Posted in Concepts, Marketing
9/12 2010

Where is RIM Going Wrong with the PlayBook?

Mike Lazaridis, the co-CEO of RIM gave quite a shocking interview this week on the All Things D mobile conference. What’s totally astounding for the CEO of Canada’s largest company is that he couldn’t clearly explain their strategy.


The hosts of All things D asked the questions that I think many people watching RIM would like to have the answers too, such as can they remain competitive, what are they doing about improving their BlackBerry OS 6, when will the PlayBook’s QNX OS appear on BlackBerry phones and why was the Torch launched with out of date specifications.

RIM’s CEO simply didn’t have a good story to tell about any of this. Worse, in my eyes, he kept talking about the hardware requirements of QNX. He was fixated on the hardware. That speaks volumes to me about RIM’s focus. They are a hardware company.

Today, a mobile device platform is so much more than just great hardware, it’s an ecosystem built around software with the goal of providing an excellent user experience. Nowhere was this apparent in any of the answers given by Mike. It’s truly worrisome for RIM that they are unable to get their UI/UX up to a reasonable standard and hence their overall user experience. Today’s BlackBerries are difficult to use. RIM just doesn’t have a good story to tell about where it’s going.

All of that said, there does seem to be some positive news about the PlayBook. Most commentators are focusing on how rapid it seems to be, even when running Adobe Air, given that Flash runs awfully on Android devices. They do seem to have a good implementation of the Flash runtime.

There are many questions though surrounding the PlayBook, such as battery life when running all these Air apps, how smooth the overall experience will be, how good the key software managing email and web-browsing will be, how easy it will be to use and how consistent the interface will be.

Another issue for RIM is that many of their clients in the past have been corporate IT managers, who have requirements that are different from those of users, such as information management and controllability. However, in today’s market, users and purchasers are much broader and any solution has to appeal to consumers too. 

Until RIM can prove that it is more than a hardware company, that it truly understands who its user base is, you will have to forgive it for shipping less than stellar devices. The company is too inward looking and not spending enough efforts on understanding the market it’s competing in if it wants to be a major player in the tablet space.



Mike Lazaridis at All Things D:





  • Maxmz02

    nothing wrong, just too late, low efficient is self kiling, like I said 3 years ago, RIM is old before really grow up.

    Strange culture in RIM, and this culture generate self-destroy political environment.

    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process.

    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

    July 7th 2008 when I start to work in RIM ID group, I found RIM’s CAD skill in ID group is still in low efficient level of 10 years ago, like ID changes can’t be regenerated in mechanical part, so I point out the problem and introduce efficient topdown process, to make sure top level adjustment will always be regenerated in down level.

    But the RIM’s CAD experts wrote email to 3 VPs and successfully make them believe that—–whenever top level adjust, continuously and manually audit final parts is a natural part, means low efficient is a natural part in every RIM’s device design program.

    They abuse their power layoff the only driver, and use 3 person pushing the car, they will keep “continuously and manually audit final parts”.

    “continuously and manually audit final parts” is the mark of not qualified for the position, but in RIM, strange thing happened, they like not qualified person around them, and they are affraid of qualified person in their group, so that no one will point out their wrong approach, so we all know why RIM low efficient, why RIM is in a strange political environment.