Well, now the rank-and-file within RIM are beginning to get restless, and so it's no surprise that an anonymous employee wrote a public 'open letter' (published on BGR) asserting what ails the company.
It is well written, reasoned, constructive and actionable (i.e., worth a full read). Here is an excerpt:
We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work. Android has a major weakness — it will always lack the simplicity and elegance that comes with end-to-end device software, middleware and hardware control. We really have a great opportunity to build something new and “uniquely BlackBerry” with the QNX platform.
It's also not surprising that RIM chose to respond publicly to the letter, for reasons that I will get to. Here's an excerpt:
It is obviously difficult to address anonymous commentary and it is particularly difficult to believe that a “high level employee” in good standing with the company would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the web rather than engage their fellow executives in a constructive manner, but regardless of whether the letter is real, fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations, it is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company’s challenges and its opportunities.
My take? One, I feel for RIM in that the toughest part of responding to a letter like this is that you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Two, the incredulous tone only reinforces the wide market perception that RIM is tone deaf, either oblivious, defensive or in denial about the shift in market gravity from "feature phones" to "smart phones" to "app phones," and the company's weak position in that crucial latter bucket.
Case in point, marketing campaigns like "Amateur Hour is Over," which were launched in the face of deeply successful, well-reviewed and well supported (by developers) products like iPad, only accentuate the sense of an emperor wearing no clothes.
One suspects that until the company embraces a different narrative like, "we hear you, we get it and we are committed to working on it until we get it right," gravity won't become RIM's friend anytime soon.
That's the unfortunate truth for the good folks in Waterloo.
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- iPhone Killers, Blackberries and Chicken Parts (O'Reilly Radar Post)
- Post-PC, Tablets and the iPad: BGC Investor Call Keynote (Podcast)