I honestly can’t believe it. the investors were complaining for months, even years to get rid of the under-performing Co-CEOs of RIM Jim Balsillie and Mike Laziridis, and as an act of mollification the two have simply replaced themselves with one whom for the most part appears no different than the previous.
RIM is a company that has problems, problems that are exaggerated by the sensationalist media, but problems. Problems that they need to fix darn quickly, and a management team that needs to be changed darn quickly. I wouldn’t consider Thorsten Heins a change, he’s basically continuing with the failed and unpromising trajectory that Jim and Mike started with.
Until any leader at RIM can stand up and acknowledge RIM’s troubles, there’s no chance of fixing them. While Thorsten Heins clearly has a vision for RIM, it’s not a particularly great and innovative one, in fact, it’s the same vision of the previous CEOs. Thorsten Heins wasn’t brought in to create new ideas, he was brought in to try and execute properly the old ones. But is there really a proper way to execute something that lacks promise to begin with?
Clearly Thorsten doesn’t see RIM as in trouble, which isn’t entirely ridiculous since RIM is still making money, they still make a profit. But for RIM, it’s not about the money anymore, it’s about the influence and the impact, and on those two aspects RIM is dying fast. With words like: ‘At the very core of RIM is the innovation. We always think ahead. We always think forward. We sometimes think the unthinkable. And that is fantastic’, Thorsten is clearly blind to RIM’s public perception. People see RIM as the company that delivered the same phone in the same form factor for five years, whilst Androids literally jumped leaps in months. That’s not innovation.
And spinning off bullshit like ‘sometimes we innovate too much’ makes you think that maybe Thorsten is even more clueless than Jim and Mike are.
But he’s right about one thing, RIM needs to ship BB10 on time. And if under Thorsten’s leadership RIM can do that, then I’m glad he’s there. With Playbook OS delays driving me absolutely nuts for the past 6 months, I’m glad punctuality is right at the top of Thorsten’s mind.
At the end of the day though, Thorsten will probably not be the salvation RIM needs. He’ll be there to slow down a slowly sinking ship, but it’ll take someone more to get it sailing. I’m not saying RIM needs a Steve Jobs, but I’m saying RIM simply needs someone to say ‘We fucked up’. Acknowledgement is the first step to healing.