10-03-13 10:04 PM
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  1. cgk's Avatar
    Some really interesting nuggets in this story:

    Inside RIM, the brash Mr. Balsillie had championed a bold strategy to re-establish the company’s place at the forefront of mobile communications. The plan was to push wireless carriers to adopt RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant messaging service as a replacement for their simple text messaging (SMS) applications – no matter what kind of phone their customers used.

    It was a novel plan. If RIM could get BBM onto hundreds of millions of non-BlackBerry phones, and charge fees for it, the company would have an enormous new source of profit, Mr. Balsillie believed. “It was a really big idea,” said an employee who was involved in the project.

    But the plan ran into stiff opposition at senior levels. Not long after Mr. Heins took over as RIM’s CEO in January, 2012, he killed it, with Mr. Lazaridis’s support.

    That was it for Mr. Balsillie. Weeks later, he resigned from the board and cut his ties to the company.
    Publicly, Mr. Lazaridis and Mr. Balsillie belittled the iPhone and its shortcomings, including its short battery life, weaker security and initial lack of e-mail. That earned them a reputation for being cocky and, eventually, out of touch. “That’s marketing,” Mr. Lazaridis explained. “You position your strengths against their weaknesses.”

    Internally, he had a very different message. “If that thing catches on, we’re competing with a Mac, not a Nokia,” he recalled telling his staff.
    So regardless of the public message, they always thought that the iphone would eat their lunch unless they could catch up.

    “The problem wasn’t that we stopped listening to customers,” said one former RIM insider. “We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did. Consumers would say, ‘I want a faster browser.’ We might say, ‘You might think you want a faster browser, but you don’t want to pay overage on your bill.’ ‘Well, I want a super big very responsive touchscreen.’ ‘Well, you might think you want that, but you don’t want your phone to die at 2 p.m.’ “We would say, ‘We know better, and they’ll eventually figure it out.’ ”
    RIM’s 4G phone effort was the BlackBerry 10, but it was far from ready. RIM executives tried to make an engineering argument to carriers that 4G technology was no more efficient than 3G, and that its Bold phones were just fine. Mr. Lazaridis, Mr. Heins and chief technology officer David Yach “were trying to reshape the argument because they knew our products couldn’t go there,” a former executive said. “It was a fight to stay in [promotional] programs with carriers. We lost channel support and feature ads.”

    Coming Saturday: The inside story of why BlackBerry is crumbling - The Globe and Mail
    notfanboy, h20work, Etios and 12 others like this.
    09-28-13 07:59 AM
  2. Wiki Cydia's Avatar
    I found this part interesting re BBM:

    If RIM could get BBM onto hundreds of millions of non-BlackBerry phones, and charge fees for it, the company would have an enormous new source of profit, Mr. Balsillie believed.

    and

    My reason for leaving the RIM board in March, 2012, was due to the companys decision to cancel the BBM cross-platform strategy, Mr. Balsillie said in a brief statement to The Globe and Mail, his first public comments on his departure.

    So they essentially opted to do what Balsillie suggested, but without charging fees.
    h20work, Etios, techvisor and 1 others like this.
    09-28-13 08:07 AM
  3. TGR1's Avatar
    Interesting quotes. My respect for Mike L's savvy has gone up, if his recollections are accurate.

    As for Jim B's plan, why on earth would the carriers ever agree to share their money making ripoff scheme? They already had a perfectly sweet deal going and cross-compatibility is a dirty word in their dictionary anyway. Furthermore, as SMS is assailed by services such as iMessage the carriers would hardly like to split their takings anymore.
    kevinnugent likes this.
    09-28-13 08:44 AM
  4. Gnomesane's Avatar
    Good article, I'll watch for the followup tomorrow. I was wondering when we'd see something like this.

    Well, if Mike L. is involved with a successful Fairfax takeover I'm gonna guess that TH is toast and figuring out how he'll spend his severance.
    09-28-13 08:47 AM
  5. NYC10065's Avatar
    If there is any doubt what role Thorsten Heins played in the death of BBRY, this article clears it up.

    Subscription is required but the Globe and Mail article reveals that:

    - "Shortly after the release of the first iPhone, Verizon asked BlackBerry to create a touchscreen “iPhone killer.” But the result was a flop, so Verizon turned to Motorola and Google instead."

    - "In 2012, one-time co-CEO Jim Balsillie quit the board and cut all ties to BlackBerry in protest after his plan to shift focus to instant-messaging software, which had been opposed by founder Mike Lazaridis, was killed by current CEO Thorsten Heins."

    - "Mr. Lazaridis opposed the launch plan for the BlackBerry 10 phones and argued strongly in favour of emphasizing keyboard devices. But Mr. Heins and his executives did not take the advice and launched the touchscreen Z10, with disastrous results."
    h20work and nyplaya610 like this.
    09-28-13 08:58 AM
  6. QuickDime's Avatar
    I think if anything this article just shows how many chances this company has had and how management really sent them to their own demise!

    I used to scoff at people who would say they would be studying this case in business classes for years to come... not scoffing anymore... hell it's amazing they made it this long.

