netflix and Google Earth; the list goes on. We as consumers waste time whining and complaining about when we get these apps. RIM is the common denominator here. It is RIM who needs to get them on board.

    Seems to me Thorsten has taken the torch and sees beyond the light. A welcome change from the dark days of late.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sllock View Post
    RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO • The Register


    Financial News Small Biz CIO Data Warehousing Service Assurance Tech Panel
    RIM should focus on BBM, find a human CEO
    I so don't agree.

    BBM used to be a good "social" professional service that was not cluttered with all the noise coming from other "social" services.

    More and more apps are now "BBM Connected" and make more noise than most other.

    Twitter is more or less established as standard for short message communication, Foursquare for telling the world where you are, and Facebook to tell the world what you are eating for breakfast.

    Why do I need BBM to "shout" which radio station I am streaming?

    IF BBM is to be the all-inclusive tell-nonsense-to-the-world App, the What BBM NEED, is filter options to STOP some of the noise from your contacts. Currently it is incredibly annoying having to see all the noise from certain contacts - and usually this makes me either switch off All notifications from BBM, or to delete the contact completely.
    This is bad, because the notification does Not work on a contact basis, but on All - so to silence a noisy user, the BBM suddenly becomes unreliable, since it mutes all other users as well..

    What the RIM platforms DO NEED, is an OS integrated communication with the world leading cross-platform networks, such as Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, Facebook, eMail - and perhaps a selectable "top 5 list" - so that we from ANYWHERE can choose to send text,web-links etc. directly to the network - and also send a copy to a specified e-mail.
    This must of course be available from a system menu in all applications where it makes sense to send/share info from, and Not a function in each individual app.

    If BBM does not change - it must be easy to delete the whole thing.
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    Thanks OP
    Just goes to show how unskilled and/or biased the media really is. When you make excuses thats bad enough but making excuses for colleagues haste just shows lack of credibility and integrity.
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    Media reports BS, Media reports more BS to defend BS.

    I don't blame RIM at all for delaying there meeting with these 'financial analysts'. It is so absurd the author would comment on the way he speaks.
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    i agree that the new ceo should choose his words more wisely because this was his 2nd major public call / speaking engagement with the media listening and the 2nd time RIM has had to clairify what he meant in the days following.
    I'm not saying he doesnt know what he's doing but maybe english is not his first language (he is German, correct?) so he should run what he's going to say by some pr people or something to avoid this type of confusion.

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    Default F*CK the media

    Well thorsten heins is human, if he was a robot, then he would be controlled. People need to have patience before jumping to conclusions about any company, including research in motion.

    Read the entire post, that was good, but thorsten is human like all of us. He's there to stay until he retires and someone else takes his place, which is going to be for a very long time. I already have allot of apps that use bbm and are connected to it. I think building on BBM is fantastic.

    Edit: Biased media, total BS, is what I don't read. I got tired of reading it after the 9th paragraph.
    Last edited by Rootbrian; 04-06-2012 at 04:21 AM.
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    Media always has been bias since... well... hum... for millions of years? I don't know, but after watching news on Canada and US channels, it seems like all the news are pre-filtered. I am not the only one who feels like that over here in Canada.

    Here is an example of Canadian and US "unbiased" media.

    Pearl 8130 > Bold 9700 (Unlocked) > Bold 9900 (Unlocked)
    One step forward, two steps backwards; the Research in (slow) Motion.
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  9. daveycrocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootbrian View Post
    Well thorsten heins is human, if he was a robot, then he would be controlled. People need to have patience before jumping to conclusions about any company, including research in motion.

    Read the entire post, that was good, but thorsten is human like all of us. He's there to stay until he retires and someone else takes his place, which is going to be for a very long time. I already have allot of apps that use bbm and are connected to it. I think building on BBM is fantastic.

    Edit: Biased media, total BS, is what I don't read. I got tired of reading it after the 9th paragraph.
    Whilst I totally indorse your thoughts. Read my signiture I feel it's how it is
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