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RIM co-CEOs insist on staying, explain BlackBerry delays

updated 05:40 pm EDT, Thu June 16, 2011

RIM CEOs insist on staying in place.

RIM's co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in the wake of a damaging spring quarter refused to bow to pressure to reduce their control. Balsillie contended that the company was just coming through a massive transition to BlackBerry 7 and the PlayBook and that surviving it was an achievement in itself. Neither of the individual CEOs could have done it alone, he argued.

Lazaridis echoed the sentiments and insisted that having two CEOs, a rarity in the business, was "critical." The two knew what they had to do together and could spot each other's strengths, he said.

He went on to justify the delay in the BlackBerry Bold 9900 to late August. Much of the gap was blamed on carriers. Because RIM had to upgrade its performance with new chipsets rather than those it had been using over the past three years, the swap created "extra challenges" to carriers that hadn't been anticipated, Lazaridis said. There were 31 certification programs underway, which was going to result in the BlackBerry's largest worldwide launch but also meant it wouldn't be accepted until the summer.

The problems getting BlackBerry 7 devices like the Bold 9900 weren't delaying the shift to devices using the QNX foundation at the heart of the PlayBook. RIM was elusive on actual sell-through of the 500,000 PlayBooks that had been shipped, but it was "very pleased" and saw good adoption from corporate buyers at as much as 1,500 testing it out.

Balsillie admitted that the launch hadn't gone "as smoothly as planned" and that there had been debate over whether to wait for a properly finished product or to rush it out and fix it later, as the company had done. Over-the-air fixes made it easier to do this. He didn't think he would have managed the launch materially differently and wanted the product out on the market knowing that it was a foundation to build on.

"[BlackBerry Tablet OS] is a platform we can run with for a decade," he said, adding that the results so far were worth the effort. "I'll take it."

RIM clarified its outlook for the summer and revealed that it expected its second consecutive plunge in phone shipments. The company only anticipated shipping 11 million to 12.5 million BlackBerry phones between June and August and made it near certain that Apple would have had a whole year of market share gains.

By Electronista Staff


  1. viktorob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011


    Smoke and mirrors ..

    Again, "Shipped" not "Sold"...
    Does RIM's share holders never ask about actual sales?

  1. azakel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2011


    oh boy

    "Balsillie contended that the company was just coming through a massive transition to BlackBerry 7 and the PlayBook and that surviving it was an achievement in itself. Neither of the individual CEOs could have done it alone, he argued."

    Meaning: "It takes the two of us to make one".

    What self-respecting professional would say the type of things this two "CEO's" are saying. But to be honest for the board to allow two, not one but two people with the same antiquated train of thought to run the company is just preposterous and they deserve being where they are now.

    I love the part where he says so proudly "[BlackBerry Tablet OS] is a platform we can run with for a decade", mainly because it is the same thing they did with the Blackberry Phone OS and look at where they are now.

  1. malvolio

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Apr 2001


    Delusional much?

    These two are reminiscent of the builder and the captain of the Titanic, watching it sink as they say, "It's been a great maiden voyage so far!"

  1. EmmEff

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Good riddance!

    How can a company fall from such a stranglehold on the smartphone market? Sheer incompetence, lack of vision, and general apathy. I wish I didn't still hold RIMM shares, but I do. At this point, there's not much hope they'll ever rebound to the point of being able to even break even.

    I hate this company. They can disappear for all I care.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005



    And I thought management bloat couldn't rise any higher on the org chart than Assistant Junior Executive Vice President for Assisting the Senior Associate Executive Vice President of Associating with Vice Presidents.

    Do Co-CEOs share a brain? (You can always tell which one has it at the moment by looking at the one that's NOT speaking.) Any bets that RIM will soon have (if it doesn't already have) Co-Chairmen of the Board?

  1. chabig

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jun 1999


    comment title

    "Does RIM's share holders never ask about actual sales?"

    The question was asked, but RIM wouldn't answer.

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