    Swiped On My Zed10
    09-28-13 09:07 AM
  7. aniym's Avatar
    The Verizon story is very telling. The iPhone was an AT&T exclusive between June 2007-Feb 2011. Verizon, the biggest carrier in the US, basically handed RIM an opportunity to be THE iPhone competitor in the US.

    RIM of course blew it with the Storm in Sept 2008. The first Android phone was released a month later, and Verizon ended up working directly with Motorola and Google to create the Droid brand. And the rest is history.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 4
    09-28-13 09:26 AM
  8. cgk's Avatar
    09-28-13 09:43 AM
  9. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    Awesome article!

    Sure explains a lot. And Balsilie comes out looking a lot smarter and insightful than you'd think.

    I think the company would have been in better hands, if he had been in charged the last couple of years.

    Its pretty clear on the other hand that Lazaridis is an complete clown lacking vision.

    Pushing for keyboard devices even as late as in 2011, convinced that they would save the company. Wow!

    (Now OBVIOUSLY there is room for a keyboard device. Touchscrens aren't for all. But it's a small market. Did it really escape Lazaridis attention, that despite a plethora of keyboard phones for Android, besides the original Droid, very few of them
    have sold huge numbers.)
    09-28-13 09:46 AM
  10. AnimalPak200's Avatar
    Awesome article!

    Sure explains a lot. And Balsilie comes out looking a lot smarter and insightful than you'd think.

    I think the company would have been in better hands, if he had been in charged the last couple of years.

    Its pretty clear on the other hand that Lazaridis is an complete clown lacking vision.

    Pushing for keyboard devices even as late as in 2011, convinced that they would save the company. Wow!

    (Now OBVIOUSLY there is room for a keyboard device. Touchscrens aren't for all. But it's a small market. Did it really escape Lazaridis attention, that despite a plethora of keyboard phones for Android, besides the original Droid, very few of them
    have sold huge numbers.)
    Well, they each had their respective strengths and roles to play in the company, but it's clear Balsillie was the one that was very aware of where the $ were flowing to as the mobile landscape changed.

    The negative impact of their questionable (with the benefit of hindsight) decision making was compounded by their inability to execute and meet deadlines. If you're wrong, but early.. you have a chance to correct things, but if you're wrong AND late... forget it.
    09-28-13 09:57 AM
  11. FSeverino's Avatar
    THIS is journalism... detailed, researched work. not the mindless, and baseless, speculation and fear mongering the media has used in the last 3 years against BlackBerry.

    I'll be reading it soon (just read the first paragraphs)

    Posted via CB10
    CHIP72 likes this.
    09-28-13 10:03 AM
  12. Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes's Avatar
    "RIMs 4G phone effort was the BlackBerry 10, but it was far from ready. RIM executives tried to make an engineering argument to carriers that 4G technology was no more efficient than 3G, and that its Bold phones were just fine"

    Sounds like that supposed "chipset delay" that RIM was claiming for BB10 back in early 2012
    09-28-13 10:10 AM
  13. Roo Zilla's Avatar
    Since 2007, BlackBerry's been skating to where the puck is, instead of where it's going to be. By the time they get to the puck, the puck's somewhere else and Gretsky's scored a hat trick on their collective behinds.
    09-28-13 10:11 AM
  14. lmsilvam's Avatar
    I think a major point I haven't seen much discussion about is Larry Conlee's departure and the somewhat slacky attitude with regards to deadlines that followed. RIM clearly saw that they were behind but grossly underestimated both how far behind they were and their own ability to implement certain decisions within a tight schedule, and getting used to miss deadlines did not help at all, especially for a company associated with productivity and the enterprise world.

    I have no doubt that BB10 and BBM4ALL were the right moves, but as with everything else that BlackBerry has done in the past 18 months they were too late. I think the article sheds light on how internal debates and the resulting hesitation ended up putting the company in a very difficult position. There is hope I'd say, I believe in Lazaridis' words, but it will take an effort way bigger than what they're doing atm.
    09-28-13 10:13 AM
  15. greenberry666's Avatar
    So from that article I get this:


    Mr Ballsy was doing everything he could to push BlackBerry out there but he was held back by Mr Lazy and Mr Heinous.


    Fable Publishing: C0012255F
    notfanboy likes this.
    09-28-13 10:22 AM
  16. woogerbear's Avatar
    I believe Mr. Lazaridis, Heins and Watsa have colluded to kill BBM 2.0 and launch it after they take over the company on the cheap.
    luisoman2000 likes this.
    09-28-13 10:23 AM
  17. Gnomesane's Avatar
    When you look at the variety of mobile OSes apart from iOS/Android (Symbian, Palm, MeeGo, Tizen, BB10, WP8, Sailfish, Firefox, etc.) it's clear that there is a hunger for some competition to the two dominant platforms. I had dinner last night with friends that both use iPhones and both were going on about how much they didn't like iOS7 (for the most part) and also made a point of dismissing the fingerprint scanner as a dumb gimmick. I asked if they'd thought about going with something else, but for now they're sticking with Apple, more out of a sense of familiarity. Kinda like how most people don't really like Windows on the desktop but will stick with it as "the devil they know".

    EDIT: for some reason I got a word censored. Pretty sure it wasn't a pejorative. Sometimes the CB filters are messed up.
    09-28-13 10:30 AM
  18. cgk's Avatar
    So from that article I get this:


    Mr Ballsy was doing everything he could to push BlackBerry out there but he was held back by Mr Lazy and Mr Heinous.


    Fable Publishing: C0012255F
    Yeah you have to take into account that who is doing the briefing behind the scenes with this type of article.

    Sent from my XT890 using Tapatalk 4
    greenberry666 likes this.
    09-28-13 10:33 AM
  19. Cashgap's Avatar
    I found this part interesting re BBM:

    If RIM could get BBM onto hundreds of millions of non-BlackBerry phones, and charge fees for it, the company would have an enormous new source of profit, Mr. Balsillie believed.

    and

    “My reason for leaving the RIM board in March, 2012, was due to the company’s decision to cancel the BBM cross-platform strategy,” Mr. Balsillie said in a brief statement to The Globe and Mail, his first public comments on his departure.

    So they essentially opted to do what Balsillie suggested, but without charging fees.
    And it was TH who killed it. Shrines will be coming down all over Canada.
    09-28-13 10:38 AM
  20. CHIP72's Avatar
    I came across the Globe and Mail story independently (i.e. not through Crackberry). In all seriousness, this thread should have its title altered slightly (indicating it is an in-depth article by the Toronto Globe and Mail) and more importantly, stickied so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

    The article is very long, but definitely worth reading, regardless if you are the biggest Blackberry fanboy or fangirl or the biggest Blackberry critic.

    (P.S. For those of you not from Canada or not knowledgeable about the print media, the Globe and Mail is the newspaper of record in Canada and is essentially the Canadian equivalent of the New York Times.)
    09-28-13 11:30 AM
  21. CHIP72's Avatar
    If there is any doubt what role Thorsten Heins played in the death of BBRY, this article clears it up.

    Subscription is required but the Globe and Mail article reveals that:

    - "Shortly after the release of the first iPhone, Verizon asked BlackBerry to create a touchscreen “iPhone killer.” But the result was a flop, so Verizon turned to Motorola and Google instead."

    - "In 2012, one-time co-CEO Jim Balsillie quit the board and cut all ties to BlackBerry in protest after his plan to shift focus to instant-messaging software, which had been opposed by founder Mike Lazaridis, was killed by current CEO Thorsten Heins."

    - "Mr. Lazaridis opposed the launch plan for the BlackBerry 10 phones and argued strongly in favour of emphasizing keyboard devices. But Mr. Heins and his executives did not take the advice and launched the touchscreen Z10, with disastrous results."
    I did a Bing search on "Blackberry", clicked on the "News About Blackberry" link, saw the article link, and was able to open and read it for free.
    09-28-13 11:33 AM
  22. JBML007's Avatar
    Balls bbm idea is beyond stupid.



    Posted via CB10
    09-28-13 11:37 AM
  23. sixpacker's Avatar
    it was all about brand.
    You had to push out new product year in year.
    If they'd have given punter's a decent touch screen phone in 2009/10 they would have strengthened the brand.
    Instead they got cocky and thought they new best.
    Once the brand was damaged the only way back was to launch a lower cost, quality phone with great marketing. They failed on 2 out of 3.
    Also key was a failure to bring their R&D up to the standard of the competition who can churn out great tech quickly. Again too much complacency and a lack of awareness of what was going on around them .
    Mack Gans likes this.
    09-28-13 11:37 AM
  24. CHIP72's Avatar
    Interesting quotes. My respect for Mike L's savvy has gone up, if his recollections are accurate.

    As for Jim B's plan, why on earth would the carriers ever agree to share their money making ripoff scheme? They already had a perfectly sweet deal going and cross-compatibility is a dirty word in their dictionary anyway. Furthermore, as SMS is assailed by services such as iMessage the carriers would hardly like to split their takings anymore.
    I think Balsillie's plan was primarily a hedge that would allow Blackberry to be strong and have an on-going stream of revenue in a mobile segment that was (and is) growing, and protect the company if BB10 sales didn't take off. Additionally, though there would have still been fees for the carriers, those fees would have been spread out over a much larger number of devices.

    I realize the above doesn't answer your question about the carriers' interest, but I think the key thing is if the carriers had bought in to Balsillie's/Blackberry's idea, Blackberry might have a "moat" of sorts for a period of time in a growing business sector.
    09-28-13 11:41 AM
  25. melb_me's Avatar
    Blackberry still has one last card to play....which is staggering to get started...BB10. It is the best operating system, it can do more at one time than any of the others. Right now Apple is the one in the worst position with their OS. (As far as future development)
    BB10 is a brand new OS and a very good one. Others have failed (IBM OS2 also very good OS that went no where) I wish Blackberry all the luck. Hopefully going private will get someone at the helm with some balls and vision. Hopefully.
    Why won't Instagram develop for Blackberry? Three letters BBM. It will eat their lunch if it takes off.
    09-28-13 11:54 AM
